Saturday, November 06, 2010

Author Kathryn Johnson on The Gentleman Poet and Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to author Kathryn Johnson, her novel "The Gentleman Poet" was recently release on September 7, 2010. It has a unique story that has sparked my curiosity and I will be reviewing this one in the not so distant future. Kathryn has generously written a lovely guest post for the Historically Obsessed readers and you can check below for more information on "The Gentleman Poet" giveaway.

"Many scholars believe one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, The Tempest, was inspired by a shipwreck and true tale of survival that captured the imagination of 17th-century London. But what if the greatest playwright of all time didn’t simply read about the wreck of the Sea Venture off the Bermuda coast? What if Will was on board, fleeing powerful enemies, daring one last great adventure near the troubled end of his career?
Elizabeth Persons’ blinding headaches are an ominous sign, one she knows well as a warning of danger. The young servant girl is one of 150 passengers who survive a terrifying hurricane then struggle ashore in the Bermudas, rumored home to evil spirits. Despairing of rescue, Elizabeth and the others make their home on the uninhabited island for nine long months while they build a new ship to complete their voyage to Jamestown, Virginia. While there, love blossoms between Elizabeth and the young ship’s cook, and she befriends a mysterious old man.
Kathryn Johnson’s dramatic and compelling story, The Gentleman Poet is a page-turning read that will hold her audience to the very end. This mesmerizing novel is also a celebration of good food, glorious words, and the power of love, while bringing readers an intriguing glimpse of arguably the most famous writer of all time".
With out further delay please welcome Kathryn Johnson!

The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Romance, and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” by Kathryn Johnson
            I think of writing any kind of fiction as a process very much like making a painting. It takes thought, planning, then a laying on of textures and colors before a frame (book jacket) can be put around it. Historical fiction is particularly demanding. There’s usually considerable research, and then the painful elimination of fascinating but unnecessary details so as not to overwhelm the story.
            While writing my latest novel, The Gentleman Poet, I worked with a collection of intriguing facts. Choosing from among them—which to use, which to save for another book or discard—was very similar to preparing one’s palette before starting to paint. You can’t simply use every color available in the art store. You have to be selective. And so when I was at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., I found an amazing array of information about my subject: What inspired William Shakespeare’s famous shipwreck disaster story, The Tempest? Among the materials was an account of the rescue of 150 souls aboard the Sea Venture, a ship bound for Jamestown from England, in 1609. Many aboard the ship were mentioned by name, and all made it to safety on an island. Detailed accounts of hunting expeditions, building shelters, assigned tasks, political and religious disagreements were included in the accounts.
            So what does an author do? If she’s writing fiction, she blends the facts that work best for her vision of the story with fictional (imaginary) elements. For instance, I chose my heroine from the ship’s manifest, as I did several of my other characters. Elizabeth Persons was a real woman who survived the wreck and lived with her shipmates on the deserted island we now know as Bermuda for 9 months. During that time, the sailors, crew and passengers built a new ship to complete their trip to Jamestown. Many of the events in the novel really did take place, but many other details—what characters wore, said to each other, the relationships developing between them—had to be imagined.
            It’s this mysterious blend of what’s real or conjured up in the mind that creates a satisfying historical novel. And just as an artist works to find the right balance, so does a novelist. Readers seek out their favorite combinations of fact and fiction, just as we each have particular tastes for art. Some relish novels so close to nonfiction they almost feel footnoted. Whereas others are only loosely inspired by a historical figure, event or setting. But isn’t that what makes this genre so amazing? No matter our preferences, we can find something very special, something that speaks to us in an intimate way.
            You can learn more about Kathryn Johnson, her teaching, mentoring, and writing at these websites: and

Thank you Kathryn for the invigorating wonderful guest post, I think we are on the same page in regards to what it takes to write historical fiction, I mean after all it is fiction.

The Giveaway!
Up for grabs is one new paperback copy. This giveaway is open to the US ONLY, sorry. 
For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.

For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.

For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word.

Giveaway will end on November 12th at midnight.

