An Interview with Judith Merkle Riley

Cat_243_dover_38 Judith Merkle Riley published her first mainstream historical novel, A Vision of Light, in 1989, when there were almost no historical novels being published.  Reviews were stellar, her books were Book of the Month Club selections, and people who loved historical novels devoured everything she wrote. 

A JMR novel combines rich historical detail with wonderfully accessible prose.  Her heroines are charming, resourceful, and very strong.  She usually combines first and third person sections, which gives both intimacy and scope.  The medieval world of the Margaret of Ashbury novels is magical in a way that seems wonderfully appropriate.

I met Judith at a Novelists, Inc. conference in Vancouver several years ago.  She was bemused but not displeased to find herself in the midst of a gaggle of historical romance fan grrrls who followed her around for days. <g>  I was one of Judith2 them.  When I learned that one of her books, The Water Devil, had been published only in Germany, I seriously considered groveling to see if I could beg a copy (in English) from her, but I didn’t quite have the chutzpah. 

A Vision of Light began the tale of Margaret of Ashbury, who moved from village life in the 14th century to becoming a midwife, healer, and heretic.  The book starts when God tells her to write a book, and that means hiring a cleric to do the actual writing.  The battle-of-the sexes interplay between Margaret and a disapproving Brother Gregory is delicious.  Judith later wrote a sequel, In Pursuit of the Green Lion.  That was followed by three other fat, luscious novels set in different times and places. 

Visionnew_cover Recently I spotted a review for The Water Devil, which came out in English at the beginning of this month.  Oh, joy!  Even better, it turns out that TWD is the third in the Margaret of Ashbury trilogy—and Crown reissued the first two in 2006.   Finally the market has caught up with Judith Merkle Riley.  All of the Wenches are delighted to have Judith as a guest.  Welcome! 

1.  How did you become interested in writing historical novels?  What was it like to swim against the publishing tide in the 90s?

JMR:  I’ve always loved historical novels, starting with Sabatini, Dumas pére (sorry about the accent, don’t know how to make them on this machine), Sir Walter Scott, and the whole gang.  But I never thought I could write one. 

A lot of things came together in the 1980’s:  I was pushing 50 and ready to try new things, the women’s movement appeared to be withering on the vine, and I thought the spark could be kept alive with accurate woman-centered historical novels.  I was also a frustrated student of medieval manuscripts – my father, in those ancient days of patriarchy, had said it was impractical and I must study Lionnew_cover something “real.”  I’d been “real” for a long time, and I couldn’t even pretend any more that it was bringing joy to my soul. 

Also my first book – nonfiction, academic—had been denounced as “too well written,” by my colleagues, so I thought I might be able to write something more lively.  I figured if I wrote a novel and if it were horrible, it had the great advantage of being easily hidden.

As for the publishing tide, I was quite ignorant of it.  I thought I’d made a tremendous discovery when I found out there was something called a literary agent who would actually sell your manuscripts for you (academics always sold their own.)  When the historical tide went out in the U.S., it was running high in Europe, so when my books vanished from the U.S., they were on European best-Waterdevilgerman seller lists.   During the worst part of the historical novel bust, I was deeply entangled in family issues, and couldn’t write at all – just as well, because the manuscripts wouldn’t have sold and (delicate flower that I am) I would have been crushed.   

2.  What was the biggest mistake you made when you first began writing?  What was the smartest thing? (Or the luckiest!)

JMR: The biggest mistake I made: telling my now ex-husband, who fancied himself a creative writer and, as he frequently informed me, had been admitted to the exclusive Harvard seminar which held all the secrets of the universe on creative writing.  Not being privy to these secrets, I wept every night at his criticism, and got up the next morning and wrote anyway.  I guess I’ll never write Great Art, but I’ll settle for Great Story.

The luckiest thing?  Finding my wonderful agent, Jean Naggar, whom I regard as the Seventh Wonder of the Universe.

Oracleglass 3. (Question from Patricia Rice) How much research, how long, to get those fabulous details?!

JMR: Where do I get all those microscopic details?  I love reading primary source stuff, and things just pop out at you, so I write them down.  Also, there are some fabulous historians out there.  Margaret and her friends all got shoes when I read about a British archeological dig that had come up with a bunch of preserved leather goods from the 14th century.  La Voisin’s dress bill for her embroidered “empress gown” is part of the original inquiry into the Affair of the Poisons.  The “language of the fans” popped up in another old source.  I don’t research for details, I read for fun.  It’s all dessert.

