|At Long Point Farm (My grandmother, Norah O'Connor, is the small girl on the left.)|
CW: Tell us why you choose to write.
EMV: I have been writing since I learned to put two sentences together. I started keeping a diary at age seven. Writing has always been such an integral part of my life; it hardly seems like a choice. It is just something I must do.
CW: “The Paradise Tree” has a very unusual setting. Tell us why you were drawn to Ontario.
EMV: I spent many glorious summer vacations in Ontario in the vicinity where the novel is set. It is a place of beauty and mystery as well as family memories and deep ancestral roots.
CW: Your website mentioned that you took a lot of pains to be authentic. What kind of research did that entail?
EMV: It entailed finding long lost fourth cousins who had family heirlooms and documents that would provide me with the detailed information. It is the little things that make a novel authentic. I spent time at the Brockville Historical Society searching through deeds and records that mentioned family members and their property. It meant interviewing some of my older relatives (now deceased) who had memories of the children of Daniel and Brigit O’Connor. I studied old photographs and old maps and read lots of rare, out-of-print history books.
CW: You’ve published several books, all in different eras. Do you have a favorite?
EMV: My personal favorite is Madame Royale, the story of the only survivor of the family of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
CW: Random question: If you could have a drink with a historical personage, who would it be?
The Paradise Tree is available internationally from Amazon. ShareEMV: I would love to share a bottle of wine with Louis XVI. The King read widely; I would have enjoyed talking about books with him. (Read more.)