Interview with Roberta Gellis

Jo: Welcome, Roberta, and thank you for being a guest on Word Wenches. We have a throne all ready for you!Roberta_3

I know Roberta doesn’t remember this, but at my first Romance Writers of America conference in Boston umpity-ump years ago, I chased the poor woman down a hall after lunch, desperate to get her autograph. I couldn’t believe I was in the presence of one of my favorite authors. So it really is a thrill to be Roberta’s host here today.

Roberta, you’ve written many kinds of fiction, including SF. What drew you to historical fiction, and was it the first fiction you wrote?

Roberta: It started with King Arthur and his knights when I was about nine and eagerly read all kinds of historical fiction from then on. My parents were very obliging and would take out for me any books in the library that I wanted, if, technically, I was too young to read them. (That was how I read FOREVER AMBER when I was about ten; and, no, it didn’t corrupt me. I found the sexual parts terribly boring and skipped them to get tothe really interesting adventures and the plague scenes.)

As I grew older and learned history, I became more and more dissatisfied with many of the books I read because they were “telling lies.” Not the kind of lies Lawrence Block meant in his book about writing fiction, [Telling Lies For Fun And Profit] but unnecessary inaccuracies about the time and place and the way people would act in that time and place. I guess I started writing out of frustration. I wanted books that would satisfy me. And yes, historical fiction was the first fiction I wrote.

Jo: Speaking of first fiction, were you the sort of child who wrote stories, or did you come to it later? If you were writing as a child,do you remember the first story you wrote?

Roberta: My mother told me that I wrote stories when I was about six, but I don’t remember that at all and (thank God) we did not find any embarrassing bits among my mother’s papers. I do remember telling stories, usually ghost stories, to my friends in the neighborhood, but I have no specific memories of what I said.

Jo: I know it should probably be a long essay, or even a book, but can you tell us a bit about your writing career and its many turns?

Roberta: Actually there isn’t that much to say. I was lucky—and I mean lucky, because I was totally ignorant—in finding an agent almost immediately. Believe it or not, I looked up Agents, Literary in the yellow pages of the phone book. Since I lived in New York at the time there were actually two listed. I called the one named Snell for the most excellent reason that I had worked for a company named Foster D. Snell. And these people were not crooks (again, believe it or not). Stella Snell Bob
sold my first two historical novels (BOND OF BLOOD and KNIGHT’S HONOR) to Doubleday in 1964. Do you remember the 60s at all? Perhaps you are too young.

Jo: :: Laughs:: Flattering, Roberta, but that was the time of my misspent youth.

Roberta: In the late 60s God was Dead, and History was Irrelevant so no one was reading historical novels. Although KNIGHT’S HONOR was bought by one of the book clubs, neither book sold worth a damn. Then Stella died and I looked for another agent. I could not sell another novel for over ten years, until THE HAWK AND THE DOVE was published (darn, the author’s name has escaped
my mind). [Kathleen Woodiwiss.]

Roberta: Then my husband saw an ad in Writer’s Digest for a historical novelist who had published a novel. I said that must be a book packager, who took 50%, and my husband said that 50% of something was better than 100% of nothing. So that was how I came to work with Lyle Kenyon Engel.

He was a book packager; he did take 50%; but he got double the going rate of royalties (so I ended up with the same royalties anyone else got) and he got much higher advances. And somehow he talked the publishers into doing all kinds of advertising. I always said that Lyle could sell ice to Eskimos in the middle of the artic winter.

I worked with Lyle until he retired but by then the historical market had died again so I was looking for something else to write. I ended up doing a couple of romantic suspense and a couple of soft science Desiree
fiction novels. For me, the historical market has never recovered. I write long, complex, history-driven books without much sex and I would much rather write fantasy and mystery (which I enjoy enormously) that turn out books like DESIREE.

Jo: That’s the novel you wrote recently in the Roselynde series.

Roberta: Yes. It’s not a bad book, but because of length restraints it leaves out much that made the Roselynde Chronicles good books.

Jo: The Roselynde Chronicles are particularly beloved because they give such a rich portrayal of medieval England. Can you talk about the process of coming up with the idea, choosing the period, setting and characters and anything else to do with them?

Roberta: I didn’t come up with the idea for the Roselynde Chronicles. In a sense, Lyle did—but he wanted me to write a series like Golon’s Angelique—-you know, the sweet young thing who has a new lover in every book, lays children like eggs, and if you count up the years at 50 is as fresh and dewy as she was at 15 with no stretch marks and all her teeth.

I told him I wouldn’t do that but I could do two books about the same medieval woman with two different men. After that if the publisher wanted more books I’d provide other romantic pairs with the original woman as a character that held the series together. The period was my choice. By then I had a MA degree in Medieval Literature and most of the course work for a Ph.D. I had concentrated on the 12th century in my graduate work and I had no intention of wasting either my studies or the library I had collected. So, Eleanor of Aquitaine and the 12th century it was.
Roselynde

Jo: Roselynde and Alinor were reissued a couple of years ago. Are the other books is the series going to be reissued soon?

Roberta: No, unfortunately. Harlequin had contracted to reissue the whole of the Chronicles in the ill-fated Signature Select line. (With a name like Signature Select I should have figured it was doomed from the beginning.) When the line was dropped, they had issued ROSELYNDE and ALINOR and said they would find another place for the other books, but decided against reprinting them. So far, no one else has indicated any interest in republishing JOANNA, GILLIANE, RHIANNON and SYBELLE. I have thought from time to time about getting them done by an epublisher that does POD, but obviously my agent is not in favor of the idea and I haven’t worked up the energy to do it on my own.

Jo: Your recent fantasy fiction has been based in history, too, in particular, the Tudors. Tell us more Cscepteredsm about those books.

Roberta: That’s really too general a question, but I can state the basic idea Mercedes Lackey and I had. We were not going to do alternate history, which is usually what is done in historical fantasy. We were going to relate the known events of history as accurately as we could and bring in the fantasy in other ways. When I started to research the events of the reign of Henry VIII and Mary, I discovered that although all the serious historians agreed on what happened, none could agree on why it happened. There we had it. Mercedes and I felt with so much flat disagreement among serious historians, the addition of elves (the Sidhe) would not do much more damage.

Jo: And, of course, you’ve written the wonderful medieval mysteries set in a whorehouse with a sleuth who’s a madam. Only Queen Gellis would dare! I love Magdalen and Bellamy. Did you have any trouble persuading Tor to go with that storyline?

Roberta: No—or at least if there was, I don’t know anything about it. I actually wrote the entire book of A Cbanepb
MORTAL BANE before Lucienne [Roberta’s agent] tried to sell it. The reason for my choice was simple. I was a bit tired of all the religious women detectives (and men too) in historical mysteries. I needed a setting in which a medieval woman would have complete freedom and in which she would come in contact with a lot of different people. I could have chosen someone with a business of her own but I felt that
would keep her too busy to be solving mysteries. A whorehouse seemed ideal and it has worked very well.

Jo: Do you have a different writing technique for mysteries and fantasies?

Roberta: Other people have told me that my voice is different in the mysteries and fantasies, but I must admit that I am unaware of any difference in technique while I am writing.

Jo: What are you working on now?

Roberta: I am finishing the Tudor series with Mercedes. After that, I hope to do a fifth Magdalene book.
Bst

Jo: Thank you, Roberta.

Roberta’s recent books are: BY SLANDEROUS TONGUES (with Mercedes Lackey), Baen, Feb. 2007
CHAINS OF FOLLY, Five Star, April 2006
ALINOR, Harlequin Signature Select, May 2006
ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT, Baen, March 2005, 0-7434-9890-9

You can find out more on Roberta’s web site

Now, it’s your chance to ask Roberta a question, and/or tell her your favorite of her books. And there’ll be a draw from among all who post a comment or a question to this entry during Saturday, Jan 27th. The winner will get a signed book from Roberta.

What do you think of the current state of historical romance?

If you, too, remember the ’60s, what do you think of the changes in historical romance since then?

What happened to medievals? Why don’t they seem to be popular in romance anymore?

What do you like about the middle ages as a setting for romance?

Why do you think historical mysteries are so popular now?

Jo 🙂

132 thoughts on “Interview with Roberta Gellis”

  1. The 60s…lt’s put it this way. I’m so old I know I’ve read Roberta’s books but couldn’t possibly tell you which ones because I’ve lost both long and short term memory. However, it is exciting to be in the “presence” of someone who’s had such a long and varied career.
    Roberta, thank you so much for your reflections on writing. It’s interesting to hear your take on the historical market being “dead.” Books without multiple consummation scenes seem to be doomed.
    When you switched genres, was it because you tried to follow market trends or were you following your heart? And when you write with a partner, how is the labor divided?

    Reply
  2. The 60s…lt’s put it this way. I’m so old I know I’ve read Roberta’s books but couldn’t possibly tell you which ones because I’ve lost both long and short term memory. However, it is exciting to be in the “presence” of someone who’s had such a long and varied career.
    Roberta, thank you so much for your reflections on writing. It’s interesting to hear your take on the historical market being “dead.” Books without multiple consummation scenes seem to be doomed.
    When you switched genres, was it because you tried to follow market trends or were you following your heart? And when you write with a partner, how is the labor divided?

