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Topic: Welcome Sharon Penman! Q & A Here.

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Subject: Welcome Sharon Penman! Q & A Here.
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 1:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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 I will open the tread from comments at 8:00 pm eastern time, and will close at 10:00 pm eastern time.

I think any question you might have about her books will be welcome as would her involvement with ECHO, also the Eleanor tour 2011.

So let's all represent  for the H/F forum remember that Penmanianism was born right here. 



Last Edited on: 11/1/11 7:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 2:43 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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    Siege of Acre      

Look at the joy on Sharon's face.  I love this photo.

 

 

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 7:54 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,718
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This is so exciting! Thank you, Jerelyn for arranging this!

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 9:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I was very excited when Sharon offered.  This will become the Q & A thread FYI   I will edit the subject line this evening.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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How does one address an HF goddess???

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,451
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I will have to read after the fact as I am working this eveningfrown.  Still, what a terrific opportunity and how gracious of Sharon to do this for us.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Letty - if this is in the evening, I can be here!

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Cheryl, The same goes for Jeanne and Mimi, If you have a question or questions for Sharon.  Just pm me, and I will add them.

LOL Deb.

Jeanne, It is tonight,   But I was thinking the 1st was a Wed. I was wrong I am sorry for the confusion,surprise



Last Edited on: 11/1/11 10:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I would like to again thank Sharon for coming and joining our little group,  I have already shared with Sharon how highly she is thought of here.

 

Sharon, a few of our members were unable to be here tonight  Cheryl M.  asked me to ask you...

Does Sharon have a "most compelling" character that she has researched and written about? And if so, why?



Last Edited on: 11/1/11 7:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
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Sharon do you think of the character or the story line first?   Jerelyn sent me my first HF book and I loved Eleanor (it was yours of course!) I wanted to read everything you had on her and I wondered did you fall in love with her or her time period?

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I was excited to hear that Lionheart will be your first book on audio, and that they picked up King's Ransom as well where and when will this be available?

Have you every wanted to pick up and move to France or Wales for good?

Subject: Sharon Kay Penman Q & A
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 10
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\Hi, everyone.  Thank you so much for asking me, Jerelyn.  I had more fun doing Jerelyn's interview than with any of the others--but let's keep that to ourselves!  She anticipated every subject I might want to discuss--even dog rescue.    

Cheryl, that is an interesting question. I'd have to say Llyweln Fawr from Here Be Dragons because he was supposed to be a secondary character.  The heart of Dragons was supposed to be this--What would it be like for a woman to discover that the father she'd always adored was capable of acts of great cruelty?  When I moved to Wales to research the book (and to learn how to pronounce Welsh), all I knew was that Joanna had been wed to a Welsh prince.  I had no idea how remarkable he was, but I was soon to learn.  It took only about two weeks for him to steal the book right out from under John's nose.  He wasn't content, then, with high-jacking Dragons; he persuaded me it would be a good idea to write about his children and grandchildren, too, and so my Welsh trilogy was born.   He is definitely one of my favorite male characters, and when I was able to bring him into one of my mysteries, Dragon's Lair, it was more fun than I'd had in years, for it was so nice to have him hanging around the house again.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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*Waves*

Hi, Sharon glad you made it. You really have some die-hard fans on this forum.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Hi Sharon!  This is so exciting!

I love the way you speak of your subjects as if they are right there with you.  Does it feel this way? 

