Thursday, January 25, 2007

Guest blogger of the month - Jennifer Kloester

We're very fortunate to have Jennifer Kloester with us this month as our guest blogger. Heyer fans will already know Jennifer through her wonderful book, Georgette Heyer's Regency World , which is the ultimate, definitive guide to Georgette Heyer's world: her heroines, her villains and dashing heroes, the shops, clubs and towns they frequented, the parties and seasons they celebrated, how they ate, drank, dressed, socialized, shopped and drove. A great read for any Heyer fan!

Now Jennifer is at work on a new biography of Heyer, and here she talks to us about it.

"I am currently writing what I hope will be the first comprehensive critical and literary biography of the bestselling historical novelist, Georgette Heyer. Read and loved by millions around the world, Heyer remains an enigma. During her lifetime she neither gave interviews nor appeared in public and her biography was limited to 18 lines in Who’s Who. Since her death only one biography has been published (Jane Aiken Hodge’s The Private World of Georgette Heyer) in which the author regretfully acknowledged the scarcity of information about the first forty years of Heyer’s life.

During the past six years of research into Heyer’s life and writing I have been fortunate to discover several unworked archives of Heyer letters as well as a great deal of new information her family, her formative years in Wimbledon and the first twenty years of her writing career. This research continues on a daily basis and I now have over 1,000 pages of letters dating from 1921 as a well as a fascinating collection of other material relating to her life. Heyer’s son has also granted me repeated access to her notebooks and private papers and has been extremely generous in his support of my research. His copyright permission will be essential for the biography to be published in its fullest form.

The manuscript will be completed in November 2007 and has yet to be offered to a publisher. The story of Georgette Heyer’s life and development into one of the great historical novelists is a fascinating one. Every day brings some new discovery that draws me further into her world and helps me to see and understand many of the underlying ideas and attitudes that formed her and which resonate throughout the novels. As a woman writer, as a writer for women, as a writer of romance and a writer of historical fiction, Georgette Heyer remains extraordinarily popular, and yet for these same reasons she has also been largely ignored by the literary world. She is a phenomenon who deserves investigation and explanation and this is the aim of the Georgette Heyer biography."

That is one book we would all love to see!

Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to come and talk to us here on Historical Romance UK.


Mags said...

Hey! I literally just received this book this week! Looking forward very much to reading it. I also bought the Jane Aiken Hodge biography of Heyer. I've read it before but was not able to own it until the relatively recent paperback reissue (read library copy several times). I'm on a GH kick lately, also bought the "Critical Retrospective" book. And how exciting, a new biography to look forward to!

You know what I'd REALLY like to see relative to Georgette Heyer? (And since I have not yet read Ms. Kloester's book I don't know that it does not already include this.) I'd really like to see the publication of Miss Heyer's infamous notebooks. Since (according to Aiken Hodge) there are a lot of photos and things cut out from magazines and glued in without attribution, I don't know if that is possible, though I'd love to see her traced fashion plates and her listings of slang terms, that sort of thing, which are probably mostly from old and out of copyright books anyway. The tantalizing photos of the notebooks in the Aiken Hodge book are just an evil tease.

(Have you seen them? Have you touched them? Ooooh! I think I'm a little jealous.)

Karen said...

I have just started reading this book & am enjoying it so far, being an avid Heyer fan! I would just like to know (& maybe it is explained further through the book)why there are only 26 novels listed?? I have 38 of the 40 Heyer Regency novels in my collection & feel that missing out such gems as 'These Old Shades' & her first book 'The Black Moth' is disappointing, to say the least!