4.  (From Susan King) – Margaret is a fascinating character, very true to her own time, yet with a universal and irresistible appeal. Did any actual medieval women help to inspire this wonderful character? 
Also, was The Water Devil an idea for Margaret that came to you later?

JMR:  Where did I get Margaret’s character?  The biggest problem with a novel set in the middle ages is that novels are  based on people’s interior lives, and the “I” Water_devilenglish_large that only turns up by the Renaissance.  What woman wrote in the middle ages?  What women reflected on their interior lives back then?  What women help one create a sense of “I” that seems accurate for the era?  The women mystics— troublesome, smart, visionary – and always saying, “I know I should not write, being only a woman, but GOD told me I had to.”  (That  to you, men and priests.) Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Hildegarde of Bingen, thank you all.  Also thanks to Chaucer, whose Wife of Bath asks the key question:  Who painted the lion?  (answer — not a lion, that’s for sure.)

The Water Devil – I’d been reading up on holy springs and wells and ley lines and such in England, and wanted to do a story using those things.  Even in the depths of Chartres cathedral, there’s a well, presumed to be a sacred pagan site. (It is heavily screened, so no one will drop in an offering.)

Masterdesires 5. Your books often have spiritual and supernatural elements.  Could you comment on that? 

JMR:  The sacred and the supernatural – why not take people from back then at their word?  Life was hard, people relied on religion to get them through.  Religion, spirituality, superstition, and sometimes just raunchy humor.  I don’t thinks it’s fair to read our own type of secular thinking back into their characters.   Someone writes that a saint appeared before him as tall as a tree with flames coming out of his ears, and says “Sinner, repent! Build me a chapel right here.” why not have that happen in a book?  A weeping white shape appears regularly in some old spot, looking for a dead baby. Great stuff.  A nicely dressed businessman meets you on a street corner by chance and offers to help you out of debt, but he smells funny and leaves cloven hoofprints –excellent!

6. What are the key elements of a great story?  Ah, Lord, if I knew that for certain, I’d rule the world.

7.  Though your books are not romance, there are always romantic subplots and a satisfying ending.  Comment?

JMR:  Why romantic subplots?  Everybody loves a romantic subplot.  Tolstoy’s War and Peace has one, Senkiewicz’s massive Trilogy has one per volume.  And those are historical novels with a capital H and N!  Death, war, betrayal, romance, revenge and social climbing – we all love them, you can’t write a story without them.  And romance should always end well – it’s the authorial promise when you set out on the adventure. 

8. The best part about being a writer? 

JMR: Writing.  The most frustrating part? Writing.

9.  All three Margaret of Ashbury novels have been reissued in the last year, with The Water Devil just released.  Your work is a perfect fit with the current popularity in mainstream, woman-oriented historical novels.  Are there plans to reissue your other three novels? 

SerpentgardenJMR:  The Serpent Garden is scheduled to be reissued in 2008.  I hope the others will follow.  As for the new woman-oriented historical novel – I couldn’t be more pleased that there are more of them now.  The traditional male-oriented novel depicts friendship, humor, treachery, adventure, all in the “club.”  The women are mostly décor.  How frustrating I found that when I was a kid-readaholic! 

What I hope is that  the new novels will show all those things among women, without reducing the men to one dimensional “good catches.”  The historical novel has had many roles, among them nation-building and redefining the worth of the bourgeois character.  It is a literary vehicle of great power, which has led people and groups to re-examine themselves in deep ways.  Why not use it to redefine forever the relationships between men and women?   Why not take us to new places and new cultures and change the face of the world for the better?

JMR: Am I working on a new book?  Yes.
   
Visionlight Wonderful!  Thanks so much for visiting, Judith.  And if you have another idea for Margaret of Ashbury—write it!

Mary Jo

56 thoughts on “An Interview with Judith Merkle Riley”

  1. Thank you for the fabulous article. I have been a huge fan of JMR ever since my Mom gave me A Vision of Light when it first came out (she’d seen it in the NYT book review and thought I’d like it). It remains one of my all time favorite books and I was very happy when The Water Devil was finally published in English.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for the fabulous article. I have been a huge fan of JMR ever since my Mom gave me A Vision of Light when it first came out (she’d seen it in the NYT book review and thought I’d like it). It remains one of my all time favorite books and I was very happy when The Water Devil was finally published in English.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for the fabulous article. I have been a huge fan of JMR ever since my Mom gave me A Vision of Light when it first came out (she’d seen it in the NYT book review and thought I’d like it). It remains one of my all time favorite books and I was very happy when The Water Devil was finally published in English.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for the fabulous article. I have been a huge fan of JMR ever since my Mom gave me A Vision of Light when it first came out (she’d seen it in the NYT book review and thought I’d like it). It remains one of my all time favorite books and I was very happy when The Water Devil was finally published in English.

