I recently read and reviewed The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh, and I LOVED it, giving it 5/5* (which everyone knows is a rating that I rarely give!). I contacted the author, Marina Fiorato, who kindly agreed to be interviewed, and her Publisher has also offered a copy of the book for me to give away (see below – open to UK & Ireland residents only)!
R: Hi Marina, introduce yourself to Book Geek readers, and tell us a little about you – what do you do when you aren’t writing/blogging?
M: Hi! I’m Marina Fiorato, and I’m the author of 7 historical novels, mostly set in Renaissance Italy. When I’m not writing – and even when I am – I’m a mum of two so you’ll find me doing the school-run or cooking dinners in which I try to conceal the presence of vegetables.
R: What made you want to become a writer?
M: I wrote a lot at school – I even wrote my school’s Nativity play when I was ten years old and the school actually humored me and used my script! I wrote a kid’s novel about Vikings when I was fourteen, then at Uni I wrote another play, which went to the Edinburgh Fringe. That one wasn’t an unqualified success – once, I remember, there were more people in the cast than the audience! It was when I had my son that I really began thinking about writing seriously; I wanted to explore my heritage (my father was Venetian) a heritage that was now my child’s too. And that’s how I began what was to become The Glassblower of Murano, my first novel.
R: The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh is based on the true story of Mother Ross. How did you hear about Mother Ross, and what was it about her story that inspired you to tell it?
M: I love watching history documentaries on iPlayer, and I think it was on one presented by Simon Scharma that I first heard about Kit. I then tracked down her biography, which was written by Daniel Defoe, and found it incredible reading. I felt like if she was a man we’d all be learning about her in school. Kit didn’t just dress as a man, but she fought as a soldier in four bitter and bloody campaigns. Even then, she didn’t just scrape by and keep her head down; she fought so well she was actually decorated by the Duke of Marlborough himself. Then when a desperate rape victim claimed Kit was the father of her child, Kit not only defended the woman’s honour, but she agreed to support the child financially. I wish every girl in every school knew about Kit.