C. P. Lesley is a writer, and author of the book Song of the Sisters: Songs of Steppe and Forest 3.
Everywhere young Russian noblewoman Darya Sheremeteva turns, someone in her circle of family and friends reminds her that she exists to serve a single purpose: to marry a powerful man selected by her male relatives and bear children, preferably sons, to continue his line. But after years in isolation nursing her elderly father, Darya questions whether marriage and motherhood constitute the best, never mind the only, future for a woman of twenty-five. Should she not instead take monastic vows and surrender her will to the soaring ritual of the Orthodox Church? When a cousin lays claim to her father's estate, Darya's decision acquires a new urgency. Because this cousin will stop at nothing to advance his career, and his most valuable asset is Darya herself. Years ago, C. P. Lesley decided to focus on sixteenth-century Russia. After all, they say, “write what you know,” and as a historian with a Stanford doctorate, that’s what she knew. It was also a time and place filled with exciting and dramatic events, some of which defy belief. The result was a mystery story set in 1530s Moscow about a young couple resolving a series of crimes by combining clues they pick up in the gender-segregated worlds of husbands and wives. Although she didn’t complete that novel, the original idea gave rise to The Golden Lynx, which became the basis of a series called Legends of the Five Directions and led to her becoming the host of New Books in Historical Fiction here on the New Books Network.  After almost a decade spent creating an entire world of characters, she couldn’t bear to let them go, and the result is Songs of Steppe & Forest, a less tightly linked set of books that exist in the same story space five to ten years later and feature characters who, for one reason or another, took a back seat in the Legends novels. Songs of Steppe and Forest will answer the question, “What made Ivan the Terrible so terrible?”. When not thinking up new ways to torture her characters, C.P. Lesley edits other people's manuscripts, reads voraciously, maintains her website, and practices classical ballet. That love of ballet also finds expression in her Tarkei Chronicles series, "Desert Flower" and "Kingdom of the Shades." I interview authors of beautifully written literary fiction and mysteries, and try to focus on independently published novels, especially by women and others whose voices deserve more attention. If your upcoming or recently published novel might be a candidate for a podcast, please contact me via my website, gpgottlieb.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/new-books-network
Since being sold into slavery as a child and working her way up to becoming concubine and mistress for several different men, Lady Juliana's survival has depended on her allure. Then her place in the world is shattered by a debilitating illness and she is spurned by the entire Polish royal court. Enter Felix Ossolinski—scholar, diplomat, Renaissance man. A riding accident in his teens forced him to redirect his energies from war to the life of the mind, and alone among the men of the sixteenth-century Polish court, he sees in Juliana a kindred spirit, a woman who has never appreciated her own value and whose inner beauty outweighs any marring of her face. Then the Polish queen offers Juliana a way out of her difficulties: travel to Moscow with Felix and spy for the royal family in return for a promise of financial independence. Facing poverty and degradation, Juliana cannot refuse, although the mission threatens not only her freedom but her life. Felix swears he will protect her. But no one can protect Juliana from the demons of her past. Join me for a discussion with C. P. Lesley about her new novel Song of the Siren (Five Directions Press 2019). Carolyn Pouncy (who holds a PhD in Russian history from Stanford University) writes under the pen name C. P. Lesley (who doesn’t exist and has no degrees). Carolyn (aka C.P.) is the author of The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel, The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess , The Vermilion Bird, and The Shattered Drum. Song of the Siren is the first in her newest series, Songs of Steppe & Forest, based on 16th-century Russian history. When not thinking up new ways to torture her characters, she edits other people’s manuscripts, reads voraciously, maintains her website, and practices classical ballet. That love of ballet finds expression in her Tarkei Chronicles. A historian by profession, she also hosts New Books in Historical Fiction for the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Since being sold into slavery as a child and working her way up to becoming concubine and mistress for several different men, Lady Juliana's survival has depended on her allure. Then her place in the world is shattered by a debilitating illness and she is spurned by the entire Polish royal court. Enter Felix Ossolinski—scholar, diplomat, Renaissance man. A riding accident in his teens forced him to redirect his energies from war to the life of the mind, and alone among the men of the sixteenth-century Polish court, he sees in Juliana a kindred spirit, a woman who has never appreciated her own value and whose inner beauty outweighs any marring of her face. Then the Polish queen offers Juliana a way out of her difficulties: travel to Moscow with Felix and spy for the royal family in return for a promise of financial independence. Facing poverty and degradation, Juliana cannot refuse, although the mission threatens not only her freedom but her life. Felix swears he will protect her. But no one can protect Juliana from the demons of her past. Join me for a discussion with C. P. Lesley about her new novel Song of the Siren (Five Directions Press 2019).Carolyn Pouncy (who holds a PhD in Russian history from Stanford University) writes under the pen name C. P. Lesley (who doesn’t exist and has no degrees). Carolyn (aka C.P.) is the author of The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel, The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess , The Vermilion Bird, and The Shattered Drum. Song of the Siren is the first in her newest series, Songs of Steppe & Forest, based on 16th-century Russian history. When not thinking up new ways to torture her characters, she edits other people’s manuscripts, reads voraciously, maintains her website, and practices classical ballet. That love of ballet finds expression in her Tarkei Chronicles. A historian by profession, she also hosts New Books in Historical Fiction for the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For more than three centuries after the Mongol conquest of 1240, the rulers of the Golden Horde played a major role in Eurasian politics, both directly and indirectly. One of the states most affected was Russia, where the ruling house of Moscow played the post-conquest political game so successfully that it made itself the center of the resurgent Russian tsardom. In her Legends of the Five Directions series, C. P. Lesley explores the dramatic potential of that distant and often conflict-ridden world. The Swan Princess (Five Directions Press, 2016)–third in the Legends series–returns to the story of Nasan, heroine of book 1, The Golden Lynx. Despite her high standing as a Tatar khan’s daughter and two years of marriage to a husband she has learned to love, Nasan has yet to bear a child. As a result, her status within her in-laws’ household is compromised. Her husband has been sent faraway; her snippy sister-in-law seldom misses a chance to score a point; and her mother-in-law, the mainstay of the household, has fallen seriously ill but is nonetheless determined to undertake a pilgrimage to a northern monastery. Nasan has reached her wit’s end when her older brother offers her an out: ride ahead and prepare the family estate for visitors while secretly investigating a renegade member of their family. Nasan jumps at the chance to strike out on her own. What she does not know is that her most bitter enemy has escaped from his Arctic prison, and he wants nothing more than to avenge himself on his relatives, starting with Nasan. C. P. Lesley is the host of New Books in Historical Fiction. Joan Schweighardt, author of The Last Wife of Attila the Hun and five other novels, conducted this interview. Find out more about her at www.joanschweighardt.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/historical-fiction
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Creator Details

Episode Count
4
Podcast Count
3
Total Airtime
2 hours, 42 minutes
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Podchaser Creator ID logo 753154