    Reply
  5. Great interview, Mary Jo. It doesn’t seem like Friday until I’ve read your post.
    Judith said…”I was pushing 50 and ready to try new things,…”
    Thank you for sharing this, Judith. I have often wondered if I was too old to walk the long dark road to publication. My internal editor often jokes that I will die of old age before I ever see my work between two covers. But, today, as I sit down to plink out my 2000 word goal, one letter at a time, the travel seems more doable. The path a little brighter. And the book cover a little less hazy. Thank you!
    All the best on your new ms.
    Nina

    Reply
  6. Great interview, Mary Jo. It doesn’t seem like Friday until I’ve read your post.
    Judith said…”I was pushing 50 and ready to try new things,…”
    Thank you for sharing this, Judith. I have often wondered if I was too old to walk the long dark road to publication. My internal editor often jokes that I will die of old age before I ever see my work between two covers. But, today, as I sit down to plink out my 2000 word goal, one letter at a time, the travel seems more doable. The path a little brighter. And the book cover a little less hazy. Thank you!
    All the best on your new ms.
    Nina

    Reply
  7. Great interview, Mary Jo. It doesn’t seem like Friday until I’ve read your post.
    Judith said…”I was pushing 50 and ready to try new things,…”
    Thank you for sharing this, Judith. I have often wondered if I was too old to walk the long dark road to publication. My internal editor often jokes that I will die of old age before I ever see my work between two covers. But, today, as I sit down to plink out my 2000 word goal, one letter at a time, the travel seems more doable. The path a little brighter. And the book cover a little less hazy. Thank you!
    All the best on your new ms.
    Nina

    Reply
  8. Great interview, Mary Jo. It doesn’t seem like Friday until I’ve read your post.
    Judith said…”I was pushing 50 and ready to try new things,…”
    Thank you for sharing this, Judith. I have often wondered if I was too old to walk the long dark road to publication. My internal editor often jokes that I will die of old age before I ever see my work between two covers. But, today, as I sit down to plink out my 2000 word goal, one letter at a time, the travel seems more doable. The path a little brighter. And the book cover a little less hazy. Thank you!
    All the best on your new ms.
    Nina

    Reply
  9. Judith, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! As an old, jaded, cynical reader, I seldom find as much delight in reading as I did when I was a naive youngster, so finding an author who can still enchant me is a rare pleasure. And knowing the publishing world has finally recognized the value of brilliance gives me hope for the future.
    another fan grrrl,

    Reply
  10. Judith, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! As an old, jaded, cynical reader, I seldom find as much delight in reading as I did when I was a naive youngster, so finding an author who can still enchant me is a rare pleasure. And knowing the publishing world has finally recognized the value of brilliance gives me hope for the future.
    another fan grrrl,

    Reply
  11. Judith, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! As an old, jaded, cynical reader, I seldom find as much delight in reading as I did when I was a naive youngster, so finding an author who can still enchant me is a rare pleasure. And knowing the publishing world has finally recognized the value of brilliance gives me hope for the future.
    another fan grrrl,

    Reply
  12. Judith, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! As an old, jaded, cynical reader, I seldom find as much delight in reading as I did when I was a naive youngster, so finding an author who can still enchant me is a rare pleasure. And knowing the publishing world has finally recognized the value of brilliance gives me hope for the future.
    another fan grrrl,

    Reply
  13. Welcome to Word Wenches, Judith!
    I am such a fan grrrrl too. I remember discovering Vision of Light in the bookstore, taking it home and savoring every word. I’ve read the book a few times by now, along with everything else that you’ve written, Judith.
    What makes these books, this author voice so memorable and compelling for me is a combination of a beautifully evoked medieval world, so that I felt I was there, and comfortable there –and characters that seem so true to their day, and yet so real and familiar somehow for our day, too (which is a neat trick for any author) — it’s also the prose, which is clean, poetic, expressive.
    It’s just a joy to read any book by Judith Merkle Riley!!!
    And for those of you who haven’t tried one of her books yet, I urge you to run, run, don’t walk, to the bookstore for a fabuloso treat.
    And you’re writing something new??? Oh rapture!! I can’t wait!
    And big cheers to Crown Books for recognizing a treasure and bringing your books back!
    thank you so much for visiting us Wenches!
    Susan King /sarah gabriel

