I am beyond thrilled to announce that I’ve been accepted into a week-long Master Class/writing retreat taught by New York Times best-selling author Deborah Harkness! It is at the beginning of March and will be held at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island, which is a few hours outside of Seattle, Washington.
Some of you may remember how much I loved Deborah’s first book A Discovery of Witches, which I reviewed here. I also really enjoyed its sequel, Shadow of Night, but never got around to reviewing it. (The final book in the trilogy, Book of Life, comes out July 15.) Beyond a love of her writing, I consider Deborah a mentor because she’s a historian, and more importantly, she inspired me to want to get my master’s/PhD in history. (I have the school and program picked out. I just need to money to move, be able to pay tuition and support myself as a full-time student.) Deborah’s writing proves that having a strong background in history really can make your historical fiction better, but at the same time doesn’t have to make it dry – her books are anything but!
So what am I going to do during the retreat? I haven’t received the particulars yet, but I know there will be lectures, one-on-one time with the instructor, as well as time for writing. I’m taking the old, red editing pen to my first draft of the final book of my Guinevere trilogy. Right now, it’s missing chapters toward the end (I know what they will be, I just haven’t written them) and the new (second) beginning doesn’t match the middle, so the middle needs to change. Add that on top of all the normal editing and you can see why I need a week to dedicate to hacking it to bits and putting it back together again!
But beyond Book 3, I’m really hoping to learn all I can from Deborah. Basically, I’m going to sit at her feet and soak up all I can, whether it’s history or writing. I’m hoping to pick up some tips and tricks that I can use both for the four books I have in flight and those yet formed. I’m hoping to get inspiration for future books or at least ideas for new places to look. I’ve got two additional books in my head, as well as a few half-baked ideas, but I’m always looking for more. This is a life-long career, after all.
I plan to blog while I’m there if time permits. If not, I’ll certainly do a wrap-up post after it’s over and share what I can of what I learned. I am so humbled to have been chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Congratulations! It sounds like a great opportunity. And Whidbey is a treasure.
Thanks, Petrea! I’m so excited!
How exciting! It’ll be interesting to see what she says, given that most of her life has been dedicated to academic history. I do agree that she managed to subtly use her historianship to add shade to Discovery of Witches without doing that awful thing some history buffs do of ramming it down your throat so hard that you forget the story. I wasn’t so keen on her second book, despite (or because?) I’m reasonably versed with the historical characters therein. I think I like historical books better when they’re inspired by the past, rather than a dramatisation of recorded events/characters, but I guess that’s personal taste. Have fun 🙂
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