Linda Bennett Pennell writes historical fiction influenced by her life in the South.
What period of history do you wish you knew more about?
Although I do not write about it and probably never will, I cannot get enough information about the Early Medieval period. I find the transition from the Roman Empire’s control over most of Europe and the British isles to the hodgepodge of small kingdoms and principalities fascinating. The political maneuvering to fill the voids left by Rome led to some very interesting events and historical figures. I especially find post-Roman Britain fascinating. Prior to the Conqueror, the British Isles were predominantly Anglo-Saxon. How Celtic Britain became Anglo-Saxon provides hours of interesting reading.
If you could write any other genre, what would it be?
Some time ago, I began a series of police procedurals, but never finished it. Someday I may return to my emotionally damaged, but very functional homicide detective who becomes involved in an Enron style case that includes murder and mayhem among Houston’s corporate elite.
Do you have another artistic outlet in addition to your writing? Do you sew? Paint? Draw? Knit? Dance? Garden?
I sing first soprano in two choirs, Texas Master Chorale and my church’s chancel choir. Singing and music were my first loves, but I never had the opportunity to pursue them as I would have liked. Note to parents: DO NOT move your child away from the only hometown he/she has ever known in her/his junior or senior year of high school! That’s how I lost out on my voice lessons that would have begun when I was 16 and singing in school choir due to credits that did not transfer. SIGH!
How long do you read until you bail on a book you don’t like?
It depends. If it is a run-of-the-mill book, it better capture my interest within the first three or four chapters. If it critically acclaimed, I usually push through to the end. There are some notable exceptions, but they shall go nameless.
Do you collect anything? If so, what, why, and for how long?
I have ALWAYS adored beautiful china, crystal, and sterling, all of which have fallen out of favor with younger generations. I at one time collected Havilland teacups and saucers, but when I inherited complete settings of china and crystal from several family members, collecting had to stop! Fortunately, our son married a girl who adores a prettily laid table as much as I do, so she now has a complete table service for eight that we gave them as a wedding present. When they announced their engagement, I laid out all of the options for her with an apology that I knew modern brides did not choose patterns anymore. To my great delight, she was thrilled and chose the patterns I would have selected to give them had she asked me to. He chose the right girl to marry into our family!
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.
As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, “Let’s pretend.”
I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable, 105 pound German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain he’s a little boy.
“History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire
Edie Cay writes award-winning feminist Regency Romance about women’s boxing and relatable misfits. She is a member of the Regency Fiction Writers, the Historical Novel Society, ALLi, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can drop her a line on Facebook and Instagram @authorediecay.