    Reply
  3. The 60s…lt’s put it this way. I’m so old I know I’ve read Roberta’s books but couldn’t possibly tell you which ones because I’ve lost both long and short term memory. However, it is exciting to be in the “presence” of someone who’s had such a long and varied career.
    Roberta, thank you so much for your reflections on writing. It’s interesting to hear your take on the historical market being “dead.” Books without multiple consummation scenes seem to be doomed.
    When you switched genres, was it because you tried to follow market trends or were you following your heart? And when you write with a partner, how is the labor divided?

    Reply
  4. The 60s…lt’s put it this way. I’m so old I know I’ve read Roberta’s books but couldn’t possibly tell you which ones because I’ve lost both long and short term memory. However, it is exciting to be in the “presence” of someone who’s had such a long and varied career.
    Roberta, thank you so much for your reflections on writing. It’s interesting to hear your take on the historical market being “dead.” Books without multiple consummation scenes seem to be doomed.
    When you switched genres, was it because you tried to follow market trends or were you following your heart? And when you write with a partner, how is the labor divided?

    Reply
  5. Dear Roberta,
    I love your work, and therefore I love you!
    I’ve read the entire ROSELYNDE series.
    I have an autographed copy of TAPESTRY OF DREAMS. I also own FIRES OF WINTER, BOND OF BLOOD and KNIGHT’S HONOR.
    And I loved, loved, loved your Napoleanic series– IIRC, they are an heiress series. I think the first was THE ENGLISH HEIRESS.
    I love, love, love your heroines.
    Thank you for them all!
    Cathy, who is not embarrassed to gush over Roberta Gellis!

    Reply
  6. Dear Roberta,
    I love your work, and therefore I love you!
    I’ve read the entire ROSELYNDE series.
    I have an autographed copy of TAPESTRY OF DREAMS. I also own FIRES OF WINTER, BOND OF BLOOD and KNIGHT’S HONOR.
    And I loved, loved, loved your Napoleanic series– IIRC, they are an heiress series. I think the first was THE ENGLISH HEIRESS.
    I love, love, love your heroines.
    Thank you for them all!
    Cathy, who is not embarrassed to gush over Roberta Gellis!

    Reply
  7. Dear Roberta,
    I love your work, and therefore I love you!
    I’ve read the entire ROSELYNDE series.
    I have an autographed copy of TAPESTRY OF DREAMS. I also own FIRES OF WINTER, BOND OF BLOOD and KNIGHT’S HONOR.
    And I loved, loved, loved your Napoleanic series– IIRC, they are an heiress series. I think the first was THE ENGLISH HEIRESS.
    I love, love, love your heroines.
    Thank you for them all!
    Cathy, who is not embarrassed to gush over Roberta Gellis!

    Reply
  8. Dear Roberta,
    I love your work, and therefore I love you!
    I’ve read the entire ROSELYNDE series.
    I have an autographed copy of TAPESTRY OF DREAMS. I also own FIRES OF WINTER, BOND OF BLOOD and KNIGHT’S HONOR.
    And I loved, loved, loved your Napoleanic series– IIRC, they are an heiress series. I think the first was THE ENGLISH HEIRESS.
    I love, love, love your heroines.
    Thank you for them all!
    Cathy, who is not embarrassed to gush over Roberta Gellis!

    Reply
  9. I remember the 60s well. In 1966, my Classical Culture professor introduced me to the books of Mary Renault, so I was reading historical fiction then. Renault actually provides a nice segue into my gushing about Gellis.
    While I love the Scepter’d Isle books, my favorite Gellis books are the myth books. I made a note to myself recently as I was reading Louise Gluck’s Averno to go back and read Dazzling Brightness again because something in Gluck’s treatment of Persephone triggered a memory of DB. Shimmering Splendor I have reread more than once. Psyche is such a wonderful heroine.
    Thank you, Ms. Gellis, for many hours of reading delight.

    Reply
  10. I remember the 60s well. In 1966, my Classical Culture professor introduced me to the books of Mary Renault, so I was reading historical fiction then. Renault actually provides a nice segue into my gushing about Gellis.
    While I love the Scepter’d Isle books, my favorite Gellis books are the myth books. I made a note to myself recently as I was reading Louise Gluck’s Averno to go back and read Dazzling Brightness again because something in Gluck’s treatment of Persephone triggered a memory of DB. Shimmering Splendor I have reread more than once. Psyche is such a wonderful heroine.
    Thank you, Ms. Gellis, for many hours of reading delight.

    Reply
  11. I remember the 60s well. In 1966, my Classical Culture professor introduced me to the books of Mary Renault, so I was reading historical fiction then. Renault actually provides a nice segue into my gushing about Gellis.
    While I love the Scepter’d Isle books, my favorite Gellis books are the myth books. I made a note to myself recently as I was reading Louise Gluck’s Averno to go back and read Dazzling Brightness again because something in Gluck’s treatment of Persephone triggered a memory of DB. Shimmering Splendor I have reread more than once. Psyche is such a wonderful heroine.
    Thank you, Ms. Gellis, for many hours of reading delight.

    Reply
  12. I remember the 60s well. In 1966, my Classical Culture professor introduced me to the books of Mary Renault, so I was reading historical fiction then. Renault actually provides a nice segue into my gushing about Gellis.
    While I love the Scepter’d Isle books, my favorite Gellis books are the myth books. I made a note to myself recently as I was reading Louise Gluck’s Averno to go back and read Dazzling Brightness again because something in Gluck’s treatment of Persephone triggered a memory of DB. Shimmering Splendor I have reread more than once. Psyche is such a wonderful heroine.
    Thank you, Ms. Gellis, for many hours of reading delight.

    Reply
  13. Hello Roberta, like Cathy above I would love to just gush about the Roselynde, the mythology series and Magdalen series – I own them all and of course, I just want you to write more! I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for the HOURS of pleasure and learning you have provided. Of all of your books the only complaint was “the Mother of Poisons” I wish it had been longer. It felt a little ‘unfinished’ and I wondered if that was a size or page number constraint placed on you by the publisher or if there is/was another book about Lucrezia Borgia?
    Also, while I enjoy the middle ages for stories there are too many authors who haven’t done their homework and I think they may have spoiled the market. After reading a tightly woven story by someone like Roberta Gellis or Sharon Kay Penman – I am a bit disappointed by a story that doesn’t provide that rich detail!
    What would be the point of setting a story in the 12th.c. when the reader can’t TELL when it occurred?
    Bye the way, one of my absolute favorites is “Masques of Gold”!!! Not really ordinary people because the heroine could read and was essentially free, since she was widowed – but the insight into the ‘middle class’ was wonderful!
    Again, I have to gush and just say, “THANK YOU SO MUCH” I may just have to re-read Masques this cold and nasty weekend in Boston!

    Reply
  14. Hello Roberta, like Cathy above I would love to just gush about the Roselynde, the mythology series and Magdalen series – I own them all and of course, I just want you to write more! I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for the HOURS of pleasure and learning you have provided. Of all of your books the only complaint was “the Mother of Poisons” I wish it had been longer. It felt a little ‘unfinished’ and I wondered if that was a size or page number constraint placed on you by the publisher or if there is/was another book about Lucrezia Borgia?
    Also, while I enjoy the middle ages for stories there are too many authors who haven’t done their homework and I think they may have spoiled the market. After reading a tightly woven story by someone like Roberta Gellis or Sharon Kay Penman – I am a bit disappointed by a story that doesn’t provide that rich detail!
    What would be the point of setting a story in the 12th.c. when the reader can’t TELL when it occurred?
    Bye the way, one of my absolute favorites is “Masques of Gold”!!! Not really ordinary people because the heroine could read and was essentially free, since she was widowed – but the insight into the ‘middle class’ was wonderful!
    Again, I have to gush and just say, “THANK YOU SO MUCH” I may just have to re-read Masques this cold and nasty weekend in Boston!

    Reply
  15. Hello Roberta, like Cathy above I would love to just gush about the Roselynde, the mythology series and Magdalen series – I own them all and of course, I just want you to write more! I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for the HOURS of pleasure and learning you have provided. Of all of your books the only complaint was “the Mother of Poisons” I wish it had been longer. It felt a little ‘unfinished’ and I wondered if that was a size or page number constraint placed on you by the publisher or if there is/was another book about Lucrezia Borgia?
    Also, while I enjoy the middle ages for stories there are too many authors who haven’t done their homework and I think they may have spoiled the market. After reading a tightly woven story by someone like Roberta Gellis or Sharon Kay Penman – I am a bit disappointed by a story that doesn’t provide that rich detail!
    What would be the point of setting a story in the 12th.c. when the reader can’t TELL when it occurred?
    Bye the way, one of my absolute favorites is “Masques of Gold”!!! Not really ordinary people because the heroine could read and was essentially free, since she was widowed – but the insight into the ‘middle class’ was wonderful!
    Again, I have to gush and just say, “THANK YOU SO MUCH” I may just have to re-read Masques this cold and nasty weekend in Boston!

