Please join me in welcoming Michele Kallio this morning. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
When did you start writing?
I wrote a few short stories in high school, but I didn’t get serious about writing until the story idea for Betrayal began buzzing around inside my head in 1999.
What did you do with your earliest efforts?
I am afraid they are lost. I did show them to family members and teachers, but I guess I never thought to keep them. I have the original notebooks for Betrayal, three large spiralbound notebooks which I like to re-read and I am continually amazed as how much the story has evolved.
What made you choose to write in the genre/time period you write in?
I have had a life long fascination with Henry the Eighth and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. It is hard to explain except to say that from the moment I first read about them in high school I have wanted to learn more about their lives and the Tudor Age in general. So it seemed a natural progression to go from reading about them to writing about them.
What do you enjoy most about writing? What do you dislike?
I love character development, the piecing together of physical attributes and temperment. I especially enjoy writing character biographies, breathing life into these flat two-dimensional people, discovering their likes and dislikes, their ambitions and insecurities.
I would say the part of writing that I dislike most would be the grammatical edits, the search for missing commas and semi-colons. I much prefer the act of creation to that of correction.
Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you learned along the way?
Mmm there were a few surprises along the way, but the most memorable concerns George Boleyn, the Viscount Rochford, brother to Anne Boleyn. Historians have long held that George fathered no children. In fact, they site his inquisition post-mortem which names his sister Mary as his heir, as proof, but then how do we explain, the George Boleyn who became the dean of Lichfield Cathedral and was recognized by Queen Elizabeth as her cousin? Stanford Lehmberg’s wonderful article on George Boleyn, the younger on the website for The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography makes very interesting reading.
How do you get your ideas? Where do you look for your ideas?
Betrayal grew out of a short story I wrote for a creative writing course. I was fascinated by the fact that a nameless maidservant had given testimony against Anne Boleyn that was not used in her trial and I wondered what the story would be like if it were told from her perspective. I became intrigued with the idea of writing the story as a time-slip, in which the modern day character, Lydia Hamilton, is haunted by dreams that seem to be another woman’s life, that of Elisabeth Beeton, a body-servant to Anne Boleyn. Lydia flees to her mother’s ancestral home in Devon, England when a mysterious book arrives in the mail, promising to reveal the secrets behind her nightmares. Betrayal alternates between Lydia’s modern day life and Elisabeth’s life in 16th century England.
Tell us a little about your current project.
I am currently working on a sequel to Betrayal, again to be told in alternating chapters of two time-periods – modern day England following Lydia’s daugther, Kate who tries to solve the mystery of Elisabeth’s missing daughter, Mary-Elizabeth, a spy at the Court of the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots.
What’s up next for you?
I still want to write a novel about the Acadian Expulsion from Nova Scotia in 1755. I want to follow a family torn apart by this terrible event and to discover how they coped , to see if they were ever able to re-connect. As I live in New Brunswick, Canada where there is a large population of French-speaking Acadians, their story has always fascinated me.
But, for the forseeable future Beyond Betrayal will be my main point of interest. I am a voracious reader and I look forward to delving deeply into the intrigues and counter intrigues of Mary, Queen of Scots’ Court in exile.
Thank you Maria, for inviting me to do this interview.
You can find her at her website: www.michelekallio.com