In which we get to know our members a little better…
Name: Maura Tan
How old were you when you read your first Georgette Heyer novel?
What was it?
Instead of the Thorn.
How did you discover her work?
My good friend Rachel Hyland insisted I read her contemporary novels, and give my thoughts for Heyer Society – Essays on the Literary Genius of Georgette Heyer. I am a student of contemporary literature, but had a strong dislike of historical novels at the time, and so had always refused to try Heyer out.
Did Heyer lead you to read other authors in similar genres?
She certainly opened me up to the possibility of reading other historical novelists. But mostly she opened me up to read, well, her. I have now read all of her novels, a journey I chronicle in my short memoir Heyer for Beginners: Learning to Love Historical Fiction.
Which of her books have you read the most often?
I’ve now read Venetia three times.
Which, if any, would you never read again?
I much enjoy Cousin Kate, though I found it very interesting, in its depiction of mental illness and the attitudes prevailing at the time it was set (and written).
If you could be a Heyer heroine, which would you choose?
Definitely none of the contemporary heroines! Probably Sophy Stanton-Lacy, but less anti-semitic, obviously.
Which Heyer hero (or heroine) would make the best husband/wife/partner?
How has Georgette Heyer influenced your life?
Honestly, a lot. Not only because it is due to her that my writings were first published (outside of academia), but because I am now far less prejudiced against novels set in an earlier time than they were written. I have now read A Tale of Two Cities, for example, which I had always resisted, because Dickens did not live through the French Revolution. I loved it, and plan to read many more classics, as well as more recent works, because Georgette Heyer opened the door for me. I am grateful.
Maura Tan was born in Zanzibar, grew up in Morocco and lives in Singapore, where she is currently studying for her third degree in Contemporary Literature.