    Reply
  16. Hello Roberta, like Cathy above I would love to just gush about the Roselynde, the mythology series and Magdalen series – I own them all and of course, I just want you to write more! I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for the HOURS of pleasure and learning you have provided. Of all of your books the only complaint was “the Mother of Poisons” I wish it had been longer. It felt a little ‘unfinished’ and I wondered if that was a size or page number constraint placed on you by the publisher or if there is/was another book about Lucrezia Borgia?
    Also, while I enjoy the middle ages for stories there are too many authors who haven’t done their homework and I think they may have spoiled the market. After reading a tightly woven story by someone like Roberta Gellis or Sharon Kay Penman – I am a bit disappointed by a story that doesn’t provide that rich detail!
    What would be the point of setting a story in the 12th.c. when the reader can’t TELL when it occurred?
    Bye the way, one of my absolute favorites is “Masques of Gold”!!! Not really ordinary people because the heroine could read and was essentially free, since she was widowed – but the insight into the ‘middle class’ was wonderful!
    Again, I have to gush and just say, “THANK YOU SO MUCH” I may just have to re-read Masques this cold and nasty weekend in Boston!

    Reply
  17. My late mother got me started reading Historical Romances (with a capitol H) with Roberta’s Roselynde series and I’ve read them more times than I can count! I miss the good meaty books that were more than 400 pages long.
    I also love the Bell and Magdelan series and hope that there will be a fifth book in the series.

    Reply
  18. My late mother got me started reading Historical Romances (with a capitol H) with Roberta’s Roselynde series and I’ve read them more times than I can count! I miss the good meaty books that were more than 400 pages long.
    I also love the Bell and Magdelan series and hope that there will be a fifth book in the series.

    Reply
  19. My late mother got me started reading Historical Romances (with a capitol H) with Roberta’s Roselynde series and I’ve read them more times than I can count! I miss the good meaty books that were more than 400 pages long.
    I also love the Bell and Magdelan series and hope that there will be a fifth book in the series.

    Reply
  20. My late mother got me started reading Historical Romances (with a capitol H) with Roberta’s Roselynde series and I’ve read them more times than I can count! I miss the good meaty books that were more than 400 pages long.
    I also love the Bell and Magdelan series and hope that there will be a fifth book in the series.

    Reply
  21. Hello Roberta. Welcome to Word Wenches. And Jo, thank you for a wonderful interview.
    I can’t say too much about historical romance in the sixties because I didn’t show up until ’66. But I’ve certainly enjoyed learning about your take on the market, Roberta. And, I’m definitely going to check out your Napoleonic series.
    –the littlest wenchling.

    Reply
  22. Hello Roberta. Welcome to Word Wenches. And Jo, thank you for a wonderful interview.
    I can’t say too much about historical romance in the sixties because I didn’t show up until ’66. But I’ve certainly enjoyed learning about your take on the market, Roberta. And, I’m definitely going to check out your Napoleonic series.
    –the littlest wenchling.

    Reply
  23. Hello Roberta. Welcome to Word Wenches. And Jo, thank you for a wonderful interview.
    I can’t say too much about historical romance in the sixties because I didn’t show up until ’66. But I’ve certainly enjoyed learning about your take on the market, Roberta. And, I’m definitely going to check out your Napoleonic series.
    –the littlest wenchling.

    Reply
  24. Hello Roberta. Welcome to Word Wenches. And Jo, thank you for a wonderful interview.
    I can’t say too much about historical romance in the sixties because I didn’t show up until ’66. But I’ve certainly enjoyed learning about your take on the market, Roberta. And, I’m definitely going to check out your Napoleonic series.
    –the littlest wenchling.

    Reply
  25. Such a wonderful interview!
    I must admit that I have not read your work…sorry. They do sound like books that I would love though. I would love for all of your books to be reprinted so that I could read them. How sad that the Signature Select line didn’t last long enough to do it.

    Reply
  26. Such a wonderful interview!
    I must admit that I have not read your work…sorry. They do sound like books that I would love though. I would love for all of your books to be reprinted so that I could read them. How sad that the Signature Select line didn’t last long enough to do it.

    Reply
  27. Such a wonderful interview!
    I must admit that I have not read your work…sorry. They do sound like books that I would love though. I would love for all of your books to be reprinted so that I could read them. How sad that the Signature Select line didn’t last long enough to do it.

    Reply
  28. Such a wonderful interview!
    I must admit that I have not read your work…sorry. They do sound like books that I would love though. I would love for all of your books to be reprinted so that I could read them. How sad that the Signature Select line didn’t last long enough to do it.

    Reply
  29. It’s sad that the majority of historical romances being published today are doing away with history and demanding more wallpaper and sex scenes. I miss those big doorstoppers full of intrigue, passion, romance and suspense where you felt as if you’re in the period that the book is supposed to be set in rather than witnessing 21st century Americans in breeches.
    Maybe if today’s historical romances were reminiscent of historical romances of the past we would have more ‘outsiders’ picking up romances and falling in love with our genre?

    Reply
  30. It’s sad that the majority of historical romances being published today are doing away with history and demanding more wallpaper and sex scenes. I miss those big doorstoppers full of intrigue, passion, romance and suspense where you felt as if you’re in the period that the book is supposed to be set in rather than witnessing 21st century Americans in breeches.
    Maybe if today’s historical romances were reminiscent of historical romances of the past we would have more ‘outsiders’ picking up romances and falling in love with our genre?

    Reply
  31. It’s sad that the majority of historical romances being published today are doing away with history and demanding more wallpaper and sex scenes. I miss those big doorstoppers full of intrigue, passion, romance and suspense where you felt as if you’re in the period that the book is supposed to be set in rather than witnessing 21st century Americans in breeches.
    Maybe if today’s historical romances were reminiscent of historical romances of the past we would have more ‘outsiders’ picking up romances and falling in love with our genre?

    Reply
  32. It’s sad that the majority of historical romances being published today are doing away with history and demanding more wallpaper and sex scenes. I miss those big doorstoppers full of intrigue, passion, romance and suspense where you felt as if you’re in the period that the book is supposed to be set in rather than witnessing 21st century Americans in breeches.
    Maybe if today’s historical romances were reminiscent of historical romances of the past we would have more ‘outsiders’ picking up romances and falling in love with our genre?

    Reply
  33. I find it hard to believe that a market which welcomes Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series wouldn’t accept a richly detailed historical novel like yours.
    What kinds of historical sources do you use for background information?

    Reply
  34. I find it hard to believe that a market which welcomes Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series wouldn’t accept a richly detailed historical novel like yours.
    What kinds of historical sources do you use for background information?

    Reply
  35. I find it hard to believe that a market which welcomes Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series wouldn’t accept a richly detailed historical novel like yours.
    What kinds of historical sources do you use for background information?

    Reply
  36. I find it hard to believe that a market which welcomes Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series wouldn’t accept a richly detailed historical novel like yours.
    What kinds of historical sources do you use for background information?

    Reply
  37. For Maggie:
    To answer your question about why I switched genres, it was a little bit of both. Practically I write books for other people to read and, I hope, enjoy. Thus, there is no sense in writing what would not get published. Since my historical romances were not going to get published, I chose other genres I loved to read and experimented. In writing with a partner, I write the book; Mercedes reads it, adds to it, then sends it back to me. I must say I admire the skill with which she works; the whole thing always reads as if one author did it.

    Reply
  38. For Maggie:
    To answer your question about why I switched genres, it was a little bit of both. Practically I write books for other people to read and, I hope, enjoy. Thus, there is no sense in writing what would not get published. Since my historical romances were not going to get published, I chose other genres I loved to read and experimented. In writing with a partner, I write the book; Mercedes reads it, adds to it, then sends it back to me. I must say I admire the skill with which she works; the whole thing always reads as if one author did it.

    Reply
  39. For Maggie:
    To answer your question about why I switched genres, it was a little bit of both. Practically I write books for other people to read and, I hope, enjoy. Thus, there is no sense in writing what would not get published. Since my historical romances were not going to get published, I chose other genres I loved to read and experimented. In writing with a partner, I write the book; Mercedes reads it, adds to it, then sends it back to me. I must say I admire the skill with which she works; the whole thing always reads as if one author did it.

    Reply
  40. For Maggie:
    To answer your question about why I switched genres, it was a little bit of both. Practically I write books for other people to read and, I hope, enjoy. Thus, there is no sense in writing what would not get published. Since my historical romances were not going to get published, I chose other genres I loved to read and experimented. In writing with a partner, I write the book; Mercedes reads it, adds to it, then sends it back to me. I must say I admire the skill with which she works; the whole thing always reads as if one author did it.

    Reply
  41. For Cathy,
    Well, thank you. I’m too old to blush, but I certainly feel uplifted and admired. I am sorry to have to report that no one is in the least interested in reprinting the Napoleonic Series. I enjoyed doing the books (specially FORTUNE’S BRIDE, which I thought had lots of funny parts) and I am considering seeing if an epublisher (who does POD) would take them on. That would make them available, though not cheap. But, sigh, ordinary mass market books are no longer cheap.

