Frequently Asked Questions
Where do you get your ideas?
As a passionate student of history, I’m never at a loss for inspiration. Sometimes I come across an intriguing nugget while researching another book; sometimes I feel a story surging around me when I visit a particular place. Newspaper articles, family tales, old letters, old movies, operas—all of them set my brain in motion. What intrigues me most about the past is not the grand historical event, however; it’s the people who existed inside that history, for whom it was their present reality. I want to immerse my readers in that experience, to set them down in another time and place and invite them to understand that world as a vital glass through which to understand our own. The truths I want to illuminate come from historical details, not historical events writ large; from human dramas, not from headlines.
Does it matter in which order I read your novels?
Other than the Prohibition series I began with The Wicked City, I write all my books to stand alone, and you’ll enjoy reading them in any order. That being said, I started creating my shared fictional universe with A Hundred Summers in 2013, and if you’re a stickler for sequence, you might prefer to read them in order of publication. Even if you’re not, I’d recommend reading the so-called “Schuyler sister” novels in sequence—The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Tiny Little Thing, and Along the Infinite Sea—not because it’s necessary, but because you might otherwise encounter a spoiler or two.
Do you have any other authors you recommend?
I love Karen White and Lauren Willig so much, we actually write novels together—our first collaboration, The Forgotten Room, wove together three generations of women inside a Gilded Age mansion, and was an instant bestseller. Other favorites include Patrick O’Brian, Daphne du Maurier, Sebastian Faulks, Liane Moriarty, Deanna Raybourn, Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley,…and from the classics shelf, Waugh, Fitzgerald, Austen, the Brontes, Trollope, Dumas, Woolf, and Wharton.
Do you write under a pen name?
My mainstream historical fiction all appears under my real name, Beatriz Williams. I have also written eight award-winning works of historical romance and historical mystery as Juliana Gray.