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Women Spies in the World Wars: Marika Rokk

In my research for At the Table of Wolves, I found a number of fascinating stories of women who played important roles in the world of espionage. This is one of them.

Marika Rokk

Said to be one of Hitler’s favorite actresses, Marika Rokk is likely to have had a secret life working against the Nazis for the Russians.

Women spies, Marie RokkBorn in Cairo to Hungarian parents and raised in Budapest, Marika Rokk got her start in show business in Paris, performing in the Moulin Rouge cabaret.

She was in the right place at the right time in 1935 when Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, decided that Germany needed its own film star who could help showcase German films and engage in the culture wars with Britain and particularly the US with its superstars like Ginger Rodgers and Rita Hayworth. Rokk was relatively well-known dancer in various European revues and was tapped by Goebbels to be a Nazi film star. Subsequently, the two had an affair, but it is believed that by 1940 she had been recruited by the KGB. Read More…

How I came to write At the Table of Wolves

For a little background on how I came to write my latest novel, At the Table of Wolves, here are some frequently asked questions.

Why did you chose to set this historical fantasy in the 1930s?

The 1930s – and particularly in England – was a period overshadowed by the catastrophic losses of World War I. Every family had its losses, and the public attitude was to willfully turn a blind eye to Hitler’s arms build up. So instead of a war with steal, it became a shadow war of spies, secrets, and deception. It is such a fertile ground for fiction! The roster of characters and motivation is vast: British aristocracy fearing the loss of class privilege, fascists, pacifists, spies and those who chose to do nothing. This historical context raises an interesting question: What would you have done? How much would you have sacrificed to stop the coming war?

What inspired you to write this historical fantasy?

The first inspiration came from William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill. I’m especially interested in the World Wars (and their lead-ups)–times with amazing contrasts between self-sacrificing idealism and staggering villainy. I had previously dealt with the historical period of the 1850s in England and India for my fantasy A Thousand Perfect Things, and was looking for a different, largely unexplored, time period for my next fantasy.
Read More…

Landscapes of Fantasy

For those who attended my presentation at PNWA, here is the book list I promised:

LANDSCAPES OF FANTASY. A presentation by Kay Kenyon

The Books

Mythic

  • The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle
  • American Gods, Neil Gaiman

Fairy

  • A Green and Ancient Light, Frederic Durbin
  • Roses and Rot, Kat Howard
  • Thomas the Rhymer, Ellen Kushner

Read More…

I’ll be around . . .

Categories: News |

PUBLICATION DAY HAS ARRIVED! At the Table of Wolves is now availableand I’m very excited to be out and about signing, presenting, and generally showing up here and there. Please drop by and say hello!

July 12. SEATTLE. Reading and signing, University Book Store with Nancy Kress, who will be reading from Tomorrow’s Kin.

July 15. LEAVENWORTH, WA. Signing, A Book For All Seasons. 2:00–4:00 PM.

July 18. PODCAST interview, Bill Kenower’s Author to Author; 2:00 PM PDT, and available for later listening, too.

July 20. WENATCHEE, WA. Signing and talk. Wenatchee Library. 6:30 PM.

July 21-23. SEATTLE. Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference;   Friday, 8 PM Autograph party; Saturday, 10 AM The Glorious Middle of the Novel; Saturday, 4 PM Landscapes of Fantasy: From Mythic to Diesel Punk.

August 4-6. PORTLAND, OR. Presentations and signing. Willamette Writers Conference, Portland, OR. Sat. 3:30, Landscapes of Fantasy: From Mythic to Diesel Punk; Sunday, 8 AM,
The Glorious Middle: The hidden structure of pages 100-300

August 29, 10 AM. PODCAST interview. Susan Wingate’s Dialogue Between the Lines. 10:00 AM and available for later listening, too.

November 2-5. SAN ANTONIO, TX. World Fantasy convention. Schedule TBA.

November 18-20. PORTLAND, OR. Orycon science fiction and fantasy convention.

Hope to see you: friends, readers, acquaintances, fellow authors!

To order:

www.amazon.com.

B&N.

Signed copy.