Please welcome Susanna Kearsley, author of The Winter Sea!
by Susanna Kearsley
When I finished writing my first novel, I was working as a museum curator and also editing the annual professional journal of the Ontario Museum Association, two jobs I thoroughly enjoyed, and each of which proved helpful to my writing.
Museum work gave me, not only a methodology for approaching historical research, but the knowledge and experience to know where I should look for certain types of information. Because I’d been involved in cataloguing and caring for documents and artifacts and drawings, I knew just how useful things like that could be when doing research, and I still make frequent use of local archives and museums when I’m researching a novel.
More than that, while working in museums I was privileged to meet fascinating people who were experts in their field, and who were always quick to help me when I asked. Archaeologist Heather Henderson, whom I’d met at an Ontario Museum Association workshop, went out of her way to make sure that my dig in The Shadowy Horses was accurate. And when I needed to know what birds I’d find in Wiltshire that would flock in flight, for my book Mariana, my friend Dr. Jon C. Barlow, then Curator of Ornithology at the Royal Ontario Museum, graciously took time from his busy day to find the answers for me. (He also wrote me the letter of recommendation I needed to get into Oxford’s famed Bodleian Library, so I could read Charles II’s original court documents – a favor for which I’m eternally grateful!)
Because the museum I worked at was a community history museum, I’d learned first-hand the value of the ordinary artifact, and how an everyday object could tell us much more about how people lived than a more ornate, rarely-used “treasure”. My love of social history and my interest in the lives of those whom history has forgotten started there, at that museum.
As for the work I did with the Ontario Museum Association, editing their annual journal with the help of a dedicated communications committee, I found that experience invaluable to my work as a writer. Sitting on the other side of the desk, so to speak, and learning the process of editing (and all the pressures an editor faces that we writers usually never consider) has helped me to not only edit my own work more carefully, but to understand the needs of my own editors and, hopefully, to be a better working partner for them.
I was so very lucky to do what I did, and to meet who I met in my business, and to have such a wealth of experiences, many of which have been useful to me as a writer. Thanks for giving me such a great chance to re-visit a wonderful time of my life!
I have a weakness for a really nice hotel room, with one of those sumptuous bathrooms – all marble and mirrors and fluffy white towels – and a King-sized bed that’s all my own, and a TV remote that I’m fully in charge of! The height of hedonism, for me, is to order up room service and put on pajamas and spend the whole night watching movies. Some hotels will even send up late-night popcorn…now that’s luxury!
About the author
After studying politics and international development at University, Susanna Kearsley worked as a museum curator before turning her hand to writing. Winner of the UK’s Catherine Cookson Fiction prize, Susanna Kearsley’s writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne DuMaurier, and Diana Gabaldon. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader’s Digest, and optioned for film. The Winter Sea was a finalist for both a RITA award and the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and is a nominee for Best Historical Fiction in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Awareds. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario. For more information, please visit http://www.susannakearsley.com/.
I have 2 copies of The Winter Sea to give away!
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