No matter how you come to it–as Medieval romance, 20th Century fantasy or Dark Age historical–the story of Camelot has such marvelous characters, how can one not be drawn into it? And who best to tell it but King Arthur’s own queen, Guinevere?
When I realized that no one had told the tale from her point of view in an historically accurate framework, I was ecstatic. (This was in 1980 so the women’s voice had not yet been presented strongly.)
Before that Guinevere was seen as the beautiful but dumb twit who ruins the kingdom because she can’t decide between two men. She was a handy scapegoat for authors who needed one, which I thought grossly unfair. If the two most important men of the kingdom loved her and the people she ruled rallied to her side when Arthur had to condemn her to be burned at the stake, she was obviously more than a pretty face. The time had come to give her a second look.
What did your research involve?
All told The Guinevere Trilogy took eleven years of researching and writing, with the research going right up to the day they began printing the last volume.
About half of that time was spent collecting and reading lots of books, pamphlets and articles on Britain’s history–cultural, physical, political and religious. This was before the internet, and I ended up with a huge library, much of which I bought during four research trips to Britain.
Those trips were wonderful. I carried everything in a backpack, stayed in hostels every night, traveled to all the places Gwen and Arthur would have been and hiked over many a Roman, Celtic and Saxon ruin. If I wrote about it, I’ve been there.
At first I thought it would be one book, but it’s such a rich portrait of human nature, it grew into three.
In the beginning (Child of the Northern Spring) there’s the hope and excitement of a young royal couple facing a tremendous challenge together. With time everyone becomes older (Queen of the Summer Stars) and, if not wiser, certainly more mature. And at the end (Guinevere, the Legend in Autumn) there are both the great triumphs and bittersweet tragedies that make Camelot such an enduring legend.
By seeing it in a historical rather than fantasy setting, the reader gets to experience the magic of what real people can achieve, given a big enough dream and lots of good-natured courage.
More about Persia
Persia has been a single mother raising two children (and later, five step-children); a secretary, journalist, author and both writer and host of her own television program. Her Guinevere Trilogy has been translated into seven languages and has recently been re-issued by Sourcebooks. You can reach her through Facebook, her website or at email@example.com.
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