    Reply
  42. For Cathy,
    Well, thank you. I’m too old to blush, but I certainly feel uplifted and admired. I am sorry to have to report that no one is in the least interested in reprinting the Napoleonic Series. I enjoyed doing the books (specially FORTUNE’S BRIDE, which I thought had lots of funny parts) and I am considering seeing if an epublisher (who does POD) would take them on. That would make them available, though not cheap. But, sigh, ordinary mass market books are no longer cheap.

    Reply
  43. For Cathy,
    Well, thank you. I’m too old to blush, but I certainly feel uplifted and admired. I am sorry to have to report that no one is in the least interested in reprinting the Napoleonic Series. I enjoyed doing the books (specially FORTUNE’S BRIDE, which I thought had lots of funny parts) and I am considering seeing if an epublisher (who does POD) would take them on. That would make them available, though not cheap. But, sigh, ordinary mass market books are no longer cheap.

    Reply
  44. For Cathy,
    Well, thank you. I’m too old to blush, but I certainly feel uplifted and admired. I am sorry to have to report that no one is in the least interested in reprinting the Napoleonic Series. I enjoyed doing the books (specially FORTUNE’S BRIDE, which I thought had lots of funny parts) and I am considering seeing if an epublisher (who does POD) would take them on. That would make them available, though not cheap. But, sigh, ordinary mass market books are no longer cheap.

    Reply
  45. Roberta, your books were my first introduction to and still my favorite of historical fiction (with or without romance). This will give you an idea of how much I valued them: they were the only non-textbooks I couldn’t live without in college in the early 80s! I must admit I lost touch with your work somewhat after you stopped writing the medieval works (Bond of Blood has to be my all-time favorite, but I loved the Roselynde series and the Heiress series), but I will look for some of the more recent ones now that I know that “the Queen” is still in business!

    Reply
  46. Roberta, your books were my first introduction to and still my favorite of historical fiction (with or without romance). This will give you an idea of how much I valued them: they were the only non-textbooks I couldn’t live without in college in the early 80s! I must admit I lost touch with your work somewhat after you stopped writing the medieval works (Bond of Blood has to be my all-time favorite, but I loved the Roselynde series and the Heiress series), but I will look for some of the more recent ones now that I know that “the Queen” is still in business!

    Reply
  47. Roberta, your books were my first introduction to and still my favorite of historical fiction (with or without romance). This will give you an idea of how much I valued them: they were the only non-textbooks I couldn’t live without in college in the early 80s! I must admit I lost touch with your work somewhat after you stopped writing the medieval works (Bond of Blood has to be my all-time favorite, but I loved the Roselynde series and the Heiress series), but I will look for some of the more recent ones now that I know that “the Queen” is still in business!

    Reply
  48. Roberta, your books were my first introduction to and still my favorite of historical fiction (with or without romance). This will give you an idea of how much I valued them: they were the only non-textbooks I couldn’t live without in college in the early 80s! I must admit I lost touch with your work somewhat after you stopped writing the medieval works (Bond of Blood has to be my all-time favorite, but I loved the Roselynde series and the Heiress series), but I will look for some of the more recent ones now that I know that “the Queen” is still in business!

    Reply
  49. Jo here.
    Great to see you here, Roberta! Wonderful questions, everyone.
    For those of you who haven’t read Roberta’s books, check out your local library. They may even have some of the older ones, but they should certainly have the medieval mystery ones. If not, tell them to order them!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  50. Jo here.
    Great to see you here, Roberta! Wonderful questions, everyone.
    For those of you who haven’t read Roberta’s books, check out your local library. They may even have some of the older ones, but they should certainly have the medieval mystery ones. If not, tell them to order them!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  51. Jo here.
    Great to see you here, Roberta! Wonderful questions, everyone.
    For those of you who haven’t read Roberta’s books, check out your local library. They may even have some of the older ones, but they should certainly have the medieval mystery ones. If not, tell them to order them!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  52. Jo here.
    Great to see you here, Roberta! Wonderful questions, everyone.
    For those of you who haven’t read Roberta’s books, check out your local library. They may even have some of the older ones, but they should certainly have the medieval mystery ones. If not, tell them to order them!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  53. For Julie
    This is the third time I’m trying to answer your comment. Both previous answers have been eaten by the computer. I said that MASQUES OF GOLD and ROPE DANCER were my two attempts to write books set outside of the nobility. And it took some ingenuity to find historical circumstances in which such people would have a place. In general, since I like to write about history, I am stuck with the nobility.
    As to Lucrezia, the book only covers about two weeks in the very early part of her marriage to Alfonso. There was no closure between her and her husband for a while. He had been unwilling to marry her, and she was probably still in love with an mourning her second husband. I had intended to write another book with Lucrezia as the detective, but other work intervened.

    Reply
  54. For Julie
    This is the third time I’m trying to answer your comment. Both previous answers have been eaten by the computer. I said that MASQUES OF GOLD and ROPE DANCER were my two attempts to write books set outside of the nobility. And it took some ingenuity to find historical circumstances in which such people would have a place. In general, since I like to write about history, I am stuck with the nobility.
    As to Lucrezia, the book only covers about two weeks in the very early part of her marriage to Alfonso. There was no closure between her and her husband for a while. He had been unwilling to marry her, and she was probably still in love with an mourning her second husband. I had intended to write another book with Lucrezia as the detective, but other work intervened.

    Reply
  55. For Julie
    This is the third time I’m trying to answer your comment. Both previous answers have been eaten by the computer. I said that MASQUES OF GOLD and ROPE DANCER were my two attempts to write books set outside of the nobility. And it took some ingenuity to find historical circumstances in which such people would have a place. In general, since I like to write about history, I am stuck with the nobility.
    As to Lucrezia, the book only covers about two weeks in the very early part of her marriage to Alfonso. There was no closure between her and her husband for a while. He had been unwilling to marry her, and she was probably still in love with an mourning her second husband. I had intended to write another book with Lucrezia as the detective, but other work intervened.

    Reply
  56. For Julie
    This is the third time I’m trying to answer your comment. Both previous answers have been eaten by the computer. I said that MASQUES OF GOLD and ROPE DANCER were my two attempts to write books set outside of the nobility. And it took some ingenuity to find historical circumstances in which such people would have a place. In general, since I like to write about history, I am stuck with the nobility.
    As to Lucrezia, the book only covers about two weeks in the very early part of her marriage to Alfonso. There was no closure between her and her husband for a while. He had been unwilling to marry her, and she was probably still in love with an mourning her second husband. I had intended to write another book with Lucrezia as the detective, but other work intervened.

    Reply
  57. Hi Robin
    Glad you read the interview. And yes, I think there will be a fifth Magdalene (if I ever get finished with AND LESS THAN KIND, which is the fourth and last book in the Tudor fantasy).
    I’m really pleased to say that CHAINS OF FOLLY sold pretty well, so I hope the publisher will be willing to do another book in the series.

    Reply
  58. Hi Robin
    Glad you read the interview. And yes, I think there will be a fifth Magdalene (if I ever get finished with AND LESS THAN KIND, which is the fourth and last book in the Tudor fantasy).
    I’m really pleased to say that CHAINS OF FOLLY sold pretty well, so I hope the publisher will be willing to do another book in the series.

    Reply
  59. Hi Robin
    Glad you read the interview. And yes, I think there will be a fifth Magdalene (if I ever get finished with AND LESS THAN KIND, which is the fourth and last book in the Tudor fantasy).
    I’m really pleased to say that CHAINS OF FOLLY sold pretty well, so I hope the publisher will be willing to do another book in the series.

    Reply
  60. Hi Robin
    Glad you read the interview. And yes, I think there will be a fifth Magdalene (if I ever get finished with AND LESS THAN KIND, which is the fourth and last book in the Tudor fantasy).
    I’m really pleased to say that CHAINS OF FOLLY sold pretty well, so I hope the publisher will be willing to do another book in the series.

    Reply
  61. For Janga–
    Sigh, I too _love_ the mythological fantasy books, but the fans of that series seem to be a small group. The first three (DAZZLING BRIGHTNESS, SHIMMERING SPLENDOR, and ENCHANTED FIRE) were published as romance … and did not sell. The next two (BULL GOD and THRICE BOUND) were published as fantsy … and did not sell. I have come to the conclusion that neither romance readers nor fantasy readers liked the ancient Greek setting. I would still like to do a book about Hephaestus and Hermes, but I’d never get anyone to publish them, so I think maybe I’ll change the names and set them on a strange planet, far, far away.

    Reply
  62. For Janga–
    Sigh, I too _love_ the mythological fantasy books, but the fans of that series seem to be a small group. The first three (DAZZLING BRIGHTNESS, SHIMMERING SPLENDOR, and ENCHANTED FIRE) were published as romance … and did not sell. The next two (BULL GOD and THRICE BOUND) were published as fantsy … and did not sell. I have come to the conclusion that neither romance readers nor fantasy readers liked the ancient Greek setting. I would still like to do a book about Hephaestus and Hermes, but I’d never get anyone to publish them, so I think maybe I’ll change the names and set them on a strange planet, far, far away.

