Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 37 (previously 18c) - Book Appreciation with Kathleen Knowles - Transcript
(Originally aired 2018/01/20 - listen here)
Heather Rose Jones: This week we welcome Kathleen Knowles back to talk about historic fiction that she really has enjoyed reading. Welcome!
Kathleen Knowles: Hello!
H: So, why don’t we start out, you had mentioned that you’ve read a lot of, that you started getting interested in historic fiction by some early authors in that field. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your favorites there?
K: Well, I think the one writer who I greatly, greatly, greatly admire, although she isn’t, certainly isn’t known for lesbian romance fiction or lesbian historic fiction, is Mary Renault. One of the first books I ever read as a gay person was The Persian Boy and I just loved it. I thought the writing was really, beautiful and the story was really romantic and the fact that it was set in ancient Greece and she seemed to describe it so well. I just thought it was great and I read everything else she wrote as well. Unfortunately, the one book that she ever wrote about lesbians, it wasn’t a historic one, it was, I think, contemporary, although it would have been in the 40s.
H: It’s historic now!
K: For her, her contemporary period of time.
H: Yes, yes.
K: It’s almost impenetrable to read. It’s not the greatest.
H: What’s the title?
K: The title is, oh my god, I’m blanking on the title sorry.
H: I’ll look it up and I will insert it in here somewhere.
K: Ok, so but the idea of gay fiction and historic fiction, that was planted in my head when I read Mary Renault. I started doing that almost 40 years ago. So, on my contemporaries, who I really, really enjoy. One is Rebecca S. Buck, these are both Bold Strokes Books writers as I am. One is Rebecca S. Buck, she has a couple titles out, you’ll have to look those up.
H: I know she’s got one about a highway woman because I was looking at it the other day, I’m going to do a special episode on that. I think it’s The Flintlock and the Locket or something like that?
K: Yeah, there’s that one and another one she wrote about a young museum worker. I can’t remember the name of it now, I’m very sorry. That was great. And my all-time favorite is Justine Saracen. Justine has written all kinds of different historical periods, from Biblical to WWII. It’s pretty amazing how she can dig up all of these… she makes… she says, “The best thing about writing historical fiction is you can pick something that there’s not much known about and then you can make all sorts of stuff up!” That’s how she likes to put it for historical fiction. The one, I think my favorite was the Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright and it was about the Nazis and WWII and the destruction of Berlin. It’s pretty intense.
H: Yeah, I think I’ve heard her read from that one.
K: Really worthwhile as is her recent one about the Soviet fighter pilots who were women. They had a women’s… squadron of women who were fighter pilots. And that was really true in the Soviet Union in WWII.
H: Yeah, that one’s The Witch of Stalingrad, right?
K: Yeah, The Witch of Stalingrad, and I don’t know how to put it but Justine’s really special and it’s really fun to know somebody like that and actually be able to talk to her every now and then. So those are my two real favorites as far as… Two super favorites and one other that I really like, Rebecca Buck.
H: Uh huh. Well, thank you very much for sharing some of your favorite books with us.
K: Well, you’re welcome. Anytime!
In the Book Appreciation segments, our featured authors talks about her favorite books with queer female characters in a historic setting.
In this episode Kathleen recommends some favorite queer historical novels:
Links to the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Online
Links to Heather Online
Links to Kathleen Knowles Online