Subject: Sharon Kay Penman Q & A
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
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Bonnie, I'd have to say the story comes first, but it is a close call.  I am fine writing about people I don't like--every writer needs a few good villains, after all.  But for my central characters, I have to feel some empathy for them or it won't work.  So that rules out historical figures who do not resonate with me for whatever reason--Wiliam the Conqueror, Edward III, Henry V, as examples.   For 15 years or more, I've been writing about the Angevins, Henry and Eleanor and their Devil's Brood, and after sharing my house, heart, and head with them for so long, it is going to be difficult to say good-bye.  They were definitely all flawed, but such interesting flaws!  They were always doing things they shouldn't do and that they'd regret.  It was like watching one of those Hollywood horror films where the teenagers insist upon going down alone into the basement while the audience is screaming, "No!  Don't go!"   That was me and the Angevins.  Henry, think before you complain about your knights letting you be mocked by  a "lowborn clerk,"  (Thomas Becket)  Eleanor, do you really think rebellion against Henry, a brilliant battle commander, is such a good idea?   Geoffrey, why not skip the tournament this time?  Richard, the Duke of Austria is a prickly, prideful man, one who nurses a grudge.  Why not soothe his ruffled feathers?   John...where to begin with John?   Not that it matters.  They never listen to me, a lowly scribe and a female.  

Subject: Sharon Kay Penman Q & A
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 10
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Yes, Lionheart is my first audio book, Jerelyn, and we are very excited about it.  I expect it to be available in all markets sometime in November--unedited, all 24 cassettes of it!  And they have already bought the sequel, A King's Ransom.  So many readers have asked me about this, so I am delighted to finally have good news.  

No, I would not want to move to Wales or France for good.  But if I hit the lottery, I'd love to have a house in either place, and go back and forth across the Atlantic.  Cary Grant has always been my role model--I read that he had houses in London, California, and a few other places, and never even took a toothbrush when he traveled, for each house had all the clothes, books, etc, that he'd need for his stay.   

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
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Ha! That's exactly what comes across in your writing, their interesting flaws! Makes me want to kiss Eleanor for being such a thickhead!  I will be reading your Welsh Trilogy next because Jerelyn reccommended it (I always listen to her!)  Now another question for you...is there anyone that reads your books that makes you nervous?                ps am I the only one that can't string 2 sentences together because Sharon is reading them?

Subject: Sharon Kay Penman Q & A
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 10
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Yes, it often feels as if they are right here in the room with me--for better or worse!   Of course, I should qualify that.  When I say Eleanor haunts my house, it is "my" Eleanor, not the real one.  It is the character that I've conjured up after doing research and writing so many books about her, my interpretation of what Eleanor would have been like.  This is so intimate and personal a process that I am unable to read other writers' novels about "my" people, at least not the ones who've become close to my heart--Richard III and Edward IV, the Welsh princes, the Angevins.  Because I was not as emotionally invested in the Empress Maude, I could read Elizabeth Chadwick's Lady of the English this spring and enjoyed it very much.  But when Elizabeth does her trilogy about Eleanor, I won't be able to read it.  She understands perfectly, though, says she could not read another novel in which William or John Marshal was the central character.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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Sharon, thank you so much for joining us here.  (Okay, 'fess up, everyone...who checked her bookshelf and wishlist? laugh)

I have to ask about Justin de Quincy.  Is there any hope, any light at the end of any tunnel that more Justin mysteries will be published?  

In Letty's wonderful interview, you mentioned that Black Beauty was your favorite book as a child; mine too!  Do you think that novel influenced your love of and compassion for animals? (I'm thinking of your involvement with Echo)

If you had to write a novel in a different genre, which one would you pick?   Is there another time period that fascinates you?  In other words, what's your second favorite era?

 

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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It is such an honor and thrill to have you join us!

1) Your writing just seems to flow -- whether it be your books, blogs, facebook posts. Do you ever suffer from so-called writers' block? If so, how do you handle it?

2) You have a knack for making very complex and convoluted medieval politics and family relationships understandable to us mere mortals. Do you have family trees and lists of characters and dates plastered all over your walls or do you just know this stuff?

3) How much, if any, attention do you pay to professional reviews? reader reviews (e.g., Amazon)?

4) What do you do for fun?

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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 But when Elizabeth does her trilogy about Eleanor, I won't be able to read it.  She understands perfectly, though, says she could not read another novel in which William or John Marshal was the central character.

