Today we are very excited to have Whitehall author Barbara Samuel (O’Neal) on the blog! Over a bowl of questions we learned a bit more about her and we invite you to share the wealth of wisdom of this 7-time RITA Award winning novelist (and dog-lover).
She who would be queen must win the love of a king—and a country.
Whitehall is set in the 17th century court of King Charles II and focuses on his queen, Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. Her journey to find her place as the foreign wife in a court riddled with political and religious intrigue – not to mention the many mistresses of Charles the “Merry Monarch” – is a tale of perseverance only a true queen could endure. Love mingles with betrayal before a sensual renaissance of art, culture, and sex in this lush historical serial.
Released in weekly episodes, Whitehall began on May 18th and is written collaboratively by Liz Duffy Adams, Delia Sherman, Barbara Samuel, Madeleine Robins, Sarah Smith, and Mary Robinette Kowal.
Read it or learn more at SerialBox.com!
Colorado Springs, where I am a third-generation native. It’s a strange city, with a wild mix of extreme athletes, extreme Christians, tons of military—and legal marijuana, hippies by the hundreds, artists and writers and walkers. It’s also astonishingly beautiful, painted all in blues—blue sky, blue mountains, blue spruce trees, and Pikes Peak benevolently standing guard.
Who is the author or book you will always recommend?
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It’s narrated by a dog, but I insist people read it anyway. I’ve shoved this book into more hands than any other book, and every single time, those people come back and breathe their deepest thanks. It’s about being human, and love, and has the most exquisite ending of any book I’ve ever read.
Favorite quote or line?
“Blessed is he who has found his work; he shall ask no other blessedness.” Thomas Carlyle
First Love: Book edition. What was it and when? (i.e. what book made you love reading?)
A book of fairy tales I carried everywhere when I was five. The books that made me a writer, however, are Green Darkness by Anya Seton, and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I read them both the same year, when I was fifteen, and that was that—I was going to be a writer.
If you had a nickname for your writing persona, what would it be?
I have a whole group of them, in the basement (an idea I lifted from Steven King), and I call them the Girls the Basement. There’s Hilda, the tattooed, smoking, beer-swilling teenager who takes me places that scare me; Roberta, a church-going grandmother who makes us all keep regular hours and eat right; Eliza the librarian who loves research and reading and correcting mistakes; and Guinevere, the sighing romantic with hip-length hair who believes in soul-mates and other worlds most earnestly.
You now have a time machine – to where and when do you go?
The future! I want to see the time when we’ve found those other planets with habitable life. It will happen, I know it—and I want to meet those other beings very much. I would also desperately love to visit London during the Blitz (carefully). It astonished me that the city was bombed for 9 straight months, every single night. How did they get through it? That’s grit.
Where is your happy place?
There are so many! New York, because it is the most walkable city ever. I can wander and think and ponder and walk and walk and walk. I also love England, all that depth of history, and castles! And flowers! And towers! New Zealand, which is still unspoiled and incredibly beautiful. I also love my soft red chair, with a cat and a book and a cup of tea, which is just about as writer cliché as it gets.
Barbara Samuel (Barbara O’Neal) is the bestselling author of more than 40 books. She has won the highly prestigious RITA award from Romance Writers of America 7 times and has been recently inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. In the tradition of Kristin Hannah, Susan Wiggs, Maeve Binchy, and Barbara Freethy, she writes a highly emotional stories about families, food, dogs, and love. Many of her novels include recipes, and she has been known to cook in response to any stressful situation, learning that cooking is like life–sometimes things go wrong, but if you keep trying, eventually you’ll get it right. Barbara lives in the stunningly beautiful city of Colorado Springs with her beloved, a British endurance athlete who vows he’ll never loose his accent. BarbaraSamuel.com.