Author Interview: Karen Cushman

Another first for Damsels in Regress: we’re a stop on a blog tour!  We’re teaming up with five other Seattle-area authors, Kirby Larson, Laurie Thompson, Kimberly Baker, Jaime Temairik, and Allie Costa to promote the latest release from the amazing Karen Cushman!

Since Karen has a lot of questions to answer between all of us, this interview is shorter than most we’ve done.  However, just follow the link to the Chinook Update in our sidebar to find out more about Karen and her new book, Alchemy and Meggy Swann.  In the meantime, here’s what she had to say for the Damsels.

1.  How did you balance your use of period language with giving readers the clues to figure out strange words?  Was it a challenge or something that came easily?

I wanted to suggest the flavor of Elizabethan speech–florid, colorful, and exaggerated–without writing something incomprehensible.  I worked hard at finding words similar to modern words or understandable by their sound or in context.  It was time consuming but great fun.  I’d get lost in the thesaurus or Oxford English Dictionary or one of the many helpful online language tools.  

2.  What was your favorite period word or phrase that you got to include in the book?

I pick gallimaufry though beslubbered, dampnified, and gorbellied come close.

3.  You’ve written books in so many time periods, set both in the US and in England.  What are some periods you’d like to explore in future projects?

I am intrigued by the state of the brand new United States immediately after the Revolutionary War.  In terms of U.S. history, we tend to think of the revolution in 1776 and then skip right to the War of 1812.  There’s a story in-between there somewhere.


3 Responses to Author Interview: Karen Cushman

  1. Danielle says:

    What a fun interview!
    I love her favorite words.

  2. Tricia says:

    Me too! I have many days where I’d like to use the words “beslubbered or gorbellied.” 😀

  3. […] Karen Cushman’s Alchemy and Meggy Swann was named one of the Children’s Literature Assembly’s 2001 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, and the audio book was given an ALA Odessey Award.  It’s also a finalist for the Audio Publishers Association Audies’ Award.  She’s working on another Elizabethan England story, Will Sparrow’s Road, and says she encountered some “gender-related challenges” since it’s her first book with a boy as the main character.  She’s also a judge for the School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books 2011, and you can find more info on that at […]

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