Hello everyone,

Research is a constant, ongoing process while writing historical fiction. Sometimes a fascinating tidbit surfaces that might be of particular interest beyond its use in a novel. As I continue to work in the historical fiction field, I will post those occasional points of interest here. Occasionally I muse on the writing process as well along with news to keep readers informed of what's going on with my books and other writings.

Please feel free to post comments--I'd love to hear from you.

The photo above is of Snowdonia in North Wales, which plays a large part in the setting of the Macsen's Treasure Series.


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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Interview with the Steamboat Today

Local author finds mystery in history
By Margaret Hair Saturday, December 12, 2009

Steamboat Springs — Kathi Guler jumped into a 27-year writing project after what she calls “a moment of great egotism.”

“Originally, it was going to be one book, just to see if I could do it,” the Steamboat Springs author, who writes under the name Kathleen Cunningham Guler, said about her four-part Macsen’s Treasure Series.

“I had read this other historical novel that I didn’t find very good. I thought, ‘Gosh, I could do better than that,’” she said.

That was in February 1982. Sixteen years, a library of books worth of reading and a research trip to the United Kingdom later, Guler had “Into the Path of the Gods,” the first book in her series.

With almost 10 years behind her since that first release, Guler is promoting the fourth and final Macsen’s Treasure novel, a historical spy thriller called “A Land Beyond Ravens.” She will sign copies of the book and answer questions at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Epilogue Book Co.

“A Land Beyond Ravens” closes the evolution of Guler’s main character, a fifth century British spy named Marcus ap Iorwerth. Marcus and his wife, Claerwen, work through the series to unite factions to defend against a Saxon invasion.

“I’ve always been interested in history, and when I read Mary Stewart’s ‘Merlin Trilogy,’ that got my interest going,” Guler said about the series. She flipped to the further reading section of Stewart’s books and started plowing through the listed titles. Guler has built her own library of about 1,000 books on related topics, she said.

“The history behind this time is very interesting. I probably would have been an archaeologist if I hadn’t done everything else in my life,” she said.

Guler’s series takes place in the last third of the fifth century, around the time King Arthur is supposed to have lived. The mystery and lack of documentation from that time inspired Guler — who also credits some of her interest to her Scottish and Welsh ancestry — to frame her story as a spy novel with Marcus as the leading role, she said.

“He’s kind of one of these James Bond meets MacGyver meets Braveheart kind of characters,” she said. Guler hopes fans come away from the series with more than a good read.

“One thing I like for people to take away from the series is how resilient people are. Even in times of war and great stress and disaster, we’re resilient, and we try to find a way out of it. I think that’s the appeal people find in the Arthurian legend,” she said.

The Steamboat Springs Writers Group offered workshop tips for the second, third and fourth Macsen’s Treasure books. Guler moved to Steam­boat Springs in 1990 and has been a member of the writers group since 1998. At weekly meetings, Guler’s peers pointed out any gaps in plot or character development or dialogue in a way that was honest but not critical, she said.

There are ideas for a new project, possibly a series of interconnected short stories set in different historical periods, she said.

Books from the Macsen’s Treasure Series are available locally at Epilogue and online at www.amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as at Guler’s publisher’s Web site, www.bardsongpress.com.
Photo credit: John F. Russell from Steamboat Today