I met Catherine Curzon on Twitter in her other guise as ''Madame Gilflurt, a glorious Georgian ginbag, gossip and gadabout''. Can't think why I started following her! Catherine blogs about fascinating bits of Georgian life - she is to the 18th century what I am to the 19th. So sit back and let her take you on a journey into her present and the past.
''It’s a real privilege to be invited to the pink sofa to chat about blogging, writing and the crowned heads of 18th century Europe!
From my earliest memory (well, not my earliest, that was breaking my arm and refusing to take my purple anorak off), my life has been full of stories. I was born in Nottinghamshire and growing up spent many long hours and the cottage on the edge of Sherwood Forest where my grandparents lived. My granddad was a great one for telling stories and he would keep us children entranced for hours with tales of outlaws in the forest, of ghosts flitting in the shadows and highwaymen on the roads.
It was my granddad who awakened my love of stories and when my gran bought me a paper dress up doll of Marie Antoinette and some generic bewigged courtiers, that was that and I was hooked. I loved the glamour of the costume and jewels and the gruesome tragedy of her demise and for a time, possibly quite a worry time for my parents, headless queens started popping up in my childhood drawings wherever I could shoehorn them in!
I have been writing fiction for a long time, everything from teenage horror to romantic thriller and onto timeslip yet I never submitted them for publication, sure that I would probably be rejected. I kept on writing though, because I had these stories that I felt like I had to tell, even if I was the only person reading them. I seemed only natural that I write something set in the period I loved and so, about four years ago, I entered National Novel Writing Month with a story of Georgian prostitutes and murderous peers.
As soon as I started writing, I found myself wishing I had tried my hand at historical fiction long ago. I love the sense of being taken back in time, the chance to lose myself in the 18th century and once NaNoWriMo was finished, I kept on writing. That novel eventually became The Mistress of Blackstairs, which I am inching ever closer to finishing but which has, for reasons which will become clear later on, had to take a backseat for a few months.
Many people have commented that writing historical fiction must be a nightmare of research but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For me, research is still an utter joy; there is always something new to discover about this remarkable era, a little gem in a gazetteer or a nugget of gossip in the letters of an apparently respectable lady!
I’m not sure what it was that prompted me, with my terror of letting anybody read my work, to start blogging, but I took the plunge in summer 2013 and I’m so glad I did. Each day I publish a story from the 18th century and I hoped that maybe a couple of hundred people might visit but the reception has been wonderful, far more than I could have hoped! My approach to blogging has to be super disciplined because I post daily so I gather notes, inspiration and stories from everywhere. As the blog has expanded I’ve been privileged to feature guest posts from the world of literature and academia and made wonderful friends all over the world and I’ve learned so much about the era that is my passion.
Despite the new characters I’ve uncovered, my favourite figure from the Georgian world has not changed. For many years I have had a very soft spot for Henry Fielding, a character I never tire of. In so many ways, Fielding captures everything was great about the long 18th century. Scandalous, irreverent, colourful and ground-breaking, his life is one that would seem far fetched in fiction!
At the close of 2014, I was contacted by a representative from Pen and Sword Books and, to cut a long story short, I am now under contract with them to write Life in the Georgian Court, a breathless romp through tales of 18th century royal scandals, marriages, grisly deaths and more! This truly is a dream come true and I still can’t quite believe it; for someone who set up a blog with the intention of giving it a few weeks to see how it went, it feels incredibly surreal and utterly wonderful. I have so many ideas for future works both fiction and non fiction, but for now, I am totally immersed in the worlds of the Bourbons, the Hanovers and more.
I may not be drawing headless queens whenever I get the chance but I can guarantee you that Marie Antoinette will definitely be there in the book, both with her head and without it!''
Glorious Georgian ginbag, gossip and gadabout Catherine Curzon, aka Madame Gilflurt, is the author of A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life. When not setting quill to paper, she can usually be found gadding about the tea shops and gaming rooms of the capital or hosting intimate gatherings at her tottering abode. In addition to her blog and Facebook, Madame G is also quite the charmer on Twitter. Her first book, Life in the Georgian Court, will be published by Pen and Sword Books in 2016.