It’s very nice to hear from people who have read books I’ve mentioned here. Cathy wrote to say how much she enjoyed Diana Norman’s A Catch of Consequence. She’s also having trouble getting hold of The Vizard Mask (which hasn’t been published in this country). My copy was a gift from my English parents-in-law. The only copies I’ve seen on this side of the Atlantic are very expensive. It’s really discouraging when there’s a great book out there to read and you can’t get hold of it for less than $50. Cathy wants to know ifVizard Mask is worth that much; my answer would have to be — it would be to me, but I can’t predict if it will be to her.
Cathy also asked:
I was wondering how the new book was coming, and if you could maybe at some point post another excerpt as well as maybe who the main characters will be. I love Nathaniel Bonner and his “Boots”, but any character you write is great and amazingly interesting.
I can tell you that old characters you haven’t seen for a while come back to hunker down in the new novel (the title of which is still being debated, by the way). Jennet comes from Scotland, and Luke (Nathaniel’s son by his early alliance with Giselle Somerville) has got a large role to play. There’s also Simon Ballentyne. You may remember his father, who took Hannah up on his horse on the journey to Carryckcastle in Dawn on a Distant Shore. Nicholas Wilde, who was so involved in apple husbandry (and who married Dolly Smythe at the end of Lake in the Clouds) is also very much in evidence. Of course various army battalions come tramping through, and you’ll spend some time getting to know them on Nut Island. Oh yes, and Kit Wyndham, who is a major in the King’s Rangers. He’s around a bit in this novel, and a lot in the next one.
Hope that’s enough to keep you happy for the moment.
I also had an interesting question from Cindy by email:
My (compound) question is this: What else can I do to ensure that my characters are not too far off the mark, and how much should I worry about it? As far as possible I’ve based my characters on historical fact, but it looks as though a fair amount of extrapolation will be necessary. It seems to me, at this point in my literary development, at least, that one of the worst things that could happen would be for my work to be dismissed as inaccurate.
That’s an excellent question, but one that needs a longer answer. I’ll start to put one together and post it here.
Sara: I’d like to thank you also for the suggestions on reading material. I had read John Sanford a long time ago but only one book. I usually like your recommendations so I went to the library and have read all of his books so far now and loved every one of them. I also got A Catch of Consequence and liked it very much. I am now reading The Bride of the Wilderness which I think you recommended. Thanks for your suggestions and keep them coming for us reading addicts.
Question: How did you pick the pen name *Sara Donati*? It isn’t even close to your real name. I’ve always wondered how a writer chooses different names and it’s probably different for each person.
Thanks again. Anne
Sara, this is a good time to say that I have been meaning to let you know that I read The Magician’s Assistant and I LOVED it. (you are free to fall over in shock now, I’ll wait till you sit up again. You there? OK.) You are right: Ann Patchett is a marvelous storyteller. My favorite aspect of the book was the way Sabine grew to love these people with whom she had initially thought she’d have nothing in common at all. The relationships among the characters in Nebraska are all very complex and fascinating; how much, we wonder, do they really love each other, and how much do they just love the fact that they remind each other of someone else? That shifts throughout the book, and the question never fully goes away. The characters are still moving around in my head, talking to me and to each other. I can wholeheartedly second your recommendation.
Interesting that you mentioned a Catch of Consequence, as I picked it up a while ago when we got the advance copy in. I thought it looked interesting, but now I’ll have to read it!
Rachel! I’m so pleased. Anne — I’ll answer that question when I’ve caught up with the backlog of the ISP mess.