#Mythothon Author Interview | How Shakespeare and Camelot merge together in the duology [ Merlin’s Shakespeare ] by Carol Anne Douglas

Posted Thursday, 5 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Good morning, dear hearts!

September marks my second year participating in #Mythothon – wherein, a group of us who are book bloggers, bookish tweeters and readers love to gather together to celebrate the mutual love & affection we have in discovering the Mythologically Fantastical about the artfulness of re-tellings and after canons as they parlay through origins in Mythology and/or Mythological Myths which can be from a wide net of origins.

When I signed on for this blog tour, I thought it would be interesting to host an author whose merged together two of my personal favourite canons which is Shakespeare and Camelot. Of the two, over the past several years, I’ve read the most extensively through Camelot and I will be re-visiting it again this September, as part of my #Mythothon readings this year is a Non-Fiction account of Guinevere’s life called “The Once and Future Queen”. A bit lateron today, I’ll be revealling what I am reading for Mythothon Year 2 and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has selected to entreat into this lovely new niche of interest we are celebrating!

Ahead of the conversation, I have with Ms Douglas is an extract from the first story in the duology for Merlin’s Shakespeare. The author revealled in our conversation that this is a duology at this point in time rather than a continuing series where there are more installments. I hope you’ll enjoy this introduction to the first novel and gleam a bit more insight into how it was written as you read the responses by the author herself in our conversation.

Extract from ‘Merlin’s Shakespeare’ by Carol Anne Douglas

the first novel in the Merlin’s Shakespeare series; used with permission of the author

“If you are Merlin, why would you come to our school?” she asked.

“I have my reasons. Can you imagine that Merlin would explain himself to you? Or to anyone?” He frowned. “Can you prove that you are Beth Owens?” he asked scornfully.

“I have lots of papers that say so, and my teacher will agree that I am,” Beth said, though it was clear that he already knew the answer.

“But may I ask why you honor us with a visit?” Ms. Capulet’s voice was reverent. She gazed at him as if he were the combination of a movie star and a religious leader.

Apparently the teacher’s manner was humble enough to mollify Merlin. “I came to teach Beth how to channel her magic,” the wizard said. He turned to Beth. “You have magical powers, and you love Shakespeare. Th at is a combination I need. I could use you as a researcher on Shakespeare’s plays.”

If he needed something from her, Beth wasn’t going to be speechless. “Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?” she asked. She had heard that some people believed he wasn’t the one who had written the plays.

“Did William Shakespeare really write all those plays?”

“Of course Shakespeare was Shakespeare.” Merlin looked at her as if she had said a pig was a chimpanzee.

“Some people say an actor couldn’t have known enough about kings or court life to have written the plays.”

“Of course he didn’t know enough. That was why I helped him,” Merlin said. “I saw that he had great ability as a poet, and I helped him travel to worlds where he would get the experience he needed. His plays are magic. He provided the art; I provided the magic.”

“Oh.” Beth paused to take in this information. A genius and a wizard working together. Th at made sense to her. “But how can you still be on this earth?” Merlin didn’t look like a ghost. “Are you dead or alive?”

“I am immortal,” Merlin said, looking down at her though he wasn’t much taller than Beth. “But I allow only a few people to see me.”

“Why do you think I could help you?” Beth asked.

Merlin rubbed his beard. Th ere was a gleam in his eye. “Not just because you have a talent for wizardry,” he said. “It is better to call you a wizard than a witch, I think. Safer for you.”

“Even today it is,” Ms. Capulet agreed. “Men who can do magic are seen as potentially great, but people too often think that women who can do the same thing are evil.”

“I have a task for you, Beth,” Merlin told her. He sat down on one of the auditorium seats near hers. “There is one great lack in Shakespeare’s writings. I helped him for a reason. I wanted him to write a play about King Arthur.” He paused.

“But there isn’t any Shakespeare play about King Arthur,” Beth said.

“There is not. Or there does not seem to be.” Merlin frowned. “I gave Will all he needed. Knowledge of kings, knowledge of battles. But he used bits and pieces in other plays, and never wrote the one I most desired. Or he did not appear to. There may be such a play, but it may be hidden.”

“A lost Shakespeare play!” Ms. Capulet gasped. “That would be incredibly valuable.”

“Beyond measure,” Merlin said, “especially to me. Not just any play, but the one that was to be his crowning glory.”

Beth wanted to giggle, because “crowning glory” in this instance sounded like a pun, but she refrained because Merlin intimidated her.

“If you, who are so powerful, can’t find it, why do you think I could? I’m just a teenager.”

“People might tell you things that they would not tell me,” Merlin said. “You have some magical powers—untried and unschooled, it is true—and you love Shakespeare and learn the lines quickly. You also have some talent for acting.”

“Thank you.” Beth felt proud. If she had impressed Merlin, she must be good. “But what people would know anything about this play, if it exists?”

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The Merlin’s Shakespeare duology:

Merlin's Shakespeare by Carol Anne DouglasThe Mercutio Problem by Carol Anne Douglas

Merlin’s Shakespeare | book one

Beth loves Shakespeare’s plays, but does she want risk her life for them?

