This interview with Lisa Klein is part of the blog tour for her new novel, Cate of the Lost Colony. I previously reviewed the book on my blog and you can read my review here. To learn more about Cate of the Lost Colony and Lisa Klein's other books you can visit her website.
What inspired you to write a novel for young adults about the Lost Colony of Roanoke?
I was in a bookstore and saw a book about the Roanoke voyages and thought, “I know nothing about this chapter of American history.” So I read the book and thought, “Wow, there’s a great story here.” When I told people about the topic, they would get excited and ask me, “What happened to those colonists?” I said I didn’t exactly know. Which really motivated me to write about it until I had an answer.
The settings of Elizabethan England, the sea journey, and Roanoke really come alive, along with the real historical people featured in the story. What kind of research did you do to bring the place, time, and people to life? Did you visit any of the locations featured in the book?
I read everything I could find about the Roanoke voyages—the primary accounts as well as what scholars have written about what probably happened. I read biographies of Queen Elizabeth and Walter Ralegh. I went to Roanoke Island, the Outer Banks and Manteo , North Carolina , and historic Jamestown , where you can see reconstructed ships and forts and houses of the time. I also relied on what I knew about the Elizabethan period from my years of teaching Shakespeare.
What do you hope readers will learn from Cate’s story?
I didn’t write to teach my readers anything at all. I hope they will enjoy Cate’s story and through her, live the past vicariously, as I did while writing. In the process, it’s great if they happen to learn something they didn’t know before. But it’s not required. And there will not be a test!
Your historical novels are set in some very different places & times. If you could go back in time for a day (with guaranteed safety!) what place and time would you like to visit?
Thanks for the promise of guaranteed safety. That opens up my options a lot. I could go to medieval Europe during the plague, or the Gettysburg battlefield. But I’d probably choose London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Can’t I stay longer than just one day?
What are some of your own favorite books and authors?
I just can’t answer this, because I have so many, and I always feel like I’m being unfair by singling out some and not others. I love any book that tells a good story (fictional or not) in an engaging way.
Can you tell us anything about your next book?
A little. I’m not too far along, but I will say that it is Shakespeare-themed, but more of a romantic comedy, with young Will himself as a character who shares the stage with a cross-dressing heroine.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I love, love, love writing books for you to read! There’s no job I’d rather have than this one.