    Reply
  63. For Janga–
    Sigh, I too _love_ the mythological fantasy books, but the fans of that series seem to be a small group. The first three (DAZZLING BRIGHTNESS, SHIMMERING SPLENDOR, and ENCHANTED FIRE) were published as romance … and did not sell. The next two (BULL GOD and THRICE BOUND) were published as fantsy … and did not sell. I have come to the conclusion that neither romance readers nor fantasy readers liked the ancient Greek setting. I would still like to do a book about Hephaestus and Hermes, but I’d never get anyone to publish them, so I think maybe I’ll change the names and set them on a strange planet, far, far away.

    Reply
  64. For Janga–
    Sigh, I too _love_ the mythological fantasy books, but the fans of that series seem to be a small group. The first three (DAZZLING BRIGHTNESS, SHIMMERING SPLENDOR, and ENCHANTED FIRE) were published as romance … and did not sell. The next two (BULL GOD and THRICE BOUND) were published as fantsy … and did not sell. I have come to the conclusion that neither romance readers nor fantasy readers liked the ancient Greek setting. I would still like to do a book about Hephaestus and Hermes, but I’d never get anyone to publish them, so I think maybe I’ll change the names and set them on a strange planet, far, far away.

    Reply
  65. Hi Nina–
    Unfortunately the books in the Napoleonic series have been long out of print. You might find a library that still has them (though I doubt it) or Amazon or Alibris might have them used. Otherwise, I’m afraid those will be hard to find. Good luck looking.

    Reply
  66. Hi Nina–
    Unfortunately the books in the Napoleonic series have been long out of print. You might find a library that still has them (though I doubt it) or Amazon or Alibris might have them used. Otherwise, I’m afraid those will be hard to find. Good luck looking.

    Reply
  67. Hi Nina–
    Unfortunately the books in the Napoleonic series have been long out of print. You might find a library that still has them (though I doubt it) or Amazon or Alibris might have them used. Otherwise, I’m afraid those will be hard to find. Good luck looking.

    Reply
  68. Hi Nina–
    Unfortunately the books in the Napoleonic series have been long out of print. You might find a library that still has them (though I doubt it) or Amazon or Alibris might have them used. Otherwise, I’m afraid those will be hard to find. Good luck looking.

    Reply
  69. For Jennifer Y
    Some libraries carry my books and you might get the older ones through Interloan. The historical mysteries are mostly in print and should be available. The Tudor fantasies are certainly in print but you will have to look under Mercedes Lackey (my coauthor, who is much more famous than I).

    Reply
  70. For Jennifer Y
    Some libraries carry my books and you might get the older ones through Interloan. The historical mysteries are mostly in print and should be available. The Tudor fantasies are certainly in print but you will have to look under Mercedes Lackey (my coauthor, who is much more famous than I).

    Reply
  71. For Jennifer Y
    Some libraries carry my books and you might get the older ones through Interloan. The historical mysteries are mostly in print and should be available. The Tudor fantasies are certainly in print but you will have to look under Mercedes Lackey (my coauthor, who is much more famous than I).

    Reply
  72. For Jennifer Y
    Some libraries carry my books and you might get the older ones through Interloan. The historical mysteries are mostly in print and should be available. The Tudor fantasies are certainly in print but you will have to look under Mercedes Lackey (my coauthor, who is much more famous than I).

    Reply
  73. I think there is something seriously wrong with a publishing world that does not publish Roberta Gellis!!! I have tracked down nearly all of the books which are out of print and I re-read them at least once a year, often even twice. I love Gilliane (I thought the character development was superb – how Adam expects her to be strong so she tries to be & discovers her own strength is wonderful to follow!), Masques of Gold, Fires of Winter, Rope Dancer, the Napoleonic Series (should have loved another book there), Shimmering Splendor,…. well, pretty much everything. I wasn’t so fond of “The Sword and The Swan” until I reread it recently and really liked it. 🙂 So yes, I am a big fan and not ashamed to admit it. (Incidentially, historical Chadwick mentioned Alinor a great influence on her, saying it blew her away!). Maybe the books ought to be published as stright historical fiction these days?? I do hope there will be many more books to come (maybe another on Lucrecia? Should love that!). So Roberta, I wish you the best of health and many new ideas and most of all, a change of publishing climate that will make your great novels available again! All the best, LizA

    Reply
  74. I think there is something seriously wrong with a publishing world that does not publish Roberta Gellis!!! I have tracked down nearly all of the books which are out of print and I re-read them at least once a year, often even twice. I love Gilliane (I thought the character development was superb – how Adam expects her to be strong so she tries to be & discovers her own strength is wonderful to follow!), Masques of Gold, Fires of Winter, Rope Dancer, the Napoleonic Series (should have loved another book there), Shimmering Splendor,…. well, pretty much everything. I wasn’t so fond of “The Sword and The Swan” until I reread it recently and really liked it. 🙂 So yes, I am a big fan and not ashamed to admit it. (Incidentially, historical Chadwick mentioned Alinor a great influence on her, saying it blew her away!). Maybe the books ought to be published as stright historical fiction these days?? I do hope there will be many more books to come (maybe another on Lucrecia? Should love that!). So Roberta, I wish you the best of health and many new ideas and most of all, a change of publishing climate that will make your great novels available again! All the best, LizA

    Reply
  75. I think there is something seriously wrong with a publishing world that does not publish Roberta Gellis!!! I have tracked down nearly all of the books which are out of print and I re-read them at least once a year, often even twice. I love Gilliane (I thought the character development was superb – how Adam expects her to be strong so she tries to be & discovers her own strength is wonderful to follow!), Masques of Gold, Fires of Winter, Rope Dancer, the Napoleonic Series (should have loved another book there), Shimmering Splendor,…. well, pretty much everything. I wasn’t so fond of “The Sword and The Swan” until I reread it recently and really liked it. 🙂 So yes, I am a big fan and not ashamed to admit it. (Incidentially, historical Chadwick mentioned Alinor a great influence on her, saying it blew her away!). Maybe the books ought to be published as stright historical fiction these days?? I do hope there will be many more books to come (maybe another on Lucrecia? Should love that!). So Roberta, I wish you the best of health and many new ideas and most of all, a change of publishing climate that will make your great novels available again! All the best, LizA

    Reply
  76. I think there is something seriously wrong with a publishing world that does not publish Roberta Gellis!!! I have tracked down nearly all of the books which are out of print and I re-read them at least once a year, often even twice. I love Gilliane (I thought the character development was superb – how Adam expects her to be strong so she tries to be & discovers her own strength is wonderful to follow!), Masques of Gold, Fires of Winter, Rope Dancer, the Napoleonic Series (should have loved another book there), Shimmering Splendor,…. well, pretty much everything. I wasn’t so fond of “The Sword and The Swan” until I reread it recently and really liked it. 🙂 So yes, I am a big fan and not ashamed to admit it. (Incidentially, historical Chadwick mentioned Alinor a great influence on her, saying it blew her away!). Maybe the books ought to be published as stright historical fiction these days?? I do hope there will be many more books to come (maybe another on Lucrecia? Should love that!). So Roberta, I wish you the best of health and many new ideas and most of all, a change of publishing climate that will make your great novels available again! All the best, LizA

    Reply
  77. Hello Roberta, and welcome to Word Wenches! Great interview–thanks, Jo, for setting this up for all of us to enjoy.
    I’ve read nearly everything you’ve written by now, and years ago, the Roselynde chronicles and some of my absolute favorites, like TAPESTRY OF DREAMS and MASQUES OF GOLD, helped to shape me as a reader and later as a writer. About ten years ago I approached you awestruck at a literacy signing (where I was also signing) to ask for an autograph, and you were so very gracious to a gushing little newbie. 🙂
    I read DESIREE and loved that return to the classic Gellis style, and I’ve been looking forward to new packaging for the entire Roselynde chronicles. It’s a disappointment that the reissues on that classic, beloved series have been halted…for now! I remain hopeful!
    When even Roberta Gellis is restricted by the same constraints that we’re all feeling in historical romance these days, seems like something’s got to change–and I think it will, given the cyclical nature of this business. Many of us have had our wings clipped in some ways, but I’m hoping that the surge of interest in mainstream historicals will be good for historical romance too — so many readers want a longer, more substantial historical romance read.
    As one of the Wenches who’s writing both historical romance and mainstream historicals now, I’d be interested to know what you think of the new trend in mainstream historicals, and if you think it will help revive old school historical romances.
    ~Susan King
    (aka Wench Susan Sarah)

