First off, 11 random facts about me.
1) I was born in the parish of Christ Church, Barbados to two nurses. No kids of my own, but I'd love two or five. I have an older sister and two brilliant tween nephews. Grew up in an extended family of grandparents and lots (and I do mean lots) of cousins. We're all scattered now, with a few still in Barbados, the majority in the US and others in England and Wales. Family is very important to me and I love it when we get together. There are four countries and three US states represented in this family pic. (Can you spot me?)
2) I am not a morning person! Used to be, but the daily grind has sucked that out of me. My ideal job would start at 1pm and end around 9 at night. I'd only willingly wake up at the crack of dawn everyday to write.
3) While I use the middle initial J for my publications, I have two middle names: Janine Michelle. Why do I only use the first one? Official government forms forced me to pick one middle initial or middle name for my documentation. Janine came first, so that's what stuck. Sorry, Mum!
4) I'm soft-spoken. naturally shy and inhibited, unless a) there's no time to retreat into my shell, b) the person I'm with is a dear friend or loved one, or c) someone has really managed to piss me off and bring out the hell-fire in me.
5) Speaking of personality, I talk to myself on a regular basis and have answered too. Helps to reason things out. Anyone who knows me well doesn't judge. At least, not out loud or within earshot.
6) Cupcakes are my addiction, but I'm kind of a snob, as only the pretty ones will do. Being a diabetic doesn't go well with loving cupcakes, so more often than not, what I really have is cupcake envy.
7) I am not a cat person. Nuff said.
8) The writer I most admire in this world is Frank Herbert, who introduced the concept that's key to everything I write: world-building. Since his Dune series hooked me, I haven't found anything to equal it. George Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series comes a distant second, but Herbert is a master at political intrigue and tenuous relationships. So I want to be Frank Herbert when I grow up.
9) I'm a serious PC gamer, as in long weekends glued to my computer building and blowing stuff up. If it can be played on a PC, I think I've played it. Even better, the nephews are hooked and looking forward to test-driving new games at ComicCon in October. Once the next book is done, I'm taking a much-needed break for Bioshock.
10) At the age of eight, I decided to become a lawyer. Fifteen years later, I started to regret that decision. Now, I wish I'd never made it. I was born to write, but it doesn't pay the bills. Not yet.
11) If I had the time, I'd finish studying Portuguese and learn Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Japanese. If I had the money, I'd buy vacation homes and split my year between Barbados, Brazil, Italy, Morocco, New Mexico, Spain, Turkey and Wales.
How's that for random?
The questions Judith asked are:
1. When you aren't blogging or writing what do you like to do best?
See the aforementioned gaming. I've embraced my geekdom. Don't judge me.
2. How did you become a writer?
Not on purpose. Several things converged; my love of reading history and stories of the past, and traveling to beautiful, forgotten places. A historical fiction writer was born.
3. Which 11 people from history would you invite to dinner and why?
My writing revolved around the underdogs, the people who never got to tell their side because they lost, they were prevented from speaking because of race or gender, or their cause was misunderstood. So, I'd invite people like that to dinner.
- Fatima, the heroine from the first two Sultana books, so she could tell me how much of her history I got right or wrong
- Genghis Khan, because I'd love to know what spurred his ambitions. He would have to promise not to kidnap or kill anyone at the table before, during or after dinner.
- Gwenllian of Gwynedd, of whom I've also written, so I could tell her how much I admire her sacrifice.
- Spartacus, whose struggle fascinates and whose choices mystify.
- Queen Elizabeth I of England, so I could admire her jewels and wigs.
- Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, just to see what she really looked like.
- Nat Turner, so he could tell what he hoped to accomplish.
- Boadicea, because I want to hear her side of the fight against Rome.
- Leonidas of Sparta, for reasons that have nothing to do with history and everything to do with comparing his abs to those Gerard Butler sported in 300. Shallow, I know.
- Harold Godwinsson, mostly to yell at him for force-marching a bedraggled army south when he should have rested them, and then to give him a hug for being so brave at Hastings.
I have several, but my new favorite place is anywhere I can relax and read or write, without any distractions.
5. If you were
My do-nothing Congress. There would be a special election to get some new members in who don't play games with American taxpayers' lives. Does that tell you how I feel about one branch of the US government right now?
6. What did you do before you had the internet? - if you were born then of course :)
Played more outdoors as a kid and invented lots of games.
7. What people have influenced you in your life?
Hard to say, as I believe many people have shaped who I am as a person, a woman, a writer, a friend.
8. Can you remember what you wanted to be when you were five years old?
Happy and carefree. I'm still looking for just that.
9. If you were a character in a fictional classic, which would you choose to be?
I'd like to say I'd be Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, but I suspect my Charlotte Lucas brand of practicality might get in the way of waiting too long for my own Mr. Darcy. Either that, or I'd end a less miserable version of Mary Bennett. I'd smile more than she ever could.
10. Do you prefer wine or spirits, chocolate or cheese?
None. All make my belly hurt when I overindulge. No thanks. I'll have a cupcake.
11. Of all the blog posts you have ever written which is your favorite and why. Put a link to it here.
Two years ago, I wrote about the Ottoman Turk "reign of women" for Unusual Historicals; still one of my favorites because it helped me imagine how life must have been like for the medieval women I've chosen to write about and the moves they could have made behind the scenes.
Thanks again to Judith for the nod. Now I'm tagging in no particular order:
- Michelle Gregory at Beautiful Chaos
- Tara Chevrestt at Bookbabe
- Mirella Patzer at History and Women
- Julie K. Rose
- Colin Falconer at Looking for Mr. Goodstory
- Marie Parsons
- Patricia O' Sullivan
- Anita Davison at The Disorganised Author
- Consuelo Baehr at The repurposed writer
- Alison DeLuca at Fresh Pot of Tea
- N. Gemini Sasson at My Dog Ate My Manuscript