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Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog Tour: Interview with Lisa Klein, Author of Cate of the Lost Colony & Giveaway!

My guest today is author Lisa Klein.  Her latest book, Cate of the Lost Colony, releases October 12th of this month. I had the privilege of talking to Lisa about the book and Bloomsbury sent along a finished copy with her to raffle off!  Details below.

 LISA KLEIN: I am a lifelong reader and lover of words who said to myself one day, "Maybe I can write a novel." So in 2001 I sat down and began writing Ophelia, which was published in 2006. By that time I had completed a Ph.D., taught English literature as an assistant professor for nine years, married, had two sons, and finished two nonfiction books. Oh, and read more books than I can possibly recall. But one of my favorites growing up was Gone With the Wind, which I read seven times as a teenager. Thirty-odd years later, I wrote my own Civil War novel, Two Girls of Gettysburg. And the high-school parody of Macbeth that won our class first place in the homecoming skit competition eventually morphed into more sophisticated retellings of Shakespeare: Ophelia and Lady Macbeth's Daughter. I love doing research for my novels and retelling history and Shakespeare's plays from a fresh, female-centered perspective. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband, two teenage sons, a dog and a cat. You can visit my website at www.authorlisaklein.com.


1. Cate of the Lost Colony is a novel of historical fiction. Catherine Archer, one of the queen's maids, is banished to Virginia by a jealous Queen Elizabeth after a dalliance with Sir Walter Raleigh. Can you tell us a little more and perhaps share a favorite line, scene or passage from the book?

It’s a story about survival and also a love story, with Cate having to make some very brave and difficult choices in the face of great uncertainty. She herself is an explorer of a new and strange culture, as the very first English women in North America undoubtedly were. My favorite scenes are the big, emotional ones—I get so excited writing them! My very favorite line is the last line on p. 318. If I quote it, though, I’ll give away the ending!

2. What three words would you say best describe Cate?

Adventurous, idealistic, and impetuous. And let me add often lonely, because that longing for connection is a motivating force for her. I know—that’s way more than three words!

3.    As one of the great unsolved mysteries of North America, Roanoke's so-called "Lost Colony" consisted of 90 men, 17 women and nine children. It was founded in 1587 and discovered to be missing in 1590, save for the word "Croatan" carved on a post. In preparation for writing Cate of the Lost Colony, did you come across any particularly interesting bits of research that you can share with us today? 

Yes, that carving on the post really intrigued me. It could mean that the colonists went to Croatoan Island and were living safely there. But unfortunately John White was not able to land there and verify this. The carving was unfinished, which either meant that they figured the first few letters were enough to identify their location, or that they carved it “on the run” –while being attacked, and it was more of a distress signal, and perhaps few or none of them made it to safety.

Another thing that amazed me was how small the fort on Roanoke Island was, and—made out of dirt and surrounded by a ditch—how insubstantial it would seem to someone used to an English tower or walled city. The conditions on board ships that crossed the Atlantic, and their surprising small size, meant that a voyage to the unknown New World was like blasting off into space in a small capsule, but even more dangerous and uncertain.

4. What do you think the hardest aspect would've been for the colonists trying to make their way in the New World?

Everything! But number one, I’d say, was feeding themselves. Many of the colonists were gentlemen or city folk who knew nothing about farming or hunting and disdained physical labor. And they arrived too late in the year to get a decent harvest to last the winter, so they started off in bad shape. And there was also a drought and scarcity of food in Virginia, so the natives had little to share or trade. Bad timing all around.

5. You write a lot of "Shakespearean fan fiction" if you will, known for both a high level of historical accuracy and a strong spirit of the times. What do you think William Shakespeare would think if he was alive and able to read books like Ophelia or Lady Macbeth's Daughter?

Great question! I ask myself this all the time. If there is an afterlife, I hope it will be one in which I get to meet Shakespeare and ask him. I have such respect for Shakespeare’s work, and try to be faithful to the spirit of his plays, that I like to think he would read my books and appreciate them. Just maybe he would say, “Methinks this is a fine tale. Would that I had penned it myself,” (trans: “Good story; wish I’d written it.”)

7. What can we look forward to from you next? Any upcoming projects in the works?

Next up is another Shakespeare-themed book, a comedy this time. I can’t say much about it, because I’m totally making it up as I go, and my Will Shakespeare character has a mind of his own.

Lady Macbeth's DaughterOpheliaTwo Girls of Gettysburg



by Lisa Klein

Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens—until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists—and Cate—increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love—kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.

Official Rules:
1.You must be 13 year or older to enter.
2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address only. 
3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on October 19th 2010. 
4. Once contacted, winners have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.


Orchid said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Great interview.

Audra said...

Great interview -- thank you for the giveaway. The book premise is great -- I'm a sucker for anything set in Roanoke.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A wonderful interview. Gone With the Wind is my favorite book of all times. The Civil War is one of my favorite periods in history. I definitely must check out your books.


cleemckenzie said...

Your books hit on just about every literary and historical character I'd love to know more about.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Thanks for the contest and the great interview! this book looks amazing!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome post!
Thank you so much for hosting this great giveaway :)

Dwayne said...

Too bad it's US only - sounds awesome, this book.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, my friend. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Sarah said...

I read Ophelia a while ago and loved it! I've been wanting to read Lady Macbeth's Daughter since, and I'm excited about his new book. I love stories about the Lost Colony! Thanks for the chance to win this!! :D

linaramz said...

I really liked the interview. This sounds like a really interesting read.

clenna said...

I love historical fiction. This sounds great.

clenna at aol dot com

Mom2anutball said...

I'd love to read this! Great interview!

fineinsanity {at} live {dot} com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read! Awesome interview