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KxBurns
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Questions for the Author

We are thrilled to have Kate Morton joining us, starting on January 14th, to discuss The House at Riverton.

Please post your questions for Kate here!
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dhaupt
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Re: Questions for the Author

Kate, I first just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your book. It was one that I couldn't put down once I started reading it. I am waiting for your next novel with bated breath. I enjoyed reading about the way servants and the owners interacted. I usually like the ending spelled out for me but in this book there was enough information to form one.
I think your telling the story from the prospective of a 98 year old woman was unique and I wondered since you're obviously a young woman what did you pull her out of it didn't come experience.
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lilfisha
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Re: Questions for the Author

I am thoroughly enjoying this book and having a hard time taking time to discuss it chapter by chapter. I am also enjoying the insights of the other readers. This question is really for anybody that can explain it to me. On page 143 the paragraph under the icon, about waking up earlier than usual doesn't make sense. She says she wakes up earlier than usual and that the sun stroked her face. Next she says it is nice to wake up with the light rather than the dark. I am confused.
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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the Author


KxBurns wrote:
We are thrilled to have Kate Morton joining us, starting on January 14th, to discuss The House at Riverton.

Please post your questions for Kate here!


Karen, just a basic question. I have so enjoyed the B&N club with authors here month long and they talked to us about things as we went along. I remember Lisa See, enjoying our thoughts as we went and commenting to those parts of the book and as she said "biting her lip" not to say too much when we all got mad at one of her characters but were not done with the book yet lol. So my question is here, will we be posing questions to the author about things in general and only about things in the book that are posted threads so far, or would you advise not to read or post in here to her until we are through with the book so there is no worry of things slipping out? I am thinking if I am not through that maybe I shouldnt join this part with her here, tho thats what I like the best but I do not want to spoil the book for myself either, if its anything goes on the questions. Know what I mean? If she is going to be here all month, I guess I can wait for this thread until I am through and then catch up. I am just not sure how we are doing this part and thought it would be best to ask before she arrives. Thanks, Vivian
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Questions for the Author

Welcome to the Riverton board Ms Morton - I am a Brit living in Hertfordshire and have found your book very enjoyable indeed. You held the suspense until the very last page - a great achievement! I was, however, disappointed that you did not make more of the Suffrage issue having introduced it into The Nursery chapter and would have like to have seen a mention of Emmeline Pankhurst's involvement in the White Feather Campaign, as well as something about the poster and propaganda campaign which harassed men like Alfred to enlist. Hannah would have made a good member of the Kensington based London Society for Women's Suffrage and a Josephine Butler connection could have been made for Emmeline!:smileyhappy:

I have a couple of questions:-

1) Did you live in Essex while you were in the UK? I am assuming that 'Saffron' was Saffron Walden and have been trying to track down which 'mansion' in Essex you might have used as your basis for Riverton and wondered if it was Rivenhall Place? Or was it composite of Rivenhall, Copped Hall (which had a serious fire in 1917) and The Braxteds - which had a statue of Eros and Psyche in the garden, and a political connection:-

Rivenhall Place has a quite a relevant history, as you will probably know, including a servant who had an illegitimate child, an American owner and a connection with Kathy O'Shea, mistress of Parnell, the Irish politician - these things seemed to fit Riverton's 'bill' the best: -

http://www.rivenhall.org.uk/default.asp?pg=rivenhall+place.

But I am probably wrong with all three of my guesses:smileyhappy:.

2) There is a phrase somewhere in HaR in relation to Alfred having changed after the war where Grace says that he had been reading books about the working class etc. and I wonder if the book you had in mind here was The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressell, which I know from my Trade Unionist father was a very popular novel which explained Marxist theory and was widely read by working men of the period.

3) There is some unusual grammar in HaR like truncated sentences and sentences without verbs. Did you use this rather unusual style to emphasise Grace's age and the fact that she wasn't now as 'sharp' as she had been or that her health/memory was failing? I am only 75 years of age but I now find it harder to compose things grammatically, and I get lazy about doing it, so it occurred to me that your older friends might have suggested this way of narrating Grace's story.

BTW you may like to know (if you don't already) that the Pan edition of the UK edition of HaR is printed on very poor paper - I have torn many pages whilst reading it:smileysad:.

Good Luck with any future novels you have planned!
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Maria_H
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Re: Questions for the Author

It's a delight to have Kate Morton join us!

She has graciously committed to three weeks of discussion (1-14 to 2-1). Do be mindful that this message board is immensely popular, so Kate may not be able to address everything that has been dissected in the threads. Of course, that should not inhibit you from asking those burning questions!

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let's get back to the discussion!


