Alex Schnee, author of “Shakespeare’s Lady” answers 10 questions about her favorite time period in history, her favorite figures from history, and the age old question of coffee or tea.
1. If you could go back in time and be any figure from history, who would it be?
I think if I was able to choose anyone, I would want to choose a brave and admirable woman, like Joan of Arc. I would necessarily want her outcome (at all), but it would be so interesting to be involved with the history at that time.
2. What year in history would you have liked to live in?
It varies greatly, sometimes with what book I’m working on. Right now I’m writing about Casanova, so the Age of Enlightenment and early Romanticism is really on my mind. It would be hard for me to choose just one year because there are so many wonderful time periods. For right now, I’ll say 1749 in Italy. A few months from now? Who knows.
3. You’re having a dinner party and you can invite 5 people from history, who would they be?
I think William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Homer. I would like to see the literary theories and criticism thrown around at that meeting. I think there might be some tea cups thrown.
4. What castle from the past or present would you like to live in?
When I was researching “Shakespeare’s Lady”, I fell in love with Whitehall Palace. It’s truly an elegant looking place and I can’t wait for the day when I can visit it in person.
5. Two fellow historical fiction authors you’d like to go on a history themed tour of the world with?
Oh, wow. This would be amazing. I would pick Margaret George because she’s so varied with what historical time periods she chooses to write about, so I feel like she would know so much. I would also pick Susan Vreeland because she could lend an incredible amount of knowledge in regards to art.
6. Who was more dashing and interesting, King Henry VIII of England or King Louis XIV of France?
As far as dashing, I think I would pick King Louis. He had a certain joie de vivre I don’t think Henry ever had. But maybe that was just because he was French and had access to excellent wine all the time.
7. Which of the six wives of King Henry VIII is your favorite?
She wasn’t my favorite at first, but I kind of admire Anne Boleyn. She was so ambitious–enough that it was eventually her downfall. She broke the rules in a society where women had very few rights at all and I can’t help but have a certain amount of respect for her. She was willing to risk so much for something she wanted.
8. English monarchy or French monarchy?
I know more about the English monarchy, but I would love to learn more about the French. I think what interests me most about the English monarchy is that I am attracted to the English culture in general. I love the writing that has come from there (from all time periods), and their humor and the obsession with tea and “Doctor Who”.
9. What three novels could you read over and over?
I usually read “Pride and Prejudice” once a year for certain. I love “Jane Eyre”, and I get around to “The Bell Jar” and “Hamlet” fairly often. It’s so hard to choose just three, but I love all books and there are so many I feel like I could read over and over again and never get tired of.
10. Tea or coffee when writing?
Definitely both. Usually coffee in the mornings and tea in the afternoons. (And perhaps a cookie or two, as well.)
Alex Schnee’s official website: