In addition to her career as a novelist, Ciji Ware was a reporter and commentator on radio and television in Los Angeles for more than twenty years. She majored in history and was the first woman graduate of Harvard College to serve as president of the University's worldwide Harvard Alumni Association. Her numerous awards include an Emmy, and a Dupont for her television work, a Silver Gavel for magazine journalism, and the Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence for her historical novel, Island of the Swans. Ciji is also a sought-after event speaker, print journalist, and the author of 6 historical novels, as well as the nonfiction work Rightsizing Your Life --selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the "Top 5 Books on Retirement" for 2007. She lives with her husband, Internet Marketing executive Tony Cook, in the maritime village of Sausalito, seven minutes across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. She often commutes to New York to visit her grown son and daughter-in-law.
ISLAND OF THE SWANS plus 5 other titles over 2010-2011
Do you use myspace, facebook, twitter, or other social networking sites? If so, how do we find you on those sites?
As Ciji Ware I am on Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo Twitter
What books are you currently reading?
Mademoiselle Victorine by Debra Finerman Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Rereading Winter Solstice
by Rosamunde Pilcher
What are your favorite books?
Green Darkness by Anya Seton All Daphne du Mauriers, especially The House on the Strand All Jane Austen, especially Sense & Sensibility The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher Jaqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series Forever Amber and Gone with the Wind, of course!
What books would you recommend to your readers?
All of the above, plus a relatively new author I've recently begun to read, Tasha Alexander, who writes delightful Regency mysteries.
Any message to your readers?
Growing up, I loved nothing better than to read a novel that swept me into a different world, an earlier era, and to feel by the last page that I'd experienced living in a different century and traveled on a journey with people I now loved and would remember always. I write what I love to read.
What is your book about? Please provide a description.
ISLAND OF THE SWANS: Called by some "The Gone with the Wind of Scotland" the novel tells the sweeping saga of an aristocratic woman, torn by the love of two powerful men, and raised to the pinnacle of influence during the American War of Independence and the Madness Crisis of King George III.
Best friends in childhood, Jane Maxwell and Thomas Fraser wreaked havoc on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh with their juvenile pranks and disdain for the throne of England. But years later, when Jane blossoms into a beautiful Woman of Fashion, Thomas becomes the only man she wants.
When he is reportedly killed in the American colonies, the handsome, charismatic Alexander, Duke of Gordon woes her into a marriage of more than convenience. Yet Thomas did not die and returns to sweep Jane into a turbulent clash of wills, risking disaster by flaunting Society's every convention.
Based on historical figures, one critic wrote of this novel, "Do not start unless you want to be up all night!"
How long have you been at work on this book?
This book was written between 1983 and 1987, and first published in 1989 by Random House/Bantam. Ware made 4 trips to Scotland to research the historical record, and held a Readership in 18th c. British-American history at the famed Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.
How did the idea originate?
My great grandmother, Elfie McCullough, claimed that our McCullough ancestors in Ayrshire had married into the Maxwells of Monreith a generation or so before Jane Maxwell, 4th Duchess of Gordon, was born--and hence she maintained that our family was descended from the mighty House of Gordon.
During five years of research and writing, I could never absolutely pin down that link, but my recounting of Jane's tumultuous tale sent me on a journey that forever changed my life.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
In the course of unraveling the complicated life of the heroine of ISLAND OF THE SWANS, my husband, son and I were invited to stay at Kinrara House, the country mansion built by the Jane Maxwell, 4th Duchess of Gordon and I slept in the Duchess' bedroom overlooking the River Spey.
I also became acquainted with the descendant of the principal villain in the story, Simon Fraser, and was treated to a weekend at Balblair house, hosted by the late Lady Rose and Lord Simon Lovat of Fraser--also distant kin to the the dashing hero, Lieutenant Thomas Fraser of the 78th Fraser Highlanders. I wrote this novel in off hours from my very modern job as the only woman commentator on a morning "drive time" radio program on KABC in Los Angeles.