This is very interesting and something that makes perfect sense.  I can't read books about Eleanor either because "your Eleanor" has become my Eleanor  But I will be able to read EC's because I trust her interpretations.  Your William Marshall and hers are very similar.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Sharon, this really isn't a question since there's been so many excellent ones answered already but I really like what I see you and a few other authors (like EC and Susan H) doing on FB. You actively participate in the community, talk about your writing, your characters and your research. Or just gabbing about your day or your animal rescue work. Thumbs up for that.

I'm with Jerelyn, EC is the only other author I'm willing to read about Eleanor. I've tried a couple of the recent ones and was sorely disappointed - that is just not the Eleanor we've come to know and love from you. I do have an old 1970's romance with Eleanor as the MC that I'm saving for a rainy day. Stay tuned, but I doubt anything could top the Alan Savage books on her.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 10
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Bonnie, that is an intriguing question.  Any  one who reads my books who'd make me nervous?  Probably a critic for the New York Times.  They savaged the new Alice Hoffman novel about Masada, The Dovekeepers.  I thought it was her best book yet, and when I read the utterly negative, nasty review, I could only wonder if we'd read the same book.  The NY Times hasn't reviewed one of my books since Here Be Dragons, and now I'm glad of it!

Vicky, Justin is currently on life-support, but definitely not dead.  My publisher asked me to focus for now on the historicals as they sell better than the mysteries.  But I am not willing to give up on Justin; I love writing about him, love the freedom I have to play God with the characters who aren't real.  Besides, there is too much of his story left to tell!  And he has supporters out there; he even has his own Facebook page, Fans of Justin de Quincy.  He was thrilled, for he's gotten used to being utterly overshadowed by those pushy Angevins.  So I do plan to continue the series.  

I don't think I'd want to write in any other genre besides historical.  But for a time I did seriously consider doing a novel about the American Revolution.  I did a lot of research and gave it considerable thought, but eventually and reluctantly concluded that there would still be so much research still to do that I'd need nine lives like a cat to be able to pull it off.  

Subject: Sharon Kay Penman Q & A
Date Posted: 11/1/2011 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 10
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Vicky, I forgot to answer your question about Black Beauty.  Yes, I think that book may well have influenced my attitude toward animals, for I was very young when I read it and I was horrified that the horses were treated so inhumanely.  Children find it hard to undestand cruelty.  I don't know if this is true, but I read that Black Beauty inspired the man who founded the ASPCA.  

Deb, I suffered from the world's worst case of Writer's Block for almost six years, after the only copy of my manuscript of Sunne in Splendour was stolen from my car.  It was almost six years before I could write again.  After that, no, thank heaven.

I don't need to use charts or family trees to keep all the characters straight in my head--scary, isn't it?   I do use outlines for the book, though.  I begin by deciding which events must be dramatized, and that gives me an idea of how many chapters I might need in a given book.  I then do outlines of each chapter, though they sometimes breed in the night like coat hangers and I almost always end up with more chapters than I'd expected.  

I used to read all reviews, but in the last few years, I'm less inclined to read bad ones, especially on Amazon, since sometimes the reviews have nothing to do with the book itself.  I think I backed off after getting a one star rating for Devil's Brood because the reviewer was upset with the price of the book.   I can understand that; I was very unhappy when the Kindle editions of Time and Chance and Devil's Brood were so expensive.  But the writer has nothing whatsoever to do with pricing, so I thought it was very unfair to drag down Devil's Brood's over-all rating over a grievance that had nothing to do with the calibur of the book.

Date Posted: 11/1/2011 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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  But the writer has nothing whatsoever to do with pricing, so I thought it was very unfair to drag down Devil's Brood's over-all rating over a grievance that had nothing to do with the calibur of the book. 

The *kindle cops* on Amazon drive a lot of us nuts, and we've tried to argue it with them to no avail. That came up with a review of Elizabeth Loupas' Second Duchess. There is no budging them, no arguing.

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