Paulette Kennedy grew up where people drink sweet tea and put gravy on everything. She now lives and writes in Southern California. Her genres of choice are dark historical fiction and quiet Gothic horror. Her current work-in-progress is a southern Gothic set in the Ozarks during the Great Depression.
“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”Lisa See
It’s Sunday. Do you know what that means? It’s the day 2020’s Five Question Interviews go LIVE here on chocolateandpaper.com! Let’s read, learn and connect with this year’s fantastic bunch of writers, editors and agents. Up first: author Paulette Kennedy.
Paulette’s Advice for Writers
My advice to writers is to read everything–both inside and outside your preferred genre, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Another aspect that fascinates me about the Victorians is how misunderstood they are nowadays, both socially and sexually. There was much more progressive thought toward sexuality and gender than people generally give the Victorians credit for. Some of the most erotically charged poetry and prose was created during the era, and romantic love as the basis for marriage was celebrated and encouraged. Queen Victoria was very much in love with her husband Prince Albert, and her influence can be seen not only in the elaborate weddings we still have today, but in the decidedly romantic way in which she mourned him. This created a cultural revolution around funerary customs, which in turn helped to birth the Spiritualist movement and a fascination with the occult. There’s so much creative fodder in the Victorian Era for a writer to relish. I love all historical eras, but the mid-to-late 19th century is my Pandora’s Box.
John Adams often fades into the background compared to the rest of our early leaders, but he had much more integrity than many of the flashier figures of the American Revolution. He was a reluctant politician who much preferred being a farmer. His decision-making process had nothing to do with improving his self-image and popularity. Instead, as an attorney, he took a measured and just view of government policy. In the early days of the Revolution, he even defended British soldiers in court after the Boston Massacre.
I think, above all, our job as writers of historical fiction is to make the past and the people we are writing about relatable. Historical figures as characters aren’t always going to be likeable, but they are human. That human complexity is what makes them intriguing.
Check back next week to meet debut author John Taylor. Keep an eye out for future Five Question Interviews every Sunday from now till the end of June 2020.