Friday, September 07, 2012

50th party blog guest - Pamela Hartshorne

I first met Pamela Hartshorne at an M&B lunch a few years ago, when she was wearing this incredibly glamorous red dress and amazing shoes, and… well. She's scarily glamorous and I am a total scruff, so I was feeling pretty intimidated. And then we got talking and discovered a shared love of history and dogs (and we have the same first name), and the next thing I knew we’d become friends :o) I love the warmth and freshness of her Jessica Hart books, and I absolutely loved her timeslip novel (which I had on pre-order for months and - if my editor is reading this, look away now - I skived off and spent the day reading it when it arrived). Oh, yes, and I could mention a mutual interest in nail varnish…

Anyway, over to Pamela:

photograph copyright Kippa Matthews
It’s a huge pleasure to be here on Kate’s blog and help her celebrate the publication of her 50th romance. Few authors I know are as prolific as Kate, and I can only look on, slack-jawed with admiration, at what she has achieved. For, not content with writing 50 romances in a remarkably short space of time, Kate also writes local history books.

An interest in history, and the consequent pleasures and problems of a split identity, is something Kate and I share. In fact, it was history that sent me stumbling into writing in the first place, over 20 years ago, when I was looking for a way to fund a PhD (not a strategy I would recommend, but that’s another story!) and I’ve spent the years since juggling my Jessica Hart romance writing hat with the hat I wear when I’m researching Elizabethan rubbish disposal, blocked sewers and nuisance neighbours (all of which is a lot more interesting than it sounds, I promise).



York rooftops copyright Kippa Matthews
It just so happened that I hit my own 50 book mark in the same year that I turned 50, and it felt like the right moment to take stock. I didn’t want to stop being Jessica Hart, as writing romance is fun (or, let’s be honest, it is when I’m just talking about it, not actually doing it) but I was ready to try something new too. I decided it was time to see if I could put everything I knew about the history of Elizabethan York together with everything I’d learnt about writing stories. The result is Time’s Echo, published by Pan Macmillan on 30th August.

I’m fascinated by the past, by how familiar it is, and yet how strange and different at the same time. Have you ever wandered around an old city like York, where I live, and wished you could travel back in time to see what it was really like? That you could taste the bread and feel the weight of the cloth and hear the sounds of the street as vividly as we experience life in our own time?

The historian in me says that would never be possible, but the writer disagrees. Time’s Echo is a ‘time slip’ in the tradition of Barbara Erskine, playing with the idea of what it would be like if you could go back, if you did know exactly what that would be like. And how that would make you feel …

So here’s a brief blurb:

Ever restless as she tries to outrun her memories of the Boxing Day tsunami, Grace Trewe comes to York to sort out her dead godmother’s affairs. Her stay is meant to be a brief one, but in York she discovers that time can twist and turn in ways she never imagined. Increasingly drawn back into the life of Hawise Aske, whose own life in the Tudor city has uncanny parallels to her own, Grace learns just how powerful – and dangerous – the past can be.

You can find out more about Time’s Echo and read an excerpt on my website www.pamelahartshorne.com. I am slowly building up a Pamela Hartshorne blog http://pamelahartshorne.blogspot.co.uk/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pamela-Hartshorne-Author/220530941392774 and I’d be really happy to see anyone there if you’d care to stop by!

As my contribution to Kate’s blog party, I’ve brought along a copy of Time’s Echo to give away. I love that quote at the beginning of The Go-Between, about the past being a foreign country, so here’s my question:

If you could choose to go back in time, which historical figure would you like to meet?

I’ll pick a winner from any answers in the comments below, using my cutting edge eeny-meeny-miny-mo system. In the meantime, congratulations to Kate, and here’s to 50 more books, whenever they’re set!

24 comments:

Kate Hardy said...

I'd love to meet John Donne. Because of the poetry. And the fact that he battled everything to marry the woman he loved, even changing his religion (and apostasy, in his era, was scary stuff).

I'd also like to meet Aphra Behn (what an amazing life she led), Socrates, and - actually, I'd better shut up, because I'm outing myself as super-super-super nerdy :) (But imagine a dinner party with that lot. You'd be talking until 4am...)

Nell Dixon said...

This is a tricky one. So many people I'd like to meet. I'd like to meet the actress,Tallulah Bankhead. She was quite the one in her day and Bette Davis. I have a bit of a nerd girl thing for powerful female actresses particularly when they come with a fearsome or mixed reputation.

Pamela Hartshorne said...

Maybe I should have made the question: which historical figures would you invite to a dinner party? Then it wouldn't be so hard to choose one!