    Reply
  78. Hello Roberta, and welcome to Word Wenches! Great interview–thanks, Jo, for setting this up for all of us to enjoy.
    I’ve read nearly everything you’ve written by now, and years ago, the Roselynde chronicles and some of my absolute favorites, like TAPESTRY OF DREAMS and MASQUES OF GOLD, helped to shape me as a reader and later as a writer. About ten years ago I approached you awestruck at a literacy signing (where I was also signing) to ask for an autograph, and you were so very gracious to a gushing little newbie. 🙂
    I read DESIREE and loved that return to the classic Gellis style, and I’ve been looking forward to new packaging for the entire Roselynde chronicles. It’s a disappointment that the reissues on that classic, beloved series have been halted…for now! I remain hopeful!
    When even Roberta Gellis is restricted by the same constraints that we’re all feeling in historical romance these days, seems like something’s got to change–and I think it will, given the cyclical nature of this business. Many of us have had our wings clipped in some ways, but I’m hoping that the surge of interest in mainstream historicals will be good for historical romance too — so many readers want a longer, more substantial historical romance read.
    As one of the Wenches who’s writing both historical romance and mainstream historicals now, I’d be interested to know what you think of the new trend in mainstream historicals, and if you think it will help revive old school historical romances.
    ~Susan King
    (aka Wench Susan Sarah)

    Reply
  79. Hello Roberta, and welcome to Word Wenches! Great interview–thanks, Jo, for setting this up for all of us to enjoy.
    I’ve read nearly everything you’ve written by now, and years ago, the Roselynde chronicles and some of my absolute favorites, like TAPESTRY OF DREAMS and MASQUES OF GOLD, helped to shape me as a reader and later as a writer. About ten years ago I approached you awestruck at a literacy signing (where I was also signing) to ask for an autograph, and you were so very gracious to a gushing little newbie. 🙂
    I read DESIREE and loved that return to the classic Gellis style, and I’ve been looking forward to new packaging for the entire Roselynde chronicles. It’s a disappointment that the reissues on that classic, beloved series have been halted…for now! I remain hopeful!
    When even Roberta Gellis is restricted by the same constraints that we’re all feeling in historical romance these days, seems like something’s got to change–and I think it will, given the cyclical nature of this business. Many of us have had our wings clipped in some ways, but I’m hoping that the surge of interest in mainstream historicals will be good for historical romance too — so many readers want a longer, more substantial historical romance read.
    As one of the Wenches who’s writing both historical romance and mainstream historicals now, I’d be interested to know what you think of the new trend in mainstream historicals, and if you think it will help revive old school historical romances.
    ~Susan King
    (aka Wench Susan Sarah)

    Reply
  80. Hello Roberta, and welcome to Word Wenches! Great interview–thanks, Jo, for setting this up for all of us to enjoy.
    I’ve read nearly everything you’ve written by now, and years ago, the Roselynde chronicles and some of my absolute favorites, like TAPESTRY OF DREAMS and MASQUES OF GOLD, helped to shape me as a reader and later as a writer. About ten years ago I approached you awestruck at a literacy signing (where I was also signing) to ask for an autograph, and you were so very gracious to a gushing little newbie. 🙂
    I read DESIREE and loved that return to the classic Gellis style, and I’ve been looking forward to new packaging for the entire Roselynde chronicles. It’s a disappointment that the reissues on that classic, beloved series have been halted…for now! I remain hopeful!
    When even Roberta Gellis is restricted by the same constraints that we’re all feeling in historical romance these days, seems like something’s got to change–and I think it will, given the cyclical nature of this business. Many of us have had our wings clipped in some ways, but I’m hoping that the surge of interest in mainstream historicals will be good for historical romance too — so many readers want a longer, more substantial historical romance read.
    As one of the Wenches who’s writing both historical romance and mainstream historicals now, I’d be interested to know what you think of the new trend in mainstream historicals, and if you think it will help revive old school historical romances.
    ~Susan King
    (aka Wench Susan Sarah)

    Reply
  81. For Maureen,
    For pleasure I mostly read what I am currently writing: fantasy and historical mystery. My current favorite authors of fantasy (or some of it is “soft” science fiction)are Bujold, Shinn, Lee and Miller, Modesitt, David Drake and my coauthor, Mercedes Lackey.
    In historical mystery I have recently fallen in love with Kerry Greenwood, who writes a series about Phryne Fisher set in Australia of the late 20s and early 30s. Phryne might be a bit unbelievable (superwoman in the guise of a flapper)but the books are utterly charming, touched with pleasant (not ho ho) humor and the settings are remarkably real. Beyond that I like the classics: Christie, Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout and read a lot of modern mysteries but have been caught by none enough to go looking for the authors.

    Reply
  82. For Maureen,
    For pleasure I mostly read what I am currently writing: fantasy and historical mystery. My current favorite authors of fantasy (or some of it is “soft” science fiction)are Bujold, Shinn, Lee and Miller, Modesitt, David Drake and my coauthor, Mercedes Lackey.
    In historical mystery I have recently fallen in love with Kerry Greenwood, who writes a series about Phryne Fisher set in Australia of the late 20s and early 30s. Phryne might be a bit unbelievable (superwoman in the guise of a flapper)but the books are utterly charming, touched with pleasant (not ho ho) humor and the settings are remarkably real. Beyond that I like the classics: Christie, Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout and read a lot of modern mysteries but have been caught by none enough to go looking for the authors.

    Reply
  83. For Maureen,
    For pleasure I mostly read what I am currently writing: fantasy and historical mystery. My current favorite authors of fantasy (or some of it is “soft” science fiction)are Bujold, Shinn, Lee and Miller, Modesitt, David Drake and my coauthor, Mercedes Lackey.
    In historical mystery I have recently fallen in love with Kerry Greenwood, who writes a series about Phryne Fisher set in Australia of the late 20s and early 30s. Phryne might be a bit unbelievable (superwoman in the guise of a flapper)but the books are utterly charming, touched with pleasant (not ho ho) humor and the settings are remarkably real. Beyond that I like the classics: Christie, Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout and read a lot of modern mysteries but have been caught by none enough to go looking for the authors.

    Reply
  84. For Maureen,
    For pleasure I mostly read what I am currently writing: fantasy and historical mystery. My current favorite authors of fantasy (or some of it is “soft” science fiction)are Bujold, Shinn, Lee and Miller, Modesitt, David Drake and my coauthor, Mercedes Lackey.
    In historical mystery I have recently fallen in love with Kerry Greenwood, who writes a series about Phryne Fisher set in Australia of the late 20s and early 30s. Phryne might be a bit unbelievable (superwoman in the guise of a flapper)but the books are utterly charming, touched with pleasant (not ho ho) humor and the settings are remarkably real. Beyond that I like the classics: Christie, Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout and read a lot of modern mysteries but have been caught by none enough to go looking for the authors.

    Reply
  85. For Kathy Kremer
    Well, I’ve been mostly involved in the Tudor fantasies recently, but I have heard rumors about new interest in “straight” historicals. I do want to do another Magdalene book because I want to write about the conclave that the bishop of Winchester held to remonstrate with the king, but after that, if the trend for historicals is holding steady, I do have a couple of subjects in mind that I will present to my agent. We’ll see.

    Reply
  86. For Kathy Kremer
    Well, I’ve been mostly involved in the Tudor fantasies recently, but I have heard rumors about new interest in “straight” historicals. I do want to do another Magdalene book because I want to write about the conclave that the bishop of Winchester held to remonstrate with the king, but after that, if the trend for historicals is holding steady, I do have a couple of subjects in mind that I will present to my agent. We’ll see.

    Reply
  87. For Kathy Kremer
    Well, I’ve been mostly involved in the Tudor fantasies recently, but I have heard rumors about new interest in “straight” historicals. I do want to do another Magdalene book because I want to write about the conclave that the bishop of Winchester held to remonstrate with the king, but after that, if the trend for historicals is holding steady, I do have a couple of subjects in mind that I will present to my agent. We’ll see.

    Reply
  88. For Kathy Kremer
    Well, I’ve been mostly involved in the Tudor fantasies recently, but I have heard rumors about new interest in “straight” historicals. I do want to do another Magdalene book because I want to write about the conclave that the bishop of Winchester held to remonstrate with the king, but after that, if the trend for historicals is holding steady, I do have a couple of subjects in mind that I will present to my agent. We’ll see.

    Reply
  89. For Judi
    Try the historical mysteries. A MORTAL BANE, A PERSONAL DEVIL, BONE OF CONTENTION, and CHAINS OF FOLLY. They are more restricted in scope, taking place in a couple of weeks, but I do include an important historical event that influences the mystery. And they are set in the 12th century (1139 to be exact) so I think the flavor will be the same. There is, too, an interesting romantic relationship, though of course it is secondary to the mystery.

    Reply
  90. For Judi
    Try the historical mysteries. A MORTAL BANE, A PERSONAL DEVIL, BONE OF CONTENTION, and CHAINS OF FOLLY. They are more restricted in scope, taking place in a couple of weeks, but I do include an important historical event that influences the mystery. And they are set in the 12th century (1139 to be exact) so I think the flavor will be the same. There is, too, an interesting romantic relationship, though of course it is secondary to the mystery.

    Reply
  91. For Judi
    Try the historical mysteries. A MORTAL BANE, A PERSONAL DEVIL, BONE OF CONTENTION, and CHAINS OF FOLLY. They are more restricted in scope, taking place in a couple of weeks, but I do include an important historical event that influences the mystery. And they are set in the 12th century (1139 to be exact) so I think the flavor will be the same. There is, too, an interesting romantic relationship, though of course it is secondary to the mystery.