Looking for a discussion? Find a Book Club for all your interests!


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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the Author

[ Edited ]

Maria_H wrote:
It's a delight to have Kate Morton join us!

She has graciously committed to three weeks of discussion (1-14 to 2-1). Do be mindful that this message board is immensely popular, so Kate may not be able to address everything that has been dissected in the threads. Of course, that should not inhibit you from asking those burning questions!

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let's get back to the discussion!


ok, so be sure to be finished reading first right? CAll me a dummy, I am just asking for me! lol. And yeah, I would hope she wouldnt dissect it the way we have on the threads, she would never get through all the posts, I just meant, we really need to have the book read by then so that all questions that may divulge later parts of the book wont be a surprise right?
Also that would keep from posting the same question more than once wouldnt it?

Message Edited by vivico1 on 01-10-2008 02:22 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Maria_H
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Re: Questions for the Author


vivico1 wrote: ok, so be sure to be finished reading first right?

That is certainly a fair question. But at this point, I don't think we can expect everyone, including Kate to keep from talking about the book in its entirety. We are already well into Part 2 and threads for Part 3 will be posted next week. So if it's that important, it may be best to stay away until you are done.


Looking for a discussion? Find a Book Club for all your interests!


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vivico1
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Re: Questions for the Author


Maria_H wrote:

vivico1 wrote: ok, so be sure to be finished reading first right?

That is certainly a fair question. But at this point, I don't think we can expect everyone, including Kate to keep from talking about the book in its entirety. We are already well into Part 2 and threads for Part 3 will be posted next week. So if it's that important, it may be best to stay away until you are done.


sounds reasonable and fair :smileywink: and by then, maybe we will all be done reading too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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MalindaC
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Re: Questions for the Author

[ Edited ]
Any thoughts about a sequel? The characters are so engaging and there seems to be quite a few story lines that could be explored further. Even with characters that are barely mentioned, such as Ursula's grandmother.

Message Edited by MalindaC on 01-10-2008 04:22 PM
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KxBurns
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Re: Questions for the Author


vivico1 wrote:
Karen, just a basic question. I have so enjoyed the B&N club with authors here month long and they talked to us about things as we went along. I remember Lisa See, enjoying our thoughts as we went and commenting to those parts of the book and as she said "biting her lip" not to say too much when we all got mad at one of her characters but were not done with the book yet lol. So my question is here, will we be posing questions to the author about things in general and only about things in the book that are posted threads so far, or would you advise not to read or post in here to her until we are through with the book so there is no worry of things slipping out? I am thinking if I am not through that maybe I shouldnt join this part with her here, tho thats what I like the best but I do not want to spoil the book for myself either, if its anything goes on the questions. Know what I mean? If she is going to be here all month, I guess I can wait for this thread until I am through and then catch up. I am just not sure how we are doing this part and thought it would be best to ask before she arrives. Thanks, Vivian




I believe Maria has answered your question but I wanted to add that the threads for the remaining chapters (all of Part Four) will be posted on Monday so that our time with Kate Morton coincides with our discussion of that section of the book. I think this thread should be open for readers to ask the author any questions they might have related to any part of the book, all the way through the end.

So those of you who are still reading might want to hold off on joining us until you've finished, although that is totally up to you!

Karen
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nadine1
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Re: Questions for the Author



MalindaC wrote:
Any thoughts about a sequel? The characters are so engaging and there seems to be quite a few story lines that could be explored further. Even with characters that are barely mentioned, such as Ursula's grandmother.

Message Edited by MalindaC on 01-10-2008 04:22 PM




I would also like to know more about some of the minor characters' backgrounds, such as:

Mrs. Townsend - Where's her husband? Why is she so fond of Grace's mother?
Mr. Frederick's wife - How did she meet Mr. Frederick? Under what circumsances did they decide to get married?
Marcus' father - How did he meet Ruth? Did he ever marry Ruth?
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nhawkinsII
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Re: Questions for the Author

1. Why was it necessary to keep Grace's father a secret for much of the story? It was obvious Grace's mother had "protected" her daughter, but I found it unusual Grace could work at Riverton with her mother's peers and not learn the secret.

Also, Grace was intelligent and independent. It would seem (at least to me) that she would have pieced certain events together before her Mother's funeral...(Mr. Frederick's shock at seeing her in the balcony the day he arrived at Riverton for a summer visit, various comments by the service staff about her mother, Emmeline's film director's comment about the third sister are a few examples.) Surely she should have been a little suspicious.

2. Why do we never learn the name of Grace's mother nor really learn how or why she left Riverton?

3. Are we to believe Hannah had pieced together the secret of Grace's father as Grace herself believed? Is that why she gave the Grace the locket and left her a key as a "ticket to a new life" or did she simply wish to reward Grace for faithful service?