The immortal wizard Merlin transports high school actor Beth Owens to Shakespeare’s London and the worlds of Shakespeare’s characters in search of a missing play about King Arthur. Mercutio guides her and flirts with her, but Richard III threatens her sanity, her friends’ lives, and the integrity of Shakespeare’s plays.

The Mercutio Problem | Book Two

High school actor Beth Owens faces a new challenge: She needs to bring a Shakespearean character she loves back from the dead. But she has to become a man and risk her life to do it. Richard III still menaces her.

Genres: Shakespeare | Camelot | Mythological Re-tellings / After Canons

Young Adult | Fantasy Adventure | Time Travel or Shift

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When I first learnt of this series, I must say I was quite captured by the title “Merlin’s Shakespeare” – what did you want readers to first recognise by the title itself and the promise of the series?

Douglas responds: I wanted readers to realize that the book would include magic and would involve both part of the Arthurian legend and Shakespeare’s works. The title implies that Merlin has a connection with Shakespeare, and even feels proprietary about his work.

What was the hardest part about connecting the canon of Shakespeare into the Camelot canon wherein Merlin would play a key role in giving young adult (or adult) readers a chance to dig into Shakespeare with an adventurous plotting that would hold their eyes not just in the series as it evolves but a chance to reach into the other canons?

Douglas responds: Writing the books wasn’t hard. It was pure joy. I loved playing with the canons.

When did you first get smitten by Shakespeare and Camelot? What held your heart into both and what did you want to pull forward into your own series?

Douglas responds: I was first smitten with Camelot when I was an adolescent and read some versions of it. When I visited my aunt in New York City, she took me to see Camelot with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. That increased my enthusiasm.

The first Shakespeare play I heard was a recording of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that my mother gave me when I was about 10. I enjoyed that, but didn’t encounter Shakespeare again until high school. I liked the plays we read, but I didn’t develop a passion for Shakespeare until much later. I live in Washington, D.C., where there are two major Shakespeare theaters, so I had the opportunity to attend plays. I also watched various movie versions. I think one loves Shakespeare more the older one is, or at least that was true for me.

I wanted my series to have interesting characters. Where better to find them than in the Arthurian legends and Shakespeare’s works?

Of the minor characters in your series whom holds the most joy to write and why?

Douglas responds: That raises the question of which characters are minor. I suppose Bottom the Weaver from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I loved having him talk about all the Shakespearean characters he wants to play.

What do you think is the most fun of developing a young adult series and what did you learn from developing this one that surprised you?

Douglas responds: Writing the series was pure joy. I enjoyed every minute of writing it. It was the most enjoyable project I’ve ever undertaken.

Of all the plays of Shakespeare which was your favourite to read and how did it connect with you?

Douglas responds: I suppose it has to be Hamlet. Someone I love died in an accident that was caused by someone’s criminal negligence. I watched every video of Hamlet I could find as a way of exercising my desire for revenge that I of course wouldn’t carry out.

Which aspects of Camelot inspired you to use Merlin as a guiding character through your series? Was it the ancient wisdom he portells through his experiences or was it something else?

Douglas responds: I chose Merlin because he could make magic happen. In my books, he’s a curmudgeon, but has principles.

How did you want to use the time slip device in your novel to truly peer into the perils of Shakespeare’s time against the cross-realties of the contemporary characters who are trying to sort out that dimensional shift?

Douglas responds: Beth is dressed as a boy when she’s in Shakespeare’s time because she would be safer as a boy. But still she faces perils in crime-ridden London because she’s on her own in a way that she would not be in her protected suburban environment in Bethesda, Maryland.

What was the hardest part about developing the antagonist for your series Richard III?

Douglas responds: Richard III (Shakespeare’s version) handed me many lines. I just put the character into a different setting. He’s an entertaining villain because he gloats over his villainy.

What was your favourite part of the setting for the series and what was the most fun to highlight visually?

Douglas responds: I suppose that Macbeth’s castle was the most interesting setting to develop.

How many stories do you plan to write in the series and is there a final showdown between Beth and Richard III?

Douglas responds: At this point, Book Two is the final book, and its ending is the final showdown.

When your not researching or writing your stories what uplifts your spirit the most?

Douglas responds: I love being in nature. I’m a birdwatcher and I often visit the national parks.

About Carol Anne Douglas

Carol Anne Douglas

Carol Anne Douglas has loved Shakespeare since she watched A Midsummer Night's Dream when she was a child. She identifies with the character Nick Bottom because she wants to play every part, which only a writer can do. She is an avid reader of Arthurian and Shakespearean literature. Her previous fantasy novels, Lancelot: Her Story and Lancelot and Guinevere, feature Lancelot as a woman in disguise. When Douglas isn't reading or writing, she spends as much time as she can in the national parks, hiking and watching wildlife. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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This interview is courtesy of:

Merlin's Shakespeare blog tour via Lola's Book ToursFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Merlin’s Shakespeare” and “The Mercutio Problem” as well as the synopsis for both novels, the author’s photo and biography, the extract from “Merlin’s Shakespeare”, the blog tour banner and the tour host banner were all provided by Lola’s Blog Tours and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Conversations with the Bookish banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 5 September, 2019 by jorielov in #Mythothon, Blog Tour Host, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Lola's Blog Tours, Self-Published Author, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, YA Fantasy

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