Like every weekend in the last months, I'm glad to introduce another of my blogger buddies to you all. A very special guest, with a very special blog . Do you like historical fiction? Her beautiful site is the right place to visit, then. And if you read through the interview till the end, leave a comment + your e-mail address,  you can win two books.


First of all, Marie, welcome on Fly High! It's such a pleasure to meet an amazingly succesful blogger like you. I've got so many questions but, first of all, I'll let you introduce yourself to my readers.

I live in a booming town close to Dallas, TX, which I really love as opposed to my previous hometown in New York. There is a Texas saying that goes 'I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I could!!" and is very fitting for me.
As far as what I do for 40 hours a week: I am a bookkeeper for a general contractor. This is a one woman office with many duties, working among several men and I get frustrated with them daily.
I was raised in a family environment that sheltered me from the day I was born until I moved out of my father's home. Books, dolls and my imagination were always my best friends. I collected books and dolls whenever possible and kept them with me throughout my childhood and adulthood. Books have continued to my salve for when I need comfort. Forming the book blog was a direct result of a need for companionship and as a release soon after my father suddenly passed away in late 2008. What I received as a result of the blog was a kinship unlike any other that I have experienced. I have found a wonderful camaraderie with the ladies of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table and I am proud to call them my friends. One of them you have featured here on Fly High!, who was Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine. She is the official number one fan of The Burton Review.

First question for you, Marie. You blog about books. What is your relationship with the object book like? What is your relationship with e-books like , instead?

I love BOOKS.. and I love collecting them, especially when they are hardcovers bought at a great price. Over the past year, my personal library has quadrupled itself. The E-books are a different matter, and I've only bought one because it is used as a reference for me. (A Who's Who in Tudor Women by Kate Emerson). It is like a mini-encyclopedia and I trust the author's assumptions on its accuracy. Being on the computer 8 hours a day for work, and then blogging about books, I just couldn't imagine myself in bed with a book that is on an e-reader. That just seems like electronic over load for me.

You love historical fiction and blog about that mostly. What is the historical period you are most interested in? If you could travel back in time, in what period would you like to land and live?
The Tudor era is fascinating. And it is not just Henry VIII and his six wives that interest me, as there are many stories that have occurred in Tudor times that may have happened in proximity to Tudor courts or just on the outskirts that are still just as fascinating. I have amassed a large collection of Tudor non-fiction and fiction, but still have yet to put a dent in it! I would love to be in Queen Anne Boleyn's court where she thrived on learning and she encouraged music and poetry. I would especially like to get in behind the scenes and see if Henry VIII really believed that his Queen committed adultery or if he was just looking for a way out that did not emulate the way he got rid of his first queen.

Do you like reading classics? What are your favourite authors?

When I was a young reader, I enjoyed The Great Gatsy, several by Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott. To Kill a Mockingbird was a story that I read repeatedly, along with the Alcott books. I have not had a chance to delve futher into other classics outside of required reading, but I do want to read some in the future. I don't think I would want to get into the heavier classics such as War and Peace, but I want to re-read the Brontes and discover D.H. Lawrence. At this time, my favorite authors that focus on my favorite eras are Jean Plaidy and Sharon Kay Penman, but I do adore Georgette Heyer as well. I have accumulated a lot of her books and cannot wait to read them all. She was a fantastic regency writer known for her witty style; her mysteries and romances never cease to make me laugh out loud.

If I ask you to suggest our readers an unforgettable book, which is the first one that comes to your mind?
I recently read an amazingly poignant story titled The Kitchen House, written by Kathleen Grissom. Such a poignant tale that totally immerses the reader in the slave days of America that really takes a hold of your heart as you read it. I highly recommend it.

You said you like Jane Austen. Which of her heroines do you resemble more/like the best? Which of her heroes would you be glad to meet in real life?

Oh, I would never say I resemble any one. Especially an interesting protagonist! I really loved the Emma adaptation for Masterpiece Classics, and I honestly think my personality is somehow a blend of the seemingly introverted Jane Fairfax and the sometimes outrageous Emma. Depends on my mood, and my husband knows when to stay away when the two personalities collide. I would DIE AND GO TO HEAVEN if there were a Mr Knightley who looked like Jonny Lee Miller as my next door neighbor. But.. my husband will have to fill in for that need.

 Well, I just happened to be hooked by the latest BBC Emma. So I can understand what you mean. Let’s say something about blogging. You’ve got an amazing, successful blog. Which is the secret to become a successful blogger? Have you got any suggestions to give us all?