I enjoyed Grace's story...the historical timeline woven into the events made a very realistic setting for the lives at Riverton. Hannah's letter actually was a very effective conclusion to the secrets of Riverton.
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bookhunter
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Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: Questions for the Author

Ms. Morton,

Thank you for the opportunity to read your book before publication. It has been very rewarding to read and discuss it with others, and I have been looking forward to hearing from you.

This book must have taken a tremendous amount of research. This may be odd, but one of my favorite parts of the book is your Author's Note where you detail the many sources and influences on the book!

I know that I have read from an "American" perspective, and have had to think about the differences in culture--not just in the year, but the place. What I love about books is that they open up these other cultures to me.

Was it a challenge for you, an Australian, to put yourself in a "British" mindset? Which was harder, creating the time period or the physical setting? How much time did the research for this take?

And, finally, do you think all future books will be similar settings because this is an era/place you love, or are you now sick of it and ready to write something in a very different setting?

(I know...lots of questions!)

Thanks again,
Ann, bookhunter
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daylilies1126
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for the Author

Hi, Ms. Morton! I completely enjoyed reading your novel! I love novels where I can clearly picture all of the action as it's written. I loved Gosford Park, and this novel gives that same kind of vibe. The way that everything was written in a series of flashbacks made it even better. I took great delight in guessing what was going to happen or what had happened, depending on how you look at it. Sometimes I was right, but most of the time, the book took a completely different direction. I enjoyed the little tidbits about what had happened to some of the characters after the night of the fateful party, but I was wondering why you decided to leave so much out about the specifics of Hannah, Emme, and Grace.
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mrstreme
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Registered: ‎12-20-2007
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Re: Questions for the Author

Kate, I enjoyed The House at Riverton very much. I am wondering if you were influenced by "The War Poets" with your inclusion of Robbie in the story. As a student of literature, I was always moved by the sentiments in the poetry expressed by Wilfred Owens and Siegfried Sassoon. Was Robbie based on a real War Poet?

Thanks for your time!
Jill
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BevS
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Registered: ‎12-12-2007
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Re: Questions for the Author

Kate, I just finished your book last night. Awesome! I have a few questions for you. 1) how did you learn to write so good?! 2) how did you come up with all the twists and turns in the book? Did you have help? Did it come gradually, all at once? The reason I'm asking is because the book I'm currently writing compared to what you've written, well, mine is boorriing!! It's just a story with a few simple conflicts. How does one come up with twists and turns in the story such as you have? Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can give me. Looking forward to reading your next book!
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StellaBee
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Re: Questions for the Author

Hello Ms. Morton,

Last night, I finished reading your very good book! I enjoyed this story and the ending was a twist on the expected. I count the book and television production of "Upstairs Downstairs" as one of my top ten media favorites and I'm partial to this socio-historical subject matter. Do you have plans for a future novel depicting characters working in service during the late 19th - early 20th century?
gl
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gl
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Questions for the Author

Dear Ms. Morton,

Thank you so much for sharing an advanced copy of your novel. It started out intriguing and was such an amazing and enjoyable read! Have you written anything else? Do you have any other projects that we can look forward to?

I'd like to ask whether Grace's parentage was finally resolved? Was Fredrick really her father? There were very strong hints but I wasn't certain and would love to know the answer.

Thank you again and more power to you!

Cheers,
Gaby
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bentley
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Registered: ‎01-31-2007
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Re: Questions for the Author


KxBurns wrote:
We are thrilled to have Kate Morton joining us, starting on January 14th, to discuss The House at Riverton.

Please post your questions for Kate here!




Ms. Morton, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read your novel and completed it a couple of days ago.

I have a few questions which relate to the Acknowledgements and the Author's note at the end of the novel.

First, you mentioned Beryl Popp and Dulcie Connelly. "Two grandmothers, dearly loved and missed. I hope Grace inherited a little from each of you." Could you possibly share with us how you shaped and developed the character of Grace and what influenced you in the development of this memorable heroine. Were your own grandmothers major influences in your writing?

Secondly, you mentioned the following authors: Milford, Waugh, du Maurier, Fitzgerald, Arlen, Coward and Morton as key influencers. What specific works of these authors were you referring to and what historical information did you find particularly useful? What aspects of Ishiguro's, Altman's work influenced you most and did these works play a major part in the development of any of the key characters?

Thirdly, thank you for your recommendations for further reading. Could you give a brief explanation why these particular five books were the ones you recommended. What was there about each one you valued?

Thank you,

Bentley
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