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Historical Women, Unforgettable Tales

Nov 19, 2012

Author Janie Havemeyer writes about women in history because she loves to share the fascinating things she discovers about them. Janie once worked as a docent in a medieval art museum showing exhibits to people. “In one of the galleries, there are seven tapestries hanging on the walls that show a crowd of hunters stalking a unicorn to his death,” she says. “When I shared this story with young visitors, they were always spellbound. I often ran out of time to answer everyone’s questions.”

Janie realized that she liked telling stories as much as reading them, so she started writing. She wrote about Catherine De’ Medici, The Black Queen of France, who would do anything to keep her family in power, including using poison and magic. And Njinga, the Warrior Queen, who fought fiercely to keep her people from slavery.

My inspiration to write my first story began with my desire to tell my great-grandmother’s story,” Janie explains. “My great-grandmother collected things she found beautiful and fascinating—often artwork that many did not like. She became a prominent speaker for the women suffrage movement. She was fearless and independent.”

Janie believes that we all have a treasure trove of story ideas, right in our own families. “I think stories from the past help us to understand more about our lives today and show us that people who lived long ago are very much like us,” she says. “Look at your own family history for story ideas. You may be surprised with what you find.”

Find out more about Janie’s historical women and her tips for writing on The Studio.