Why a Race To Splendor?

August 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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Meet Julia Morgan, the first licensed woman architect in California

My husband and I “met’ this extraordinary person when we moved to San Francisco eleven years ago and ended up living in a building designed by her shortly after the cataclysmic 1906 San Francisco earthquake and firestorm.  She, of course, was the very woman who (finally) won the commission to restore the Fairmont Hotel (as I mentioned in my previous blog post), a few blocks from where we first lived on Nob Hill.

Our building on the corner of Taylor and Jackson streets had been commissioned by a woman physician.  San Francisco was still considered the Wild, Wild West at the turn of the twentieth century, so perhaps a woman doctor was admitted into the local medical fraternity because there weren’t many doctors at all in California in those days. Read more

Revisting Jane Maxwell

June 14, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

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In revisiting something this writer penned two decades earlier, it was invigorating to think about the qualities of my heroine in Island of the Swans– Jane Maxwell, the 4th Duchess of Gordon—and the qualities in  her that I so admired…and to evaluate whether my portrayal was truly a close characterization of her.

I think I portrayed her as near reality as a writer could while still remembering to be a “storyteller”—which is the first duty of historical novelists, in my view.  Read more