Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guest Post-C.W. Gortner

C.W. Gortner sent me a copy of his historical fiction novel entitled The Last Queen to review and has agreed to a guest post. Be sure to check out my review post for information on the book and author and my review. Now, to the good part-Mr. Gortner's post.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve written stories but I didn’t start out wanting to be a professional writer. Though writing was always an integral part of my life, I embarked on a career in fashion marketing and then worked in social services before I wrote my first historical novel in my late twenties. With that book, I got my first agent and was submitted to several publishers but no one made an offer. A few years later I took a trip to Spain, where I was raised, and I visited Granada, where the Catholic monarchs are entombed. I’d been to Granada before as a child, and as I gazed upon Juana of Castile’s effigy, I remembered how utterly fascinated I’d been by her story. I thought, wouldn’t she be interesting to write about? That is how my first published novel, The Last Queen, began. Still, even after it was finished, no one wanted the book. I had three subsequent agents and over 200 rejections before my current agent found me. She successfully sold The Last Queen and my new novel The Confessions of Catherine de Medici to Ballantine Books via auction. It was one of the most exciting and unexpected experiences I’d ever had— for a writer who has struggled as much as I did, it was a dream come true.

I write historical fiction because I believe the past is very much part of our present and by understanding where we come from we can help guide where we’ll go. Readers have written to me to tell me how much they enjoy my books and how it opened them up to the possibility that history can be exciting; many also mention how much they disliked studying history in school. The truth is, often the way history is taught in the classroom can be tedious; what we should remember is that history is made by people like you and me, with emotions and triumphs and tragedies— their stories are what makes history compelling. I believe historical fiction is popular because it gives us a sensory glimpse into the past, beyond the dry recitation of facts, into lives both vastly different and yet also similar to our own.

I read voraciously in my spare time, and of course my favorite genre is historical fiction. I read between 20 and 40 novels a year. I enjoy novels set in periods different from those I write about, but not exclusively; and I enjoy novels that take a unique approach to characters. I don’t mind reading about the ever-popular characters— Elizabeth I, for example, can always be interesting— as long as the story offers a fresh perspective. I have too many favorite authors to list here!

Thank you for spending this time with me! If you want to find out more about me and my work, or invite me to chat in person, via Skype, or speaker phone with your reader group, please visit my website at: You can also visit my blog at:

Upcoming Appearances:

Thursday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Bookshop West Portal
80 W Portal Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94127

Launch party for The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. Open to the public. Wine, cheese and cake will be served.

Wednesday, June 30 at 7:00 p.m.
A Great Good Place for Books
86120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 339-8210

Talk and Signing for The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. Open to the public.

Saturday, August 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA, 94925
(800) 999-7909

Talk and Signing for The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. Open to the public.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post! I am looking forward to reading this author's books.....