    Reply
  92. For Judi
    Try the historical mysteries. A MORTAL BANE, A PERSONAL DEVIL, BONE OF CONTENTION, and CHAINS OF FOLLY. They are more restricted in scope, taking place in a couple of weeks, but I do include an important historical event that influences the mystery. And they are set in the 12th century (1139 to be exact) so I think the flavor will be the same. There is, too, an interesting romantic relationship, though of course it is secondary to the mystery.

    Reply
  93. For LizA
    I quit the Napoleonic Series when I was ahead. If I had continued I would have been dealing with the most horrible and bloody fighting in the Peninsula and then Waterloo. I just didn’t feel up to doing justice to the battles. So I left the war and moved on to the state of women in the early 19th century; it was really horrible (see A WOMAN’S ESTATE).
    I have noticed the slow and cautious emergence of straight historicals and I hope most sincerely that the trend continues. I must finish the last of the Tudor fantasies and then I want to do another Magdalene book (I enjoy those; essentially although they deal with murder they are very light-hearted). After that, if the trend holds, I think I will see if I can sell a straight historical (with, naturally a good strong love story)

    Reply
  94. For LizA
    I quit the Napoleonic Series when I was ahead. If I had continued I would have been dealing with the most horrible and bloody fighting in the Peninsula and then Waterloo. I just didn’t feel up to doing justice to the battles. So I left the war and moved on to the state of women in the early 19th century; it was really horrible (see A WOMAN’S ESTATE).
    I have noticed the slow and cautious emergence of straight historicals and I hope most sincerely that the trend continues. I must finish the last of the Tudor fantasies and then I want to do another Magdalene book (I enjoy those; essentially although they deal with murder they are very light-hearted). After that, if the trend holds, I think I will see if I can sell a straight historical (with, naturally a good strong love story)

    Reply
  95. For LizA
    I quit the Napoleonic Series when I was ahead. If I had continued I would have been dealing with the most horrible and bloody fighting in the Peninsula and then Waterloo. I just didn’t feel up to doing justice to the battles. So I left the war and moved on to the state of women in the early 19th century; it was really horrible (see A WOMAN’S ESTATE).
    I have noticed the slow and cautious emergence of straight historicals and I hope most sincerely that the trend continues. I must finish the last of the Tudor fantasies and then I want to do another Magdalene book (I enjoy those; essentially although they deal with murder they are very light-hearted). After that, if the trend holds, I think I will see if I can sell a straight historical (with, naturally a good strong love story)

    Reply
  96. For LizA
    I quit the Napoleonic Series when I was ahead. If I had continued I would have been dealing with the most horrible and bloody fighting in the Peninsula and then Waterloo. I just didn’t feel up to doing justice to the battles. So I left the war and moved on to the state of women in the early 19th century; it was really horrible (see A WOMAN’S ESTATE).
    I have noticed the slow and cautious emergence of straight historicals and I hope most sincerely that the trend continues. I must finish the last of the Tudor fantasies and then I want to do another Magdalene book (I enjoy those; essentially although they deal with murder they are very light-hearted). After that, if the trend holds, I think I will see if I can sell a straight historical (with, naturally a good strong love story)

    Reply
  97. Hi Susan,
    Personally I was dissatisfied with DESIREE. It wasn’t a bad book; it dealt with a realistic medieval situation and with fairly accurate medieval reactions to that situation, BUT there were so many other things I wanted to write about and had to omit because of constraints of space.
    I don’t know much about the mainstream historicals. Because I am writing in the same period I’ve read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and THE VIRGIN’S LOVER and although the books are well written and the characters are well drawn, I disagreed (on straight historical research) with the premises too much to fully enjoy them. The biblical setting books by India Edgehill (QUEENMAKER and WISDOM’S DAUGHTER) I just loved. I havn’t read RED TENT yet. But I cannot tell a lie, I have been reading much lighter stuff: fantasy and mystery so I’m not up on most of the mainstream historicals.

    Reply
  98. Hi Susan,
    Personally I was dissatisfied with DESIREE. It wasn’t a bad book; it dealt with a realistic medieval situation and with fairly accurate medieval reactions to that situation, BUT there were so many other things I wanted to write about and had to omit because of constraints of space.
    I don’t know much about the mainstream historicals. Because I am writing in the same period I’ve read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and THE VIRGIN’S LOVER and although the books are well written and the characters are well drawn, I disagreed (on straight historical research) with the premises too much to fully enjoy them. The biblical setting books by India Edgehill (QUEENMAKER and WISDOM’S DAUGHTER) I just loved. I havn’t read RED TENT yet. But I cannot tell a lie, I have been reading much lighter stuff: fantasy and mystery so I’m not up on most of the mainstream historicals.

    Reply
  99. Hi Susan,
    Personally I was dissatisfied with DESIREE. It wasn’t a bad book; it dealt with a realistic medieval situation and with fairly accurate medieval reactions to that situation, BUT there were so many other things I wanted to write about and had to omit because of constraints of space.
    I don’t know much about the mainstream historicals. Because I am writing in the same period I’ve read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and THE VIRGIN’S LOVER and although the books are well written and the characters are well drawn, I disagreed (on straight historical research) with the premises too much to fully enjoy them. The biblical setting books by India Edgehill (QUEENMAKER and WISDOM’S DAUGHTER) I just loved. I havn’t read RED TENT yet. But I cannot tell a lie, I have been reading much lighter stuff: fantasy and mystery so I’m not up on most of the mainstream historicals.

    Reply
  100. Hi Susan,
    Personally I was dissatisfied with DESIREE. It wasn’t a bad book; it dealt with a realistic medieval situation and with fairly accurate medieval reactions to that situation, BUT there were so many other things I wanted to write about and had to omit because of constraints of space.
    I don’t know much about the mainstream historicals. Because I am writing in the same period I’ve read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and THE VIRGIN’S LOVER and although the books are well written and the characters are well drawn, I disagreed (on straight historical research) with the premises too much to fully enjoy them. The biblical setting books by India Edgehill (QUEENMAKER and WISDOM’S DAUGHTER) I just loved. I havn’t read RED TENT yet. But I cannot tell a lie, I have been reading much lighter stuff: fantasy and mystery so I’m not up on most of the mainstream historicals.

    Reply
  101. As a semi-regular visitor to this site I must say, these days when guest writers adorn the Wordwench pages are among my favourites – they round out my reading education.
    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read any of Ms. Gellis’ books, but now I know what to look for. Is it any excuse that I wasn’t born till halfway through the sixities ? No ? Or that my teenage years (when I would presumably have come across historical romances had i lived here) were spent in Europe, where the only romance-type literature one tended to find was the ‘Angelique’ series and the odd Woodiwiss novel (poorly translated) ? Still no ?
    oh well.
    P.S. Whatever happened to Jo’s poetry contest of way back in October ? Did I miss the results or did it die of natural causes ?

    Reply
  102. As a semi-regular visitor to this site I must say, these days when guest writers adorn the Wordwench pages are among my favourites – they round out my reading education.
    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read any of Ms. Gellis’ books, but now I know what to look for. Is it any excuse that I wasn’t born till halfway through the sixities ? No ? Or that my teenage years (when I would presumably have come across historical romances had i lived here) were spent in Europe, where the only romance-type literature one tended to find was the ‘Angelique’ series and the odd Woodiwiss novel (poorly translated) ? Still no ?
    oh well.
    P.S. Whatever happened to Jo’s poetry contest of way back in October ? Did I miss the results or did it die of natural causes ?

    Reply
  103. As a semi-regular visitor to this site I must say, these days when guest writers adorn the Wordwench pages are among my favourites – they round out my reading education.
    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read any of Ms. Gellis’ books, but now I know what to look for. Is it any excuse that I wasn’t born till halfway through the sixities ? No ? Or that my teenage years (when I would presumably have come across historical romances had i lived here) were spent in Europe, where the only romance-type literature one tended to find was the ‘Angelique’ series and the odd Woodiwiss novel (poorly translated) ? Still no ?
    oh well.
    P.S. Whatever happened to Jo’s poetry contest of way back in October ? Did I miss the results or did it die of natural causes ?

    Reply
  104. As a semi-regular visitor to this site I must say, these days when guest writers adorn the Wordwench pages are among my favourites – they round out my reading education.
    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read any of Ms. Gellis’ books, but now I know what to look for. Is it any excuse that I wasn’t born till halfway through the sixities ? No ? Or that my teenage years (when I would presumably have come across historical romances had i lived here) were spent in Europe, where the only romance-type literature one tended to find was the ‘Angelique’ series and the odd Woodiwiss novel (poorly translated) ? Still no ?
    oh well.
    P.S. Whatever happened to Jo’s poetry contest of way back in October ? Did I miss the results or did it die of natural causes ?

