Desert Isle Keeper
Child of the Northern Spring
I discovered Persia Woolley by accident about six years ago, before I even dreamed of writing a novel of my own. A small notice appeared in the local Valley Press announcing publication of a trilogy of historical novels published by Poseidon Press. I went out and bought the first book, Guinevere trilogy, and it took my breath away.
Fellow readers, Persia Woolley is one fine writer. Child of the Northern Spring is the story of King Arthur’s queen, Guinevere, told from her point of view. It was an eye-opener in more ways than one.
First, I fell in love with Woolley’s extraordinarily poetic use of language. I am a very, very picky reader. I hate overwritten, purple, pretentious, self-conscious, mannered, and just plain awkward prose. I like my books to wring my heart emotionally and punch me in the solar plexus intellectually and aesthetically. I admire Willa Cather, William Saroyan, Ivan Doig. And Persia Woolley. There is nothing more stirring than high emotion couched in exquisite language.
Next I admired Woolley’s treatment of Guinevere’s character. She is first a woman, then a queen. First she worries about whether the cook has enough food for a state banquet, then she extends a formal welcome as the high queen. I was captivated.
Then there’s the rich historic detail — right down to the buckles on Guinevere’s shoes. It pulled me into that world of ancient Britain and made it so real I had difficulty returning to the 20th century. I understood the late-Roman culture of Guinevere and the tribal composition of Anglo Saxon Britain, and I congratulated Arthur’s effort to weld the two worlds into one kingdom complete with round table, knights, and quests. The bustle and enterprise of Camelot enchanted me, along with the behind-the-scenes view of everything, large and small, through Guinevere’s eyes.
Lancelot, through Guinevere’s eyes, was a show-stopper. I’m hard to please when it comes to love stories. So many writers go for the sensational, and it doesn’t ring true. Woolley reminded me that ecstasy, and heartbreak, are simple, human things.
When Lancelot and Guinevere parted, I was a basketcase. I’d reveled in the their joy in finding each other; I cried and cried at their pain.GuiniGuinevere trilogy
Naturally, I couldn’t wait for the second book, Queen of the Summer Stars. That, too, was sheer enchantment created by a master’s hand, as was the third volume, Guinevere, The Legend in Autumn. This last was simply a heartbreakingly beautiful book.
By this time I had started writing my own historical romance, and my admiration for Persia Woolley grew as I bashed through eight rewrites. By the eleventh revision, I was in awe of Woolley’s talent and craftsmanship.
And then. Writer’s Digest published her how-to book, How To Write and Sell Historical Fiction. Whether you’re an aspiring historical fiction writer or a multipublished author, this book will speak to you. She deals with the nitty gritty of starting a story, goes on to how to finish and polish a novel, and what to do next. She talks about bestsellers and movie rights, agents and the pressures editors and publishers are all working under these days. She discusses manageable work habits, editing skills, and the joy and sorry of the whole process from beginning to end.
Ms. Woolley’s Guinevere trilogy remains in print through Pocket Books. In addition, she has penned two other non-fiction works. She is currently at work on a new historical trilogy entitled Sierra.