Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview with Mary Hart Perry, author of The Wild Princess

Today we’re chatting with Mary Hart Perry, the author of The Wild Princess which came out this past July.

1) What made you want to write about Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise?
First, I was doing research on the Victorian era, just because I find it so exciting. It's the time when so many of the inventions and ways of doing things, which are in our lives today, first appeared. For the first time we could travel at speeds faster than a horse can run. (Steam locomotives were invented.) For the first time, women were allowed to own property and have jobs to support themselves. Louise was part of this. She insisted on her right to an education as an artist and became a respected sculptress. She also started a Women's Work Society where women could see their crafts and handiwork, rather than being forced to sell their bodies on the street. She was a very forward-looking woman for her time.
2) Which of Victoria’s daughters would you say you’re most like? Are you prim and proper like Beatrice, Helena, Alice, and Victoria, or are you a “wild child” like Louise, chasing after your heart’s desires? Would you act different if you lived back in the Victoria Era?
I'm not sure I'd be as brave as Louise. She was just amazing. But I paint, write, love to go out dancing. So I expect I'd be closer in personality to her than to her sisters. They each had interesting talents, though I believe they were less artistically talented. Only Louise used her gifts to create a career for herself. I don't think her mother ever really came to approve of it, and she never liked the way Louise so easily mixed socially with commoners.
3) Have you seen the movie The Young Victoria? Just curious- it’s one of my favorites!
Oh, yes, I did see The Young Victoria. An amazing film. I'm also a great fan of Downton Abbey, which immediately follows on the Victorian era. Much of what happened during Victoria's reign impacted on the early 20th century. Arguably, the blame for World War I lies with one of Victoria's grandsons, who became the German emperor.
4) What’s the hardest thing about writing historical fiction?
Writing historical fiction requires discipline. It takes concentration and focus to do the necessary research for your story, without becoming distracted by facts that have nothing to do with your plot and characters. Sometimes the research pulls you away and tempts you to follow information you can't use, even though it's fascinating.
5) What’s one of your favorite things you learned while doing research for your novel? Did you do any travelling for research purposes?
I was amazed by what I learned about Queen Victoria. Here was this woman who was so very powerful, who was the figurehead of a nation for over 60 years. Very independent for her time. Being queen was her career. And yet, she didn't believe that other women should have careers or lives outside of the circle of their family. She thought women should focus only on caring for their children, husband, and home. Louise, obviously, felt differently.
6) What message do you want readers to glean from your book?
I want readers to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. Louise faced staggering odds as she tried to make a life for herself based on her own vision and needs. She knew that women were not trained as boys and men were in the arts, but she stood strong and did what she had to do--to become the person she wanted to be. She had little or no support from her family until her art started to become accepted by the art world. So if you have a dream, ladies, stick to your guns, do what you have to do to reach your goal.
7) I’ve heard that The Wild Princess is the first book in a series- how many books will there be? Can you tell us about the next book?
I'd like to complete the series in three books, each featuring one of the princesses. The next book will be about Beatrice. She was the baby of the family, and she also faced challenges in her life. Her mother expected Beatrice to stay at her side, unmarried for as long as the queen lived--which, of course, in that society, meant she'd remain a virgin, never have a lover, and never have children. Today, it's hard to believe that a mother would demand that of a daughter--total loyalty, denying her a family of her own. But in the 19th century it wasn't that unusual for a parent to expect to retain full control of a "child's" life, particularly a girl's, for as long as the parent lived. Beatrice was cooperative for many years. But then she fell in love with one of the most strikingly handsome men in Europe. And...well, then the fireworks started. I can't wait to finish this second book!

 Great having you on the blog today, Mary! Can’t wait to read your upcoming novels.
You can connect with Mary here:

If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up The Wild Princess!

1 comment :

  1. Thanks so much for our visit! I hope your readers will also love The Wild Princess and watch for her little sister's story. All about Beatrice--her love story, adventures, and her struggle to be her own woman. (Not easy when you're the daughter of Queen Victoria!) Hugs, Mary Hart Perry


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