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BN Editor
Amanda_R
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎09-25-2006
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Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hi All:

What a treat to have author Tracy Chevalier joining us! She'll officially be joining our discussion on Monday, April 30th. I'm sure that you have plenty of thoughtful and compelling questions for her -- so please post them here so that she's sure to see them and respond.

Many thanks, and have fun!

Amanda

Contributor
jardine
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎04-26-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

How did you get the idea about Philip Astley's circus? I must say it spices the plot up and brings a lot of colours to this novel once again! I did some research about him afterwards as I did not know he had existed.
Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
Posts: 4,012
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

I didn't know Phillip Astley was a real character. What a novel to build on with a circus in the middle of it. How did you form the plot with William Blake in it also?
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hi Ms Chevalier - what a jolly book! I love the old map of the Westminster Bridge district which is in the English hardback edition - how is it there were so many timber yards in the area?

The idea of building the story around the first circus owner is wonderful and adding William Blake to the mix was inspired! Here is a nice website about the Astley Circus:-

http://www.peopleplayuk.org.uk/guided_tours/circus_tour/the_first_circus/amphitheatre.php

I wonder if folks in the US know what Windsor chairs are?:-

http://www.windsorchair.co.uk/windsorchairs.htm

There is good online edition of Songs of Innocence, complete with engravings:-

http://www.gailgastfield.com/innocence/soi.html
Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

>How did you get the idea about Philip Astley's circus? I must say it spices the plot up and brings a lot of colours to this novel once again! I did some research about him afterwards as I did not know he had existed.

I found out that Philip Astley lived in the house behind Blake's when I was first researching Blake and saw on a map just how close they were. There's also an anecdote about them meeting - the "boy with log" incident in the book is a retelling of that story. I just thought that it was a gift to me to have such a colourful character living close to Blake, and I knew I had to use him somehow. The more I found out about him the clearer it became that he and Blake were different in every way. I decided to use that difference as counterpoint in the book.

Plus you can't go wrong writing about circuses - everybody loves to hear about them - though I confess I have never much liked going to them! The only circus I've loved was one from the early 1990s called Arkaos, a French group I believe. They did things like juggle with chain saws and smash up cars to punk music. Brilliant!
Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

>I didn't know Phillip Astley was a real character. What a novel to build on with a circus in the middle of it. How did you form the plot with William Blake in it also?

Hi Maxcat. I started with Blake rather than with Astley. So I knew I would be writing about Blake, and then found a place in the plot for Astley.
Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

>Hi Ms Chevalier - what a jolly book! I love the old map of the Westminster Bridge district which is in the English hardback edition - how is it there were so many timber yards in the area?

Hi Choisya. What an excellent name you have, esp. now - the choisya bush (aka Mexican orange blossom) in my garden smells divine at the moment.

Isn't that map great? I looked at that map every day when I was writing, and got a lot out of it. There's a mustard factory I lifted for the book (Maggie goes to work there), and also a vinegar factory.

I think there were a lot of timber yards in the area because Lambeth was going through a huge growth spurt at the time. The Industrial Revolution had arrived and London was rapidly expanding. They would have shipped wood up the Thames and dropped it at the timber yards conveniently located along the river.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Thanks TracyC. I hadn't realised there was a growth spurt and thought it might be that they were supplying shipyards in the area. One forgets how much was made of wood in those times.

Choisya in my online name and is my favourite shrub:smileyhappy:. Mine too is looking and smelling beautiful at the moment - I have it in a sunny spot where it shines like gold doubloons.



TracyC wrote:
>Hi Ms Chevalier - what a jolly book! I love the old map of the Westminster Bridge district which is in the English hardback edition - how is it there were so many timber yards in the area?

Hi Choisya. What an excellent name you have, esp. now - the choisya bush (aka Mexican orange blossom) in my garden smells divine at the moment.

Isn't that map great? I looked at that map every day when I was writing, and got a lot out of it. There's a mustard factory I lifted for the book (Maggie goes to work there), and also a vinegar factory.

I think there were a lot of timber yards in the area because Lambeth was going through a huge growth spurt at the time. The Industrial Revolution had arrived and London was rapidly expanding. They would have shipped wood up the Thames and dropped it at the timber yards conveniently located along the river.


Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hey Folks, feel free to ask me questions! I'm just sitting here twiddling my thumbs... You can even ask what I had for dinner (salmon).
Frequent Contributor
hasenbein
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Hi Tracy,

Keep patient. Some of us are still at work!

I have noticed that in this new format many people read posts but don't seem to want to post. I'm uncertain why, but It's amazing how many people are actually "here"!

KathyH
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Just where in the world are you sitting Tracy - in the UK or elsewhere? I am sitting in Hertfordshire and had a prawn curry:smileyhappy:




TracyC wrote:
Hey Folks, feel free to ask me questions! I'm just sitting here twiddling my thumbs... You can even ask what I had for dinner (salmon).


Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier


hasenbein wrote:
Hi Tracy,

Keep patient. Some of us are still at work!

I have noticed that in this new format many people read posts but don't seem to want to post. I'm uncertain why, but It's amazing how many people are actually "here"!

KathyH




Yes, lots of "lurkers". I lurk a lot too.

Sorry, it's 10:30pm here in London, so I'm at that end-of-the-day-shall-I-go-to-bed point in time, whereas most of you are just gearing up for the evening.

Here's a question I have for you (that's all of you in general): what are you reading right now? I mean, apart from Burning Bright! I am just finishing A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor, and am savoring that delicious feeling of knowing I get to choose another book to read. Love that.
Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Choisya, I am sitting in north London. The garden smells of choisia :smileyhappy: and lilac, and the moon I believe is full. Our cat (a tortoiseshell) keeps coming in and out of my study window; she is in hunting mood. I am answering email and contemplating the fact that Tony Blair has been PM for 10 years. I remembered how elated I felt 10 years ago when Labour got in, and how long 10 years feels, and how much has changed. I hadn't even had the idea for Girl with a Pearl Earring 10 years ago, that's how much has changed for me! And even more for TB, I guess... Sorry, everybody, I'm rambling...
Frequent Contributor
cookie
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

:smileyhappy:
Well it's 8am Wednesday here, and my kids are getting ready for school.
We've had some desperately needed rain but it's cleared up now.

I'm reading Jane Eyre. I've never read it before and wanted to read it after finishing The Thirteenth Tale (which I thoroughly recommend !).

Have a lovely evening/ day everyone.
Philippa's message board:
http://www.philippagregory.com/phpbb2/index.php
Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Ah, Oz time! The beauty of the internet... Jane Eyre, still wonderful after all these years. There was a BBC production of it recently, and it was wonderfully erotic.
Frequent Contributor
cookie
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎12-31-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

:smileyhappy:
I'm amazed that I don't think I've ever seen a production of it.
So I'm practically spoiler-free on how Jane Eyre ends up !!
Philippa's message board:
http://www.philippagregory.com/phpbb2/index.php
Frequent Contributor
Mariposa
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

The internet is quite amazing because I am sitting here in Manhattan (New York City) sipping my tea with lemon and honey because I have a terrible cold while you are in England.

It is 6:45 pm here and I just finished reading Jon Clinch's book Finn which was wonderful. I was a bit irritated with the idea of taking a character from another book and then creating a new work from it, but Clinch did an outstanding job. My other online book club is going to begin discussing it in a day or so and I am looking forward to that.

Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist is sitting on my desk right next to the tea...teasing me to open the pages but I have to first separate myself from Finn.

I finished Burning Bright a while ago and appreciated the peek into the life of William Blake who I always found fascinating.

Oh and one last thing...the day after I finished reading Girl With a Pearl Earring, I went to see the movie and it was one of the very few times where the image on the screen was so close to what I saw in my head while I was reading it. What did you think of the film?

Lizabeth
Frequent Contributor
hasenbein
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

Here's a question I have for you (that's all of you in general): what are you reading right now?

Hi Tracy,

I'm one of those people who likes to read many things concurrently. It only gets confusing when two or three of them are similar.

I've been working on Niall Ferguson's latest book, War of the World (dictionary in hand and note taking); in addition to this group, I am in Walter Isaacson's group for Einstein, Mohsin Hasmid's group for The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Michael Gruber's group for The Book of Air and Shadows; and have the Foreign Affairs Journal for March/April to finish before I pick up the May/June issue. I don't think I'll confuse any of them with each other!

KathyH
Contributor
jardine
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎04-26-2007
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

I have just finished "Shutter Island", a thriller by Dennis Lehane and "The Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood is blinking at me from the bookcase so I may start it pretty soon unless I prefer a shorter novel... Lots of papers to mark for Upper-Sixth forms before that! I have to go to work now. Have a nice day!
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Questions for Tracy Chevalier

I am/have been busy reading online with BNBC Paradise Lost, Mansfield Park, The Judgement of Paris and am gearing up for Richard III. In my other life I am reading a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft and about to read Possession for that book club. In between I am gardening!




TracyC wrote:

hasenbein wrote:
Hi Tracy,

Keep patient. Some of us are still at work!

I have noticed that in this new format many people read posts but don't seem to want to post. I'm uncertain why, but It's amazing how many people are actually "here"!

KathyH




Yes, lots of "lurkers". I lurk a lot too.

Sorry, it's 10:30pm here in London, so I'm at that end-of-the-day-shall-I-go-to-bed point in time, whereas most of you are just gearing up for the evening.

Here's a question I have for you (that's all of you in general): what are you reading right now? I mean, apart from Burning Bright! I am just finishing A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor, and am savoring that delicious feeling of knowing I get to choose another book to read. Love that.


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