Susanna Kearsley's new book The Firebird releases today! (Watch for my review coming soon.) But in the meantime I am thrilled that Susanna was able to stop by for a quick Q and A!
You've won numerous awards in many different genre areas - the 2010 Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction novel for The Winter Sea, and a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Canadian Crime Writer’s Association for Every Secret Thing. The Firebird is an interesting mix of history, romance, mystery and the paranormal/supernatural. Do you have a favourite genre? How do you choose
I just tell a story. Genre isn’t really something I consider at the start of a book, it’s a label that’s more useful to the people at the other end, the publishers and booksellers and readers who are looking for a certain type of book. My reading tastes are wide and eclectic—Jules Verne and Kurt Vonnegut rub shoulders with Jack Higgins and Rumer Godden on my bookshelves—but my favourite books often combine elements of mystery, history, romance and adventure. I’m especially fond of the novels of Nevil Shute, for example, which today would be very difficult to squeeze into any one genre. So while I’m writing I don’t give much thought to how the finished story will be labelled—I just concentrate on making it the best that I can make it, and let others decide where it ought to be shelved in the bookstore.
You've worked as a museum curator. I worked for many years in a living history museum as well. I've always been fascinated by the story behind an object that has survived for hundreds of years or of an abandoned house - what stories the walls could tell. Is there any time period in particular that you would like to visit?
I’ve always been fascinated by Scottish and English history, and in the past few years, with all the research I’ve been doing for my books, I’ve developed an increasing interest in the first part of the 18 century. It was a time of great political upheaval, scientific discovery and advancement, and social change, and I think it would be an exciting time to have been alive. Apart from which, having had the chance to “meet” some of the actual historical characters who feature in my novels, through the letters and the journals they have left behind, I’d love to have the chance to truly meet them, face to face.
What does your writing day look like? How do combine that with being a mom? What book is on your nightstand now? Anything else you'd like to share with my readers?
My kids are both still in elementary school and I bring them home for lunch, so the time I have available for writing during the day is confined to a couple of hours in the morning, and another couple in the afternoon, and even this must sometimes be given over to other things, whether it be writing-related business or running errands. Once the kids come home, it’s mostly family time till after dinner, when if I’m lucky I can steal a bit of extra time for writing. It’s a balance, and not always a perfect one, but it’s really no different than what any other parent must do, whether they work outside or inside their home. On my nightstand at the moment I have Deanna Raybourn’s latest book, A Spear of Summer Grass, which I’ve just started reading and am enjoying very much. I don’t know that I have anything else to share, but I’d certainly be interested to know what book your readers have right now on their nightstands ? I’m always on the lookout for new reading material!
And thank you so much for inviting me here.
Thank you Susanna for stopping by! You can find Susanna on Tumblr or on Twitter or on Facebook! Or check out this quick author spot on You Tube.
Curious about The Firebird? Here's a synopsis from the publisher, Simon and Schuster Canada:
"Whoever dares to seek the firebird may find the journey—and its ending— unexpected.
Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images, glimpses of those who have owned it before. It’s never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London’s premier dealers in Russian art.
But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving—known as “The Firebird”—is worthless. But Nicola has held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.
Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater than hers. With Rob to help her “see” the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia. There, in St. Petersburg—the once-glittering capital of Peter the Great’s Russia—Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption . . . an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives."