It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Cristina Morato, author of Divine Lola.
About Cristina Morato:
Born in Barcelona in 1961, Cristina Morató is a journalist, reporter, and author dedicated to writing about the lives of great women innovators and explorers that history has overlooked. Her research, tracing the footsteps of these remarkable women, has led her to travel to more than forty countries and has resulted in eight biographies: Viajeras intrépidas y aventureras (Intrepid and Adventurous Women Travelers); Las Reinas de África (African Queens); Las Damas de Oriente (Ladies of the East); Cautiva en Arabia (Arabian Captive); Divas rebeldes (Rebel Divas); Reinas malditas (Tragic Queens); Diosas de Hollywood (Hollywood Goddesses); and Divina Lola (Divine Lola), Cristina’s first to be translated into English. She is a founding member and the current vice president of the Spanish Geographical Society and belongs to the Royal Geographic Society of London. For more information visit www.cristinamorato.com.
About Divine Lola:
An enthralling biography about one of the most intriguing women of the Victorian age: the first self-invented international social celebrity.
Lola Montez was one of the most celebrated and notorious women of the nineteenth century. A raven-haired Andalusian who performed her scandalous “Spider Dance” in the greatest performance halls across Europe, she dazzled and beguiled all who met her with her astonishing beauty, sexuality, and shocking disregard for propriety. But Lola was an impostor, a self-invention. Born Eliza Gilbert, the beautiful Irish wild child escaped a stifling marriage and reimagined herself as Lola the Sevillian flamenco dancer and noblewoman, choosing a life of adventure, fame, sex, and scandal rather than submitting to the strictures of her era.
Lola cast her spell on the European aristocracy and the most famous intellectuals and artists of the time, including Alexandre Dumas, Franz Liszt, and George Sand, and became the obsession of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. She then set out for the New World, arriving in San Francisco at the height of the gold rush, where she lived like a pioneer and performed for rowdy miners before making her way to New York. There, her inevitable downfall was every bit as dramatic as her rise. Yet there was one final reinvention to come for the most defiant woman of the Victorian age—a woman known as a “savage beauty” who was idolized, romanticized, vilified, truly known by no one, and a century ahead of her time.
Author Interview with Cristina Morato:
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- Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
All my books have a common ground: all of them are Women’s biographies. Women unjustly forgotten by History; from travellers and explorers to Queens and women of power.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Depending on the character the research process may take from one to two years. I do not only research documents in archives but I travel to the places these characters lived in.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
As I am also a journalist and photographer and have worked many years in different countries I would take again on my great passion and travel the world.
- What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing as a journalist for different media. Then I received a commission to write an essay about Women and Travel and discovered so many unknown names that I decided to honour them and take them to the public, as a tribute.
- What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
I would tell her to follow her real passion, to write everyday, to read a lot and to write from the heart. To be authentic.
- Describe your writing space.
This is the place where I spent most of my time and I strive to create a warm environment that inspires me. It is large, full of natural light, surrounded by plants and mementos from my travels.
- Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I am very active in social media and have an important community. I think it is a very important and attractive channel for a writer to communicate with readers. You get their opinions and suggestions, and they are very relevant.
- If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
In Divine Lola, as the main character is a false spanish woman, I think that Latin actors like Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek would be perfect for the Lola part.
- How many bookshelves are in your house?
I live surrounded by books and I am especially proud of my main library with more than 2.500 titles, most of them about women travellers.
- If you could only have one season, what would it be?
Curious, passionate and adventuress