If I had to catch a gut-wrenching virus, at least I'd done it and had time to recuperate fully before going to The Poisoned Pen. I hate even the slightest possibility of spreading such nasty germs. It did seem rather strange to be going without Denis, but I was glad he was at work. Historical fiction really isn't the man's style!
Knowing that bookstore owner Barbara Peters was off traveling the world and that Diana Gabaldon was the evening's "celebrity pinch hitter" interviewing Susanna Kearsley, I made certain to get to my favorite bookstore in plenty of time to reserve my seat... and to do a little browse-buy.
The chairs hadn't been put up yet, so I sat at the back to read a bit. i was soon joined by another woman who wanted to reserve a seat before going to a nearby restaurant. The usually well-oiled machine of The Poisoned Pen experienced a slight hitch, and the other woman and I helped the staff get plenty of seats out. Neither of us minded a bit because we had an absolutely wonderful time talking books and Scotland. (Such a wonderful time in fact that we neglected to ask each other's name!)
|L to R: Diana Gabaldon, Susanna Kearsley|
The bookstore quickly filled with chattering, excited women (and a few men). One couple had come down from Utah especially for the event, and another was from Nova Scotia. We were all a bit stunned when Susanna limped in on crutches, one foot firmly shielded in a protective boot. Never once saying what put her on the disabled list, Kearsley just smiled and said that a "skydiving accident" was tops on the list of guesses.
Diana said she was the choice to fill in for Barbara because "Not only are Susanna and I friends, I also like her books, and her latest book is about the Scottish Jacobites." This raised such a cheer in the room that I think Scotland would've gained its independence if we'd all been allowed to vote last year.
"This book deals with the first unsuccessful Jacobite rebellion," Diana went on to say, "and there's a tall, mysterious Highlander in it, too! There's also a contemporary story that winds in and out of the historical story, and Susanna will tell us a bit about what joins the two."
"I like code-breaking and cypher stories anyway, so I thought I'd like to include some sort of code in this book. Usually I use a light paranormal thread to bind the past and the present together in my books, but this time I wondered... what if there's a journal that needs to be decoded? So this time we have Sara who is deciphering the journal and Mary, the person who wrote it."
Serendipity & Spanking
Diana has long been a fan of Susanna's detailed research-- like the cypher in A Desperate Fortune-- but many times, she's attracted by the objects that Kearsley adds to her stories. Sometimes these objects have a real purpose in the plot; sometimes they don't, but they always add to the verisimilitude. She pointed to the large piece of jewelry Susanna was wearing on her tartan, part of which you can see in the photo above. It is called an "equipage," a collection of articles for personal ornament.
"It's actually meant to be worn at your waist," Susanna told us. "It would clip on your skirt. It's the earlier version of a chatelaine [