It’s always so lovely to give a warm welcome to Kate Forsyth here at Behind the Pen. Kate’s latest novel, The Blue Rose, was released this week and to celebrate, I asked Kate to share with us a few of her favourites. Over to you Kate!
What is your favourite…and why…
Character from one of your books?
My favourite character is always the one who has most recently inhabited my imagination for months and months on end. This year, it is Viviane de Faitaud who is the heroine of my latest novel, The Blue Rose. She grew up in a chateau in the French countryside (always a dream of mine!), and – like me – loves gardens and birds and animals and French cooking. She travels to Versailles, and becomes a maid-in-waiting to Marie-Antoinette, and then lives through all the mad tumult of the French Revolution. She has to learn to have courage and faith in herself, and stand up for what she believes in, important lessons I think we all struggle to acquire.
Scene from one of your books?
So hard to choose only one! I’m going to say the final scene in The Wild Girl, where Dortchen Wild and Wilhelm Grimm dance together in the snowy forest. I dreamt that scene and it was extraordinarily beautiful and powerful, like a gift from my subconscious. I held it in my mind the whole time I was writing that book and the day I finally got to write it was just wonderful.
Though I also loved writing the scene in Beauty in Thorns when Dante Gabriel Rossetti had the coffin of his dead wife exhumed so that he could retrieve his tattered and worm-eaten manuscript of poetry, buried with her corpse seven years earlier …
And the scene in Bitter Greens when Margherita, my maiden locked in the tower, tries to escape down a spiral staircase only to find the skeletons of eight young women hidden in the basement …
Or the final scene in The Blue Rose when my star-crossed lovers are at last re-united after all their ordeals and difficulties. I loved writing that!
As I said, it’s too hard to choose just one.
Movie of all time?
I love so many. I’m going to go with ‘Charade’, a 1963 film with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant set in Paris.
Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?
‘Precious Bane’ by Mary Webb, the most wonderful book which few people have ever read. I’m a lone evangelist spreading the word about it.
Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?
Handbags! My husband calls me the bag lady …
Drink that you enjoy everyday?
I love my cup of tea first thing in the morning! I drink it in bed while I write in my diary – it’s one of my favourite parts of the day. I have a collection of beautiful fine bone china teacups that I take with me whenever I travel to ensure I can always have a decent cuppa.
Treat you indulge in?
For me, it’s chocolate all the way …
Place to be?
Paris! It was the first place I headed to on my first overseas trip, and I try to return as often as I can. My husband says I write books set there just so that I have a excuse to return …
Person you admire?
Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen.
Season of the year?
The Blue Rose
Moving between Imperial China and France during the ‘Terror’ of the French Revolution and inspired by the true story of the quest for a blood-red rose.
Viviane de Faitaud has grown up alone at the Chateau de Belisama-sur-le-Lac in Brittany, for her father, the Marquis de Ravoisier, lives at the court of Louis XVI in Versailles. After a hailstorm destroys the chateau’s orchards, gardens and fields an ambitious young Welshman, David Stronach, accepts the commission to plan the chateau’s new gardens in the hope of making his name as a landscape designer.
David and Viviane fall in love, but it is an impossible romance. Her father has betrothed her to a rich duke who she is forced to marry and David is hunted from the property. Viviane goes to court and becomes a maid-in-waiting to Marie-Antoinette and a member of the extended royal family. Angry and embittered, David sails away from England with Lord Macartney, the British ambassador, who hopes to open up trade with Imperial China.
In Canton, David hears the story of ‘The Blue Rose’, a Chinese fable of impossible love, and discovers the blood-red rose growing in the wintry garden. He realises that he is still in love with Viviane and must find her.
The Blue Rose
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released on 16th July 2019
More About Kate:
Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and has since sold more than a million copies around the world. Her books include Bitter Greens, a retelling of Rapunzel which won the 2015 American Library Association Award for Best Historical Fiction; The Wild Girl, the story of the forbidden romance behind the Grimm Brothers’ famous fairy tales, which was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013; The Beast’s Garden, a retelling of ‘The Singing, Springing Lark’ set in the underground resistance to Hitler in Nazi Germany; and Beauty in Thorns, a reimagining of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set amongst the passions and tragedies of the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and poets. Recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 15 Novelists, Kate Forsyth has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation’. She has a BA in literature, a MA in creative writing and a doctorate in fairy tale studies, and is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers. Read more about her at: www.kateforsyth.com.au