    Reply
  14. Welcome to Word Wenches, Judith!
    I am such a fan grrrrl too. I remember discovering Vision of Light in the bookstore, taking it home and savoring every word. I’ve read the book a few times by now, along with everything else that you’ve written, Judith.
    What makes these books, this author voice so memorable and compelling for me is a combination of a beautifully evoked medieval world, so that I felt I was there, and comfortable there –and characters that seem so true to their day, and yet so real and familiar somehow for our day, too (which is a neat trick for any author) — it’s also the prose, which is clean, poetic, expressive.
    It’s just a joy to read any book by Judith Merkle Riley!!!
    And for those of you who haven’t tried one of her books yet, I urge you to run, run, don’t walk, to the bookstore for a fabuloso treat.
    And you’re writing something new??? Oh rapture!! I can’t wait!
    And big cheers to Crown Books for recognizing a treasure and bringing your books back!
    thank you so much for visiting us Wenches!
    Susan King /sarah gabriel

    Reply
  15. Welcome to Word Wenches, Judith!
    I am such a fan grrrrl too. I remember discovering Vision of Light in the bookstore, taking it home and savoring every word. I’ve read the book a few times by now, along with everything else that you’ve written, Judith.
    What makes these books, this author voice so memorable and compelling for me is a combination of a beautifully evoked medieval world, so that I felt I was there, and comfortable there –and characters that seem so true to their day, and yet so real and familiar somehow for our day, too (which is a neat trick for any author) — it’s also the prose, which is clean, poetic, expressive.
    It’s just a joy to read any book by Judith Merkle Riley!!!
    And for those of you who haven’t tried one of her books yet, I urge you to run, run, don’t walk, to the bookstore for a fabuloso treat.
    And you’re writing something new??? Oh rapture!! I can’t wait!
    And big cheers to Crown Books for recognizing a treasure and bringing your books back!
    thank you so much for visiting us Wenches!
    Susan King /sarah gabriel

    Reply
  16. Welcome to Word Wenches, Judith!
    I am such a fan grrrrl too. I remember discovering Vision of Light in the bookstore, taking it home and savoring every word. I’ve read the book a few times by now, along with everything else that you’ve written, Judith.
    What makes these books, this author voice so memorable and compelling for me is a combination of a beautifully evoked medieval world, so that I felt I was there, and comfortable there –and characters that seem so true to their day, and yet so real and familiar somehow for our day, too (which is a neat trick for any author) — it’s also the prose, which is clean, poetic, expressive.
    It’s just a joy to read any book by Judith Merkle Riley!!!
    And for those of you who haven’t tried one of her books yet, I urge you to run, run, don’t walk, to the bookstore for a fabuloso treat.
    And you’re writing something new??? Oh rapture!! I can’t wait!
    And big cheers to Crown Books for recognizing a treasure and bringing your books back!
    thank you so much for visiting us Wenches!
    Susan King /sarah gabriel

    Reply
  17. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    Jo

    Reply
  18. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    Jo

    Reply
  19. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    Jo

    Reply
  20. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    Jo

    Reply
  21. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    (I had a bit of trouble posting my comment, so Typepad might not be working correctly.)
    Jo

    Reply
  22. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    (I had a bit of trouble posting my comment, so Typepad might not be working correctly.)
    Jo

    Reply
  23. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    (I had a bit of trouble posting my comment, so Typepad might not be working correctly.)
    Jo

    Reply
  24. Hi Judith!
    I’m just popping in to wave after writing all morning (I’m a west coaster) and I’ll be back later.
    Welcome to Word Wenches. It’s a thrill to have you here.
    (I had a bit of trouble posting my comment, so Typepad might not be working correctly.)
    Jo

    Reply
  25. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  26. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  27. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  28. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  29. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  30. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  31. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  32. Jo, back again.
    Sorry about the duplicate posts. Typepad was being snitty and appeared to hang, so I did it all again.
    If anyone’s trying to post here, please don’t get put off.
    Judith, it is wonderful to have you here. What Mary Jo said. I was one of your fan grrls in Vancouver. In fact, IIRC, I spotted your name tag in a line up and said your name. Mary Jo was beside me and whippeh around to repeat it. And it was all groupie from there*G*
    I, too, love the way you create such a rich medieval word, and particularly what you mentioned — respecting how they were rather than morphing them into modern people.
    We are discovering that so much that has seemed ridiculous about the past (herbs, aromatherapy, and use of crystals, to name just three) have truth behind them.
    So, is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but felt you couldn’t or shouldn’t?
    Jo