Thanks for the compliments, although I wish I could live up to it. But the evolution began when I was looking for good books to read on specific historical subjects. Amazon reviewers were all over the board with their ratings and I could not tell where I would stand amongst their opinions. I found the book blogs, and got my feet wet by making comments on other blogs. Then I dove in head first. And boom! my blog grew by leaps and bounds, mostly by commenting on other blogs and those bloggers eventually clicked over to my blog to see who this chick was who was stalking them and soon enough we became a fabulous group of friends that formed the HF Bloggers Round Table group. As far as tips for bloggers, there are so many different niches out there that I think you need to really find where you fit.
I fit in the HF category with occasional Austen and Heyer reads. Some are Young Adult and some are general fiction. Once you find that set group that you prefer, it becomes second nature to find that passion within you and the spark that keeps your posts alive. The biggest thing to avoid is the pressure. Do not force yourself to post on a schedule because real life has a way of getting in the way and clouding the passion that was the main force behind your blog. Keep it fun for YOU.

What kind of blogging activities do you like the most among writer guest posts , interviews, book reviews, posts linked to challenges, contests, tied blogs events?

I really enjoy it when I go out on a limb and write a “creative post” such as the last one I did for a Round Table event, which focused on Claude Monet's wife and muse, Camille. It is wonderful to do some research and write an article on something that was previously unknown to me. I used to enjoy author's guest posts a lot more, but when I see author guest posts that I posted on my blog are being recycled on other blogs, it gets a little old. I now appreciate interviews much more because they can be more individualized.

8. What are the pros and cons of blogging? What has it added to or deprived your life of?

Personally, the cons are the fact that I have gotten in over my head with the advance review books. I cannot get out from under the pile of books that authors or publishers have sent to me. And the sad part is I have no one to blame but myself; I did this to myself by accepting or requesting 99% of them. My new rule is NO MORE review books until I get through this pile and then I will re-evaluate where the blog stands in my life. I will always read. Therefore I can always pen a review, but it will probably be on books that are from my own personal library as opposed to focusing on new releases which require a review to be posted before or near the release date. The Pros of blogging is obvious: the friendship from those who share your personal tastes. I feel very blessed to be a part of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table group. These ladies are very suportive of me both blog- wise and personally. My biggest fan ever is Lucy of Enchanted by Jospehine, who just happened to be featured here a few weeks ago!

Have you got other interests apart from reading and hobbies?
Hobbies that I have once had included genealogy, scrapbooking, beading, cross-stitching and collecting dolls and collectibles. Children came in and took over my life and my house so that I no longer have the freedom to leave these crafy items out with the intention of coming back to them later. They have all been put away out of reach of tiny hands. Reading has become something that I can still enjoy without too much damage from the kids, though bookmarks have been a center of attention in many keep-away games, unfortunately.
At some point before I die, I might even pen a novel. That was a childhood ambition of mine but among most other things, I have let that go as well. I have zero inspiration for that but it is always in the back of my mind and I cannot wait for the bug to bite me.

You know I often write about period drama /costume movies? What do you like watching instead on TV or at the cinema? What are your favorite movies/drama? What is the best one you’ve seen lately?

I don't get to go OUT too often. I really enjoyed the recent Emma adaptation and Northanger Abbey. Those are my top favorites. I don't actually get to watch a movie too often even on TV due to the kids, but I did purchase the BBC box set of Jane Austen's stories that I do want to watch someday. The Emma in that version is so different from the recent Masterpiece one that I couldn't get through it. Yet. Other than that I really don't have a favorite movie, I would much prefer a book to read over the movie any day.

If you had the possibility to change something in your life, what would you change and why?
I didn't listen to my parents at important times of my life. Their wisdom was greater than I appreciated and unfortunately I will never have the opportunity to consult with my father again. That hurts more than words can say. I think I am pretty fortunate in my current situation with a fabulous husband who builds booskshelves and two wonderfully spirited kids (who I want to muzzle hourly).

I know you want to grant our readers and commenters a double giveaway, Marie. What books have you chosen? What do you want to ask our readers in order to enter your giveaway?
The same question you asked me! What historical period would you like to spend a day in the life of?
My giveaway is for two gently used books:

In The Company of a Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, which covers the life of a 16th century courtesan in Venice, and another book titled The Tsarina's Daughter by Carrolly Erickson, which is a novel featuring Nicholas and Alexandra's daughter Tatiana Romanov.

Thanks so much for having me, Maria Grazia,  it's been fun talking all about me!!

My pleasure, Marie!
So, that's all for today. Have a wonderful Sunday!
But don't go without leaving a comment, or answering Marie's question (What historical period would you like to spend a day in the life of?)
And don't forget to add your e-mail address. You'll have the chance to win the two books given away by Marie. The giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be announced on Monday 24th May.

You can find Marie at


Mel u said...

I would like to spend a day in Rome in the year 30BC-please enter me in this great giveaway-thanks

rereadinglives (at)gmail(dot)com

Unknown said...

I actually have two places I would love to visit Rome & The Tudor eras.

nancysoffice at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Loving Venice in the 1500's as per Dorothy Dunnett's wonderful Niccolo series as I do, I would like to tour all of Europe in the 1500's and be a resourceful woman who could handle men, horses, intrigue and a sword!

The Book Mole said...

What a nice interview! I love Marie's takes on blogging and I agree with her choice of the recent Emma and Northanger Abbey as really good tv adaptations.

