Shauna Singh Baldwin and I have known each other for a long time, through email and our writing, but have only met two times. She gave a moving and elegant introduction to my talk in her hometown, Milwaukee (a beautiful city).
This is her introduction:
“Many of us are familiar with Sandra Gulland’s historical fiction from her highly acclaimed, and beautifully-written Josephine Trilogy. In The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine published in 1995, Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, published in 1998, and the Last Great Dance on Earth published in 2000—Sandra brought Josephine Bonaparte back to life. And instead of a greedy schemer who two-timed Napoleon, we come to know an intelligent woman making the kind of choices and compromises women make every day, even today. The Josephine B. trilogy, has sold over a million worldwide, is now published in thirteen languages and in fifteen countries.
Eight years after the last book in the Josephine trilogy, Sandra brings to life another French woman obscured and reviled by historians, Louise de la Valliere, mistress of the Sun King. Along the way, we meet Molière and Racine as they perform their dramas for the king, and listen to LaFontaine as he wrote his fables. With Louise, we watch Finance Minister Fouquet’s arrogance laid low, and the building of Versailles. Again the court of Louis XIV dazzles us, with the intensity of its joie de vivre and sheer excess. Louise is a superb horsewoman besides being a woman of verve and grace, and her riding and hunting endears her to the king.
To no one’s surprise, within a week of its publication in Canada, Mistress of the Sun was on Maclean’s national best-selling fiction list and remained there for more than two months, rising to #2.
Sandra Gulland, born in Florida and raised in Berkeley California doesn’t live in seventeenth century France. Instead she lives just over the border in Killaloe, about 50 miles west of Ottawa, Canada and spends half her year in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She also lives on the web at www.SandraGulland.com—a wonderful web site—has a very active Facebook page, and writes a very interesting blog called Notes on the Writing Life. I don’t know if she can stand on a cantering horse like Louise de la Valliere, but she’s been riding enough years that I wouldn’t put it past her.
Sandra and I have been cyber friends since 1999, and this is only the second time we have met, yet her support and inspiration have often opened new paths for me. Back in 1998 when I was debating taking US citizenship, she took the time to write to me, explaining dual citizenship. When I was researching my second novel, The Tiger Claw, the story of a Muslim woman set in WWII France, she gave me wonderful advice on conducting meticulous historical research—yes, she should know! We keep meeting on online discussion groups like historicalnovelsociety.org and Readerville and I think we have been engaged on a similar project: illuminating and bringing alive herstory as opposed to history.
So I am delighted and honored to introduce a dear friend and spectacular writer.
Sandra, welcome to Milwaukee!”