Ana is a travel agent and lives in Mafra, a town on the outskirts of Lisbon, Portugal, famous for being the setting of Jose Saramago's Baltazar and Blimunda . I'm sure many of you know her blogs, especially LIGHTS, CAMERA ... HISTORY! I love them! She has accepted to answer my questions and to talk about herself and her passions. She has even prepared a giveaway for you. Read through the interview, discover more about Ana and leave your comment ( and e-mail address ) to have the chance to win a great historical novel!
And you are most welcome , Ana! Let’s see what can I ask you now… You really are an avid reader. What are your favourite genres, books, authors?
Oh yes, I am always with a book in my hands (or at least in my hand bag) and there are almost too many favourites to mention. Regarding the Classics I love Austen, Gaskell, the Brontës, Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas and Emilio Salgari and I can't help but mention one portuguese author - Eça de Queiroz. My first love is historical fiction and my favourite authors would be Elizabeth Chadwick, Sharon Kay Penman, Roberta Gellis, Catherine Delors, Sara Donati, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton... but I also read mysteries and thrillers - I started reading Agatha Christie in my teens and I was hooked in the genre, nowadays I still reread her books but I also love Anne Perry, Elizabeth Peters, more recently authors like Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn and then grittier stuff like Alex Kava, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs or Karin Slaughter. I also like romance, especially traditional regency romance like what Georgette Heyer wrote, besides the great Heyer I also enjoy books by Mary Balogh, Laura Matthews, Dinah Dean, Diana Brown, Sheila Simonson. Looking at my shelves I also have as keepers romance authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, Anne Stuart... and I could go on and on... I'm always looking for new authors to add to my pile so feel free to suggest any of your favourites...
You are fluent in English and read books in English. Did you study foreign languages at university? What other languages can you speak?I did study English and German, I also speak Spanish and a little bit of French.
Great, Ana, four foreign languages! And you said you like travelling and you work as a travel agent. Which is/are the most interesting country/ies you’ve visited and what one/s do you really want to go to but haven’t yet?
Like any good traveller I really want to go everywhere, it's partly the adventure of finding something new that attracts me. Having said that I am particularly fond of Europe as a travel destination, there's the fascinating thing of getting to see the monuments that we studied at school and that in some cases are a part of our common cultural heritage and then there's the movement of the cities, the museums and art galleries to visit, the typical gastronomy to try out etc. Among my favourite european cities are London, Prague and Barcelona. Outside Europe I really loved visiting Egypt, it's quite an experience because it's so different but it's lovely and a bit overwhelming to look at so many centuries of history.
I would dearly love to visit Mexico and travel from Mexico City to the Yucatan Peninsula to study both the Aztec and Maya cultures. I also have a college degree in History and I suppose most of my vacation plans include, at some point, historical places to visit.
You are an expert in period drama and, as I told you, I love your LIGHTS, CAMERA...HISTORY, the blog you run with Ana O. and Alex. When does your fondness come from? When did it start?
Oh dear, I'm not really an expert. I just love watching them and share my thoughts but I still feel that there are so many that I haven't watched yet.... I must confess that it is all Alex's fault that I got involved in LCH. We were always chatting about our favourite period dramas (she introduced me to North and South, btw) and one day she thought it would be nice to have a blog were we could chat with other fans of the genre. And that's how it all started. Our first group discussion was about N&S which generated a lot of comments and the rest, as they say, is history!
My particular interest in the genre started because it was a natural extension of my love of history and historical books. Anyone who's read and loved Pride and Prejudice, for instance, can't really resist watching the adaptations and see how they compare can they?
What is your favourite series ever and what costume movies do you like best?
Ah this is a tricky question, isn't it? You already know at least one of my answers, right? But I'll give you a whole list. Among my favourite series would have to be North & South (2004), Jane Eyre (2006), Pride & Prejudice (1995), Lark Rise to Candleford, Cranford and among my favourite costume movies would be Jodhaa Akbar, The Name of The Rose, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Gosford Park, Little Women (1994)... and I'm sure I'm leaving many others out that will come to mind as soon as we finish this...