I am a huge Jane Austen fan and enjoy Georgette Heyer too, so I would love to spend a day in Regency England.

Thank you, Maria, for the interview!

The Book Mole said...

Sorry, I would love to enter this giveaway - the Sarah Dunant book sounds good to me!

bookmole2 [at] yahoo (DOT)com

buddyt said...

I would love to be able to spend a day with Leonardo Da Vinci. He and his period have always fascinated me. I think that must have been a really interesting time in Italy.

Thanks for making the giveaway open worldwide.

Carol T

Buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

BurtonReview said...

Thanks everyone for visiting this post! I had great fun! I enjoy reading what eras others would like to visit as well, there is so much to explore!

Celticlady's Reviews said...

Marie is a great gal..when I started my blog last August, she was very helpful, with her suggestions. Thanks Marie!! Great interview...

I would also like to visit Tudor England in the time of Elizabeth I and in that time frame I would like to meet Grannuaile (Grace O'Malley) being of Irish descent I think that would be awesome....


Roberta said...

Love Marie and have been a follower of her blog, The Burton Review for some time now. Also a big fan of Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine. For me the period I would most like to visit would be in the great SOUTH when plantations were big and the owners had their city houses, like here is South Carolina with The Charles & Ashley Rivers and the beautiful city of Charleston. New Orleans is another favorite of mine. Probably because my first love was "Gone With The Wind"...I such a Tara Slut :D
Fondly, Roberta

Jennifer said...

Brilliant post, informative and fun and as an added bonus two books on my "to buy" list are being offered up, thank you for the chance! I would like to spend a day in the Tudor Court. Just a day, but I think it would be great fun to see how everyone behaved, granted I would have a high status and a wealthy husband so I would want for nothing. ;)

knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Unknown said...

Great interview! The time period I would most like to live in would be ancient Egypt.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

brokenteepee said...

I would love to go spend a day with Michelangelo. Can you imagine? He'd probably hit me for asking so many questions but CAN YOU IMAGINE?

thanks and great interview!
kaiminani at gmail.com

Judylynn said...

I think I would like to spend a day in King Henry VIII's court, as long as I can keep my head! :)


Lucy said...

What a lovely surprise to find Marie here! I love her!! She is not only all about that interesting stuff she shared with us all here- Marie is a wonderful friend- always there for me. So yes, I'm a big fan of her blog- but what draws me to it is more than the stuff she writes and presents on a daily basis is that she's a kind, thoughtful and most supportive person ever- and I really value her opinion (and ask it way too often-lol!) Maria Grazia, I'm so happy you featured Marie here...and really, we all have such an affinity that I'm really not surprised at all.
(Don't enter me though- since I already have both of these:)
Hugs to both of you,

mrsshukra said...

I think the late 1800s would be my pick, the end of a century is exciting!


BurtonReview said...

Thanks so much Lucy =)
and thank you to all the commenters who are anwering my qustion! It would be wonderful to spend a day in the eras you are mentioning. The Gone with the Wind mention is awesome as well.

Linda said...

Great interview - I follow Marie's blog and feel like I know her. I would like to spend a day at the court of Henry II and Eleanor, esp. if William Marshal was there too. Thanks for this generous giveaway.

Arch said...

I liked this interview with Marie. I would also like to take part in this double giveaway.

I have some Jane Austen books and I like them but haven't read many books from the Tudor era and would love to visit books from that era..


Reading said...

I would love to spend a day in Ancient Rome. I think that would be a facinating day.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Mystica said...

Would love to have lived in Renaissance Italy! Italy at any time actually. thanks so very much for hosting this giveaway and for making it international. Much appreciated.


LAMusing said...

Actually I have been fascinated by the Romanov's since I saw "Nicholas and Alexandria" as a child - so a day in the final year of their reign - the royal court still glittering (albeit with a softer glow), and revolution at the door.


LĂșthien84 said...

As always, a great interview. I always look forward to reading your guest blogger post.

Given a chance, I would like to spend my time in Georgian and Regency era in the company of high society and royalty.


Judy said...

Really enjoyed this interview - I also like historical fiction and am wondering, Marie, which Georgette Heyer would you suggest to start with? I did get one of hers out of the library at random but gather I got the wrong one - it was a true story set about a soldier and quite heavy-going, sorry, I don't remember the title. I'd love to spend a day in the 19th century - torn between the early years (Jane Austen period) and later in the century - but won't enter the giveaway as I'm also overflowing with books I haven't read! I know the feeling, Marie, especially as I've just spent four months ploughing through 'Les Miserables' and haven't been able to resist picking up lots of books here and there in the meantime!

Stiletto Storytime said...

I simply adored the latest adaptation of "Northanger Abbey" as well. Thanks for "The Kitchen House" recommendation...I had not heard of it. Will read!

Thanks again,

Patricia Edwards said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that painting of the two women reading at the top of this blog. Can you tell me what is called, the artist or where you found it. Love the blog too