Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I made my agent cry!

In a good way. I submitted a 40-page proposal for a novel about the early years of Marie Antoinette titled BECOMING. And she loved it so much she cried.

As I researched Marie Antoinette for my second nonfiction title NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES, it made me hungry to learn more about her. And the more I read, the more I revised my opinion of her.

The Marie Antoinette I came to love and pity after reading a dozen biographies of her presents such delicious contradictions in terms that she is a novelist’s dream.
Possessed of a proud temperament, she was nonetheless desperate to please, and in doing so was often too eager to place her trust in the hands of those who were not in fact her confidantes, but who wished her harm instead. She would brook no contradiction, yet was vulnerable to criticism; a frivolous creature who was also the most generous member of the French royal family when it came to helping the poor. She was stubborn and willful, yet playful and adorably charming; regal, yet empathetic; loyal, yet confounded by the dual roles she was often expected to play. She was a natural beauty who according to her own mother was in dire need of painful physical improvements in order to enhance her looks; born to rule, yet shockingly unprepared to do so when the time came to fulfill her ultimate destiny.
Do you know a lot about Marie Antoinette? A little? What's your opinion of her?


goodfrog said...

I never knew anything about Marie until reading this terrific blog post! Makes me want to read the BOOK!!

Leslie Carroll said...

Thank you!!! I can't wait to send it out into the world. I'm having a great time writing the scenes where Marie Antoinette had to undergo a radical physical makeover in order to make her more alluring and obtain the formal commitment from France for her marriage to the dauphin.

goodfrog said...

I can't wait to read about makeover pre BOTOX :)

Leslie Carroll said...

They did her teeth -- yes, they had braces then! -- redid her hairline because her high forehead was considered unfashionable, taught her elocution, and the specific way of walking at the French court nicknamed "the Versailles glide." She also got a special tutor because her knowledge of academics was appalling; her governesses had been too indulgent, so she barely learned anything.

What I find interesting, after reading a dozen bios of MA, is that most of the historians and biographers omit all that fascinating detail (or merely gloss over it) from their books.

The poor girl was only fourteen when she was packed off to marry the dauphin of France and the makeover lasted for months, starting when she was 12. Imagine your mother deciding you needed braces AND a nose job in order to be pretty enough to stand on the bimah at your bat mitzvah!

goodfrog said...

This is fascinating. And I will love reading this book!

Lizzie said...

OMG this is going to be soooooo goooood!