Let's go back to blogging, let’s talk about it. You have your own blog, ANECA'S WORLD but, as you said before, you also collaborate to others. Please tell us more about them.
Aneca's World is a blog I started because I wanted to have a written account of the books I read and saw it as a way to share my opinions and find some other people to chat about the same books. Although it's mostly a book review blog I also mention other things like my travels, the movies and TV series I watch, handycrafts and whatever else comes to mind.
Then a few years ago I was invited to start Historical Tapestry with a friend, it's a blog about historical fiction with reviews, news and giveaways and it gives me real pleasure to be a part of it. The next blog I joined was the above mentioned Lights Camera History , dedicated to reviews and news about period dramas and movies. It all started after Alex, Ana O. and me watched North &South and thought it really wasnt fair that everyone knew about Pride & Prejudice but not everyone was familiar with N&S. We thought we should do something to spread the word thus our first blog monthly discussion was about N&S. And since this wasn't enough last year I joined another blog about traditional regencies which is called An Evening at Almacks ... I think my plate is filled now and that is enough blogs for just one person....
Everyone is invited to visit them and join the fun by commenting or joining any challenge or giveaway open.
In your long running experience in the Net, what are the pros and cons (if you think there are any) of blogging according to you, Ana?
Well blogging has allowed me to meet some really great people who share my love of books and movies so I would say that is a big pro. For instance, I would never have "met" you Maria Grazia if it wasn't for our blogs. I really have enjoyed my online friendships with people from all over the world. The only con that blogging may have is that when you share your opinions you open yourself to criticism that sometimes is neither constructive nor polite but fortunately I haven't had many problems.
Now, have you got any other hobbies apart from reading , blogging, travelling and watching period dramas/films?
I also do a varied assortment of handycrafts like knitting, cross stitching, wood painting, decoupage... and I would like to exercise more in the form of long walks which I seldom have time to do...
You know there’s a question I MUST ask you. You mentioned North & South – and more than once – in your answers so … you know who Mr Armitage is. Is he known in Portugal? Have you seen any other of his works?
(sorry, I'm in a Harry J. Kennedy period! MG)
Eh eh I was waiting for this one! We have seen the 3 series of Robin Hood on TV here but I don't think most people are aware of him as an actor. I am, since N&S is one of my favourites but it hasn't been shown on TV and the DVD wasn't released here. As far as I know only the DVDs of RH and Spooks found their way into our stores.
Besides the series already mentioned I also watched him in Sparkhouse, Marple, The Vicar of Dibley and Malice Aforethought. I would definitely like to watch him do more period dramas...
Now, to end this pleasant coversation with you, I’m going to ask you all the questions I’ve used to close my interviews so far.
Your weakness …………………. chocolate and books!
Your strength…………………….. to read fast enough to keep up with all my blogs.
Your most frequent daydream…………………….. I own a bookstore and spend my days suggesting books to clients
Favourite hero ……………………. I don't think I actually have one but for the time of this interview let's say it is John Thornton! Because he is fair, honest and honourable, a strong man when faced with adversity. And I would like to urge everyone to read Elizabeth Gaskell's book because you get to know him better there.
Favourite heroine ……………………… For the time of this interview too let's say Anne Elliot from Jane Austen's Persuasion because I like people who have lived through difficult times and manage to cope, grow and find happiness in the end.
Thanks, Ana! You've been extremely kind and it's been a great pleasure to discover more about you. And now, your GIVEAWAY!!!
Ana has chosen to give away a new copy of Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne In Splendour . In this beautifully rendered modern classic, Penman redeems Richard III---vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews, the princes in the Tower---from his maligned place in history with a dazzling combination of research and storytelling
Try to guess why Ana chose this novel for the giveaway.
It is because...
- it is in my ( MG's ) TBR list
- it is one of her favourite historical novels
- it's the book that gave Richard Armitage the idea of a new Richard III ( he'd love to act as the new R III on stage ).
-all of the above
Now, leave your comment and your e-amil address here in order to get a chance to win a copy of this fantastic novel. The giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be announced on April 19th.