I'd like to thank Ciji for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with us the reasons why she spent so many years researching and writing about Jane Maxwell. Please welcome Ciji Ware:
That certainly is what happened with Island of the Swans, the first of five historical novels that Sourcebooks Landmark is bringing out during 2010-2011, in addition to my new historical, A Race To Splendor, that debuts in April 2011, on the 105th anniversary of the devastating San Francisco earthquake and fire storm.
With Swans, I was ten years into my on-air broadcasting career with ABC in Los Angeles when I came across a brief monograph in a Scottish-American newsletter (my husband and I are both of Scottish origin) titled “The Match-Making Duchess.”
I gave a yelp because my great-grandmother, Elfie McCullough, had, for nearly all of her 94 years, been filling the heads of her children, grandchildren, and us great grandchildren with the notion that our family was a direct descendant of Jane Maxwell, the 4th Duchess of Gordon (1749-1812), know far and wide for having married off her five daughters to three dukes, a marquis, and a baronet!
She insisted that with her high cheekbones (and mine)—we were the duchess’s spitting image. (Sadly, in all the years of my chasing down facts about Jane Maxwell’s life, I could never prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my McCulloughs of Gatehouse of Fleet were the McCulloughs that had married into the Maxwell of nearby Monreith clan a few generations before Jane was born to a lowly baronet in Ayrshire, Robert Burns’ territory south of Edinburgh.
My problem was that there was no full-length, serious biography written of Jane Maxwell, so my first task was to find out –and verify—the true events in her life as best could be ascertained by documents and other accounts of her day. Using all my vacation pay from broadcasting, I made some five trips to Scotland to trace her haunts, read inventories of the things she owned at the time of her death, gather information about the important people in her life—all in service of garnering the “telling details” that, to me, bring to life a story of an historical personage that happened two hundred-and-fifty-years ago.
As time went on, I think I became truly obsessed by Jane and the events of her life. I was driven by the belief that the world should know the true story of this remarkable woman who had often been vilified in her day (and even in our own) for being “uppity” and “forward,” and the end result is a book that could probably be subtitled “Gone with the Wind of Scotland!”
Thanks so much for inviting me to tell you about the book and the joy I experienced during the years it took to create all those pages!
Thanks, Ciji! I wish you much success and look forward to reading more of your work.
About the Author
Ciji Ware has been an Emmy-award winning television producer, reporter, writer, and radio host. A Harvard graduate, she has written numerous historical and romance novels as well as non-fiction. When she's not writing, Ciji is a Scottish history and dancing aficionado. She lives with her husband in California.
Sourcebooks would like to offer 2 copies of Island of the Swans to my readers. If you'd like to be entered in the giveaway, please leave a comment with your email address.
Because the publisher is shipping the books, this giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only. The deadline to enter is Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11:59 pm EST.