    Reply
  33. From MJP:
    Typepad likes you, Jo. It really, really likes you. 🙂 Two posts for the effort of one! I’ll be lucky if it posts me once.
    Nina, a lovely thingn about writing is that we can start at any age.
    One of the remarkable things about Judith’s writing is that so many jaded Wenches, long term veterans of the publishing, still find such delight in her writiing. I’ve just reread A VISION OF LIGHT and IN PURSUIT OF THE GREEN LION to prepare myself for THE WATER DEVIL, and I was enchanted all over again.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. From MJP:
    Typepad likes you, Jo. It really, really likes you. 🙂 Two posts for the effort of one! I’ll be lucky if it posts me once.
    Nina, a lovely thingn about writing is that we can start at any age.
    One of the remarkable things about Judith’s writing is that so many jaded Wenches, long term veterans of the publishing, still find such delight in her writiing. I’ve just reread A VISION OF LIGHT and IN PURSUIT OF THE GREEN LION to prepare myself for THE WATER DEVIL, and I was enchanted all over again.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. From MJP:
    Typepad likes you, Jo. It really, really likes you. 🙂 Two posts for the effort of one! I’ll be lucky if it posts me once.
    Nina, a lovely thingn about writing is that we can start at any age.
    One of the remarkable things about Judith’s writing is that so many jaded Wenches, long term veterans of the publishing, still find such delight in her writiing. I’ve just reread A VISION OF LIGHT and IN PURSUIT OF THE GREEN LION to prepare myself for THE WATER DEVIL, and I was enchanted all over again.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. From MJP:
    Typepad likes you, Jo. It really, really likes you. 🙂 Two posts for the effort of one! I’ll be lucky if it posts me once.
    Nina, a lovely thingn about writing is that we can start at any age.
    One of the remarkable things about Judith’s writing is that so many jaded Wenches, long term veterans of the publishing, still find such delight in her writiing. I’ve just reread A VISION OF LIGHT and IN PURSUIT OF THE GREEN LION to prepare myself for THE WATER DEVIL, and I was enchanted all over again.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  37. May I echo Edith? An absolutely delightful interview. I particularly liked the part about academics complaining that your work was too well-written. Having waded through vast swamps of academic prose in my time, I had to laugh.

    Reply
  38. May I echo Edith? An absolutely delightful interview. I particularly liked the part about academics complaining that your work was too well-written. Having waded through vast swamps of academic prose in my time, I had to laugh.

    Reply
  39. May I echo Edith? An absolutely delightful interview. I particularly liked the part about academics complaining that your work was too well-written. Having waded through vast swamps of academic prose in my time, I had to laugh.

    Reply
  40. May I echo Edith? An absolutely delightful interview. I particularly liked the part about academics complaining that your work was too well-written. Having waded through vast swamps of academic prose in my time, I had to laugh.

    Reply
  41. Great interview! I’ve been a long-time lurker over at WordWenches, but I had to come out of lurkdom for JMR. The Oracle Glass was the first JMR book I read, and it vies with The Serpent Garden for my favorite of her books. I understand the fangirl thing. As soon as I started reading JMR, I was hooked.
    One of the reasons I decided to go to the Claremont Colleges was because the JMR’s author bio noted that she was a professor there, and I always get a little thrill when I see the Honnold library mentioned in the acknowledgements!

    Reply
  42. Great interview! I’ve been a long-time lurker over at WordWenches, but I had to come out of lurkdom for JMR. The Oracle Glass was the first JMR book I read, and it vies with The Serpent Garden for my favorite of her books. I understand the fangirl thing. As soon as I started reading JMR, I was hooked.
    One of the reasons I decided to go to the Claremont Colleges was because the JMR’s author bio noted that she was a professor there, and I always get a little thrill when I see the Honnold library mentioned in the acknowledgements!

    Reply
  43. Great interview! I’ve been a long-time lurker over at WordWenches, but I had to come out of lurkdom for JMR. The Oracle Glass was the first JMR book I read, and it vies with The Serpent Garden for my favorite of her books. I understand the fangirl thing. As soon as I started reading JMR, I was hooked.
    One of the reasons I decided to go to the Claremont Colleges was because the JMR’s author bio noted that she was a professor there, and I always get a little thrill when I see the Honnold library mentioned in the acknowledgements!

    Reply
  44. Great interview! I’ve been a long-time lurker over at WordWenches, but I had to come out of lurkdom for JMR. The Oracle Glass was the first JMR book I read, and it vies with The Serpent Garden for my favorite of her books. I understand the fangirl thing. As soon as I started reading JMR, I was hooked.
    One of the reasons I decided to go to the Claremont Colleges was because the JMR’s author bio noted that she was a professor there, and I always get a little thrill when I see the Honnold library mentioned in the acknowledgements!

    Reply

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