Interview by Sharon Kay Penman

Sharon Kay Penman author of Lionheart

Your Guinevere books were originally published in 1987, ’90 and 91.  How is it that they are being re-issued now?

It seems that as the big traditional houses focus more and more on blockbuster and celebrity books, some savvy publishers are buying ‘back-list’ titles–good works by mid-list authors the big companies are no longer interested in. Sourcebooks is one such publisher; they read my Guinevere Trilogy and set out to find me.  At first I wasn’t much interested, but a few phone calls to friends inside the industry confirmed that Sourcebooks are a very progressive firm, geared to 21st Century challenges and highly respected for it.  The result is that Child of the Northern Spring came out in November of 2010 and both Queen of the Summer Stars and Guinevere–the Legend in Autumn will be issued in 2011.

How does it feel to see them out in the world again?

Wonderful.  Back in the ’80’s and ’90’s they were overshadowed by Mists of Avalon so even though I tried to make it clear that I don’t write fantasy or woman’s romance, the original publisher marketed them that way and the mainstream audience wasn’t even alerted to their presence.  Sourcebooks is touting them as Historical Fiction  so they’re reaching the audience they were intended for.

They were originally all three Book of the Month Club alternates and were translated into seven languages.  Sometimes I get posts from strangers on FaceBook telling me how much they loved them back 20 years ago, often saying they read and re-read them over and over until they fell apart in their hands.  That sort of contact out of the blue is immensely gratifying.

You became a journalist in 1970 and had two non-fiction books published by 1980.  What was it that drew you to historical fiction at that point and why Guinevere?  Were the Arthurian stories favorites from childhood? (click here to read more)

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