Good luck to everyone I know one lucky reader is going to be very happy with this one.

The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Danger, and Shakespeare's The Tempest
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    I'm a follower =)

  2. I haven't read Shakespeare's The Tempest, but this HF novel sounds intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway.

    I am a follower.


  3. Sign me up - Shakespeare AND Historical Fiction!! I definitely want to check this one out! Thanks for the giveaway!

    I am a follower.

    tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

  4. +1 Just saw this come out and I'm really interested in it! bitsyblingbooks (AT) gmail (DOT) com

    +2 GFC (Charlie- oldie)

    +3 Tweeted:!/bitsyblingbooks/status/1012940144640000

    PS I have no idea why the status is so long for this one...

  5. Thank you for including me. =)

    I'm a follower.

    tiredwkids at live dot com

  6. This book looks like a good one!

    I am a follower.


  7. I follow your Blog please enter me..

  8. I am very interested in reading The Gentlemen Poet. I have seen the play The Tempest and enjoyed it very much.
    Also,my direct ancestor,Stephen Hopkins,was on the Sea Venture as a Minister's clerk. He tried to start a mutiny on the island after the wreck of the Sea Venture. He was sentenced to death but luckily for me, he got a reprival when he said that the death sentence would be the ruination of his wife and children. He later sailed on the Mayflower with his wife and children.I am descended from his daughter, Constance.

    +2 I follow this blog with GFC.
    +3 I tweeted:

    Carolee888-My Twitter name See above for a giveaway of 'The Gentlemen poet'.


  9. I am very interested in this book for two reasons. I saw the play Tempest and enjoyed it very much. Also, my direct ancestor was on the Sea Venture
    as a minister clerk. Stephen Hopkins tried to start a mutiny on the island after the wreck of the ship. Luckily for me when he was sentenced to death, he pleaded that his death would ruin his wife and children. He was allowed to live and later came over on the Mayflower with his wife and children,
    I am descended from his daughter Constance.

    +2 I am a GFC follower of this blog.
    +3 I tweeted:

    Carolee888 This is my Twitter name See above for a giveaway of 'The Gentlemen poet'.


  10. This book sounds great. Thanks for the great giveaway.
    I am a follower.
    laura.leahj@gmail dot com

  11. Thanks, everyone, for your support! I loved writing this book--a book from my heart. And it's so cool to find so many readers share my enthusiasm for Shakespeare and his times. And Carol, that is so amazing that you have a relative in this story. Please don't take offense that he appears in this fantasy in a not so very nice role. ;-) Weaving make believe out of fact is always a little tricky. Enjoy, everyone!

  12. I haven't read or seen The Tempest, but that's one of the reasons I love historical fiction--it leads to new interests and obsessions! This book sounds like it could become the beginning of another exploration into history. I follow

  13. This one sounds great! I'm a follower as well.

  14. This sounds like it will be an interesting book. Giving Shakespeare a "final adventure" is an interesting idea.
    I look forward to reading this different story.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  15. I am a GFC Follower.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  16. Girls with Books
    Teen Bookshelf

    forgot to give ya my email!!

  17. Please enter me.

    I am a follower.

    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  18. I'd LOVE to win!

    k8thebookbuff at yahoo dot com

    already a follower

    Tweet tweet!!/thebookbuff/status/2068216339763201

  19. Wow everyone I think this one is going to be such a good read. I have not seen The Tempest but would love to maybe this book is a good way to introduce it to myself. What an amazing post right? Thank you Kathryn I am looking forward to the read.

  20. Thank you for the giveaway and the great post -- my favorite historicals are based on those intriguing historical facts!

    I'm a follower and I tweeted.

    unabridgedchick at

  21. This book sounds wonderful! Please include me in your giveaway.

  22. I'm a follower! Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. +1 The Gentleman Poet sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.
    +2 Iam now following Historically Obsessed.

  24. Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments and entries. I am glad so many of you are interested in this book because I am also. I am tallying the winner up right now and will post the winner on Tuesday in a late mailbox Monday. Thank you EVERYONE.


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