Catherine Czerkawska speaks with Cherise Saywell about her fascination with Jean Armour, the greatly underestimated wife of Scots bard Robert Burns, and discusses writing history as fiction, and her own professional journey.
Catherine Czerkawska considers the pleasures and drawbacks of writing a series of novels, looking at various celebrated examples, from Agatha Christie’s Poirot stories to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and wondering if she too has the stamina to sustain a lengthy series.
A passion for collecting vintage textiles – christening gowns, embroidered samplers, and lacework – has always run parallel with Catherine Czerkawska’s interest in writing historical fiction. Here she talks about a lifelong interest in these rare and beautiful items, and the ways in which they have been woven into her writing.
Robert Burns is better known for his love affairs with women than for his marriage. But his wife, Jean Armour, was not the homely ‘heifer’ some historians have tried to make her out to be. She was a fine singer and a collector of ballads, argues Catherine Czerkawksa, and an important influence on her poet husband.