    Reply
  105. Side note. Please don’t respond here.
    (Maya! Thanks for reminding me about the poetry. Mea culpa! I did that on the road around the time my son got married and as soon as I was back home I had to plunge into writing Lady Beware. I completely forgot to pick a winner.
    I’ll go through the archives and do that.
    Jo :))

    Reply
  106. Side note. Please don’t respond here.
    (Maya! Thanks for reminding me about the poetry. Mea culpa! I did that on the road around the time my son got married and as soon as I was back home I had to plunge into writing Lady Beware. I completely forgot to pick a winner.
    I’ll go through the archives and do that.
    Jo :))

    Reply
  107. Side note. Please don’t respond here.
    (Maya! Thanks for reminding me about the poetry. Mea culpa! I did that on the road around the time my son got married and as soon as I was back home I had to plunge into writing Lady Beware. I completely forgot to pick a winner.
    I’ll go through the archives and do that.
    Jo :))

    Reply
  108. Side note. Please don’t respond here.
    (Maya! Thanks for reminding me about the poetry. Mea culpa! I did that on the road around the time my son got married and as soon as I was back home I had to plunge into writing Lady Beware. I completely forgot to pick a winner.
    I’ll go through the archives and do that.
    Jo :))

    Reply
  109. Hello Roberta,
    What a pleasure and honor it is to have you here and I so enjoyed the interview! I confess I was Otherwise Occupied during the 60’s (skinning knees, coloring with crayons, playing with Barbies, learning to read) so I’m not as familiar with your books as I should be! I did go to the bookstore today and found your Tudor series in the SF/F section (only shelved under “Lackey”, LOL)–but no Magdalene in the Mysteries. . . sigh. I suppose it will be Amazon or the library for me. (Any heroine named Magdalene has a positive and intriguing pull on my imagination.)
    Thank you for being here and for the amazing and varied list of books it will now be my pleasure to discover.
    Melinda

    Reply
  110. Hello Roberta,
    What a pleasure and honor it is to have you here and I so enjoyed the interview! I confess I was Otherwise Occupied during the 60’s (skinning knees, coloring with crayons, playing with Barbies, learning to read) so I’m not as familiar with your books as I should be! I did go to the bookstore today and found your Tudor series in the SF/F section (only shelved under “Lackey”, LOL)–but no Magdalene in the Mysteries. . . sigh. I suppose it will be Amazon or the library for me. (Any heroine named Magdalene has a positive and intriguing pull on my imagination.)
    Thank you for being here and for the amazing and varied list of books it will now be my pleasure to discover.
    Melinda

    Reply
  111. Hello Roberta,
    What a pleasure and honor it is to have you here and I so enjoyed the interview! I confess I was Otherwise Occupied during the 60’s (skinning knees, coloring with crayons, playing with Barbies, learning to read) so I’m not as familiar with your books as I should be! I did go to the bookstore today and found your Tudor series in the SF/F section (only shelved under “Lackey”, LOL)–but no Magdalene in the Mysteries. . . sigh. I suppose it will be Amazon or the library for me. (Any heroine named Magdalene has a positive and intriguing pull on my imagination.)
    Thank you for being here and for the amazing and varied list of books it will now be my pleasure to discover.
    Melinda

    Reply
  112. Hello Roberta,
    What a pleasure and honor it is to have you here and I so enjoyed the interview! I confess I was Otherwise Occupied during the 60’s (skinning knees, coloring with crayons, playing with Barbies, learning to read) so I’m not as familiar with your books as I should be! I did go to the bookstore today and found your Tudor series in the SF/F section (only shelved under “Lackey”, LOL)–but no Magdalene in the Mysteries. . . sigh. I suppose it will be Amazon or the library for me. (Any heroine named Magdalene has a positive and intriguing pull on my imagination.)
    Thank you for being here and for the amazing and varied list of books it will now be my pleasure to discover.
    Melinda

    Reply
  113. Hi Roberta –
    I am so glad you are still writing!
    The first book of yours I read was Bond of Blood which I regularly checked out from the Mercer Island, WA library to reread many years ago.
    I acquired the entire Roselynde series in paperback as they first came out and kept them at our ski club to reread. Alas, the ski club burned down a number of years ago … I was looking forward to replacing my lost copies and am greatly disappointed by the publisher’s decision not to continue.
    I just finished reading Chains of Folly and look forward to more of Magdalene and Bell.
    I have not yet read your collaborations with Mercedes Lackey but have acquired the first two in paperback …
    This is my first post to a blog. 🙂
    On a personal note, I am the older sister of Melinda Helfer, longtime reviewer for Romantic Times, who died far too young a number of years ago. I recently retired from 40 years at Boeing as a Technology Director and Fellow.
    – Maretta

    Reply
  114. Hi Roberta –
    I am so glad you are still writing!
    The first book of yours I read was Bond of Blood which I regularly checked out from the Mercer Island, WA library to reread many years ago.
    I acquired the entire Roselynde series in paperback as they first came out and kept them at our ski club to reread. Alas, the ski club burned down a number of years ago … I was looking forward to replacing my lost copies and am greatly disappointed by the publisher’s decision not to continue.
    I just finished reading Chains of Folly and look forward to more of Magdalene and Bell.
    I have not yet read your collaborations with Mercedes Lackey but have acquired the first two in paperback …
    This is my first post to a blog. 🙂
    On a personal note, I am the older sister of Melinda Helfer, longtime reviewer for Romantic Times, who died far too young a number of years ago. I recently retired from 40 years at Boeing as a Technology Director and Fellow.
    – Maretta

    Reply
  115. Hi Roberta –
    I am so glad you are still writing!
    The first book of yours I read was Bond of Blood which I regularly checked out from the Mercer Island, WA library to reread many years ago.
    I acquired the entire Roselynde series in paperback as they first came out and kept them at our ski club to reread. Alas, the ski club burned down a number of years ago … I was looking forward to replacing my lost copies and am greatly disappointed by the publisher’s decision not to continue.
    I just finished reading Chains of Folly and look forward to more of Magdalene and Bell.
    I have not yet read your collaborations with Mercedes Lackey but have acquired the first two in paperback …
    This is my first post to a blog. 🙂
    On a personal note, I am the older sister of Melinda Helfer, longtime reviewer for Romantic Times, who died far too young a number of years ago. I recently retired from 40 years at Boeing as a Technology Director and Fellow.
    – Maretta

    Reply
  116. Hi Roberta –
    I am so glad you are still writing!
    The first book of yours I read was Bond of Blood which I regularly checked out from the Mercer Island, WA library to reread many years ago.
    I acquired the entire Roselynde series in paperback as they first came out and kept them at our ski club to reread. Alas, the ski club burned down a number of years ago … I was looking forward to replacing my lost copies and am greatly disappointed by the publisher’s decision not to continue.
    I just finished reading Chains of Folly and look forward to more of Magdalene and Bell.
    I have not yet read your collaborations with Mercedes Lackey but have acquired the first two in paperback …
    This is my first post to a blog. 🙂
    On a personal note, I am the older sister of Melinda Helfer, longtime reviewer for Romantic Times, who died far too young a number of years ago. I recently retired from 40 years at Boeing as a Technology Director and Fellow.
    – Maretta

    Reply
  117. Thanks to everyone for participating. I drew a name, and the winner of a book from Roberta is……..
    Judi. Congratulations, Judi. I’ve sent you an e-mail.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  118. Thanks to everyone for participating. I drew a name, and the winner of a book from Roberta is……..
    Judi. Congratulations, Judi. I’ve sent you an e-mail.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  119. Thanks to everyone for participating. I drew a name, and the winner of a book from Roberta is……..
    Judi. Congratulations, Judi. I’ve sent you an e-mail.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  120. Thanks to everyone for participating. I drew a name, and the winner of a book from Roberta is……..
    Judi. Congratulations, Judi. I’ve sent you an e-mail.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  121. Oh, Blast! I forgot all about Roberta’s visit yesterday. Darn. I’ve read nearly all her books, beginning with the Roselynde Chronicles when they first came out. I cannot tell you how many times I have reread both those and the Napoleanic series. I absolutely love them. I also enjoy the Magdalene series. I haven’t read any of the fantasies, though my sister has been reading the Tudor series, so I might try it one of these days — if my TBR pile ever gets small enough.

    Reply
  122. Oh, Blast! I forgot all about Roberta’s visit yesterday. Darn. I’ve read nearly all her books, beginning with the Roselynde Chronicles when they first came out. I cannot tell you how many times I have reread both those and the Napoleanic series. I absolutely love them. I also enjoy the Magdalene series. I haven’t read any of the fantasies, though my sister has been reading the Tudor series, so I might try it one of these days — if my TBR pile ever gets small enough.

    Reply
  123. Oh, Blast! I forgot all about Roberta’s visit yesterday. Darn. I’ve read nearly all her books, beginning with the Roselynde Chronicles when they first came out. I cannot tell you how many times I have reread both those and the Napoleanic series. I absolutely love them. I also enjoy the Magdalene series. I haven’t read any of the fantasies, though my sister has been reading the Tudor series, so I might try it one of these days — if my TBR pile ever gets small enough.

    Reply
  124. Oh, Blast! I forgot all about Roberta’s visit yesterday. Darn. I’ve read nearly all her books, beginning with the Roselynde Chronicles when they first came out. I cannot tell you how many times I have reread both those and the Napoleanic series. I absolutely love them. I also enjoy the Magdalene series. I haven’t read any of the fantasies, though my sister has been reading the Tudor series, so I might try it one of these days — if my TBR pile ever gets small enough.

    Reply

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