I'm with you, Kate - there's something very sexy about John Donne - but didn't know about him changing his religion. You see, you learn something new every day!

There are lots of women I'd like to meet from the past too , Nell. It was so much harder for women to get into the records that if they did, you know they had to be very powerful and special. Eleanor of Acquitaine, anyone?

Laney4 said...

I have never felt a need to meet a "famous person". I think I would like to meet (be careful what you wish for) a courtesan! I bet she would have some incredible stories to tell (and maybe some ... er ... tricks up her sleeve, LOL)!

Maria Mohan said...

If I could go back in time I'd love to meet the Bronte sisters. I'm fascinated by them.

I remember one of my history teachers recommended us to read historical fiction set in the period we were studying. I found that to be a great idea. I love historical fiction,always have. It's very different.

PrincessFiona01 said...

I'd like to invite all the Golden Age Mystery authors for dinner, Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L Sayers. Would make for interesting and diverse conversations given the differing backgrounds and even religious views. Then I'd add to the mix Mary Burchell, Violet Winspear, Roberta Leigh and Ida Pollock. And JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis for fireworks.

Eli Yanti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Yanti said...

i think i would like to invite all great inventor : light, printer, computer, etc :)

Caroline said...

Hi Pamela - great blog. I've really been enjoying Kate's 50th book blog party - and as someone who has your book ;o) I *know* whoever wins a copy will be so lucky! It's a fabulously written book, I feel as if I've gone back in time!

If I could go back in time there would be SO many people I would love to have met. But to pick one...well I think it would have to be Jesus - how fascinating would that be! Caroline x

Pamela Hartshorne said...

All those crime writers together would make for a fabulous dinner party!

I'm inclined to agree with Laney4, too. On the whole I'm much more interested in the lives of ordinary people in the past than in kings and queens but then again, you can be ordinary and remarkable at the same time, like the inventors Eli talks about.

And Caroline, thank you! So glad you've enjoyed Time's Echo.

Kate Hardy said...

I'd love to meet my great-great-grandparents. I want to know where the writing gene comes from in my family. My mum definitely had it (as does my daughter) and I wouldn't be surprised if my grandmother did. But nobody can tell me anything further back, and that's where records fall down :(

Pamela Hartshorne said...

My great-great aunt, Sophia Hartshorne, wrote a book called Enshrined Hearts, about the medieval practice of burying hearts separately from the rest of the bodies - at least, I think that's what it was about, have never been able to read it! Not what you'd call a gripping read. And my great-great-great grandfather was a very bad medievalist who (mis)transcribed various documents for his Medieval Tracts. So I guess I know where my history loving gene comes from, if not the writing one.

bn100 said...

I'd like to meet Jane Austen.

Tiffany K said...

Going back in time would be a hard one for me to answer because what if you changed the future? If there was zero chance of changing the future I'd like to go meet King Henry VIII. I learned a lot about him in history class and was so interested I actually kept looking things up about him once I was out of class.

Much like the last person who posted though if I could meet Jane Austen I would love too.

Lori x said...

Like others have said how do you choose one historical figure? After some thought and deliberation I think I would like to meet Matthew Hopkins The Witch Finder General as that would REALLY help with my research. Although it could be a bit risky...

Pamela Hartshorne said...

Oh, YES! I'd love to meet Jane Austen, although I might be too shy to say anything to her!

Matthew Hopkins ... not so much! Good luck with the research, Lori.

Henriette said...

I'd like to meet Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Living near not one but two of his famous bridges, it's hard not to be fascinated by his extraordinary vision. Also, it would be an opportunity for me to ask all sorts of nosy questions about him, some of them on behalf of my daughter who shares my admiration for the great man.

Pamela Hartshorne said...

I come from a family of civil engineers, Henriette, so I'd be interested to meet Brunel too - if only to see whether he was like all the other civil engineers I know!

Jan Jones said...

It would have to be Jane Austen for me. I'd love a chance to just chat to her over tea and cake.

Elissa Graham said...

Pamela, could it be a block party instead of a dinner party? That way I could invite even more people! But if it were whittled down to just a few then I'd choose Robert Burns (Scottish accent, writes poetry AND a ladies man = swoon), Jane Austen (of course) Mary Queen of Scots (extremely distant relative of mine) Vincent Van Gogh and William Shakespeare.

Pamela Hartshorne said...

Wow, that would be quite a party, Elissa! Can I be a guest too?

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela, i would love to meet abraham lincoln:).arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

Pamela Hartshorne said...

Yes, indeed. It would be amazing to meet Abraham Lincoln and others with such a strong vision for the future.

Kate Hardy said...

First name drawn from the hat for ‘Time’s Echo’ - Tiffany K. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part!