Thursday, August 09, 2007

Eight Random Things

I was tagged by Lunaea and asked to share eight random things about me. Here they are.

1. My ancestress was a Welsh princess (or rather she was the daughter of the last king of South Wales, Rhys ap Tudor, but princess sounds so much better). Her name was Nesta and she married Gerald, a baron who was in charge of the castle the Normans had planted on her ancestral estate, Pembroke Their children were called the Fitzgeralds and later invaded Ireland but that’s another story. Nesta was sometimes called the "Helen of Wales." She was kidnapped by her cousin who was in love with her; she was also the mistress of Henry I who fought to get her back. I spent over 10 years researching Welsh history and made three trips to Wales because I wanted to write a historical novel based on her life and then found out someone else had already done so. The picture on the left represents my rather romantic picture of her and was created when I was participating in the Ancestor Deck.

2. The summer after I graduated from high school was the first summer the Hollywood Bowl hired female ushers. My sister and I were among the handful of girls working with about one hundred guys. Summer nights. Under the stars. Classical music playing. And lots of cute boys. It was a heavenly job, although I never enjoyed classical music (and still don't). My favorite concert featured the Jackson Five in 1970. Our supervisors were worried about crowd control and hired extra security but it was the best behaved audiencecrowd we ever had at the Bowl that summer and the show was fantastic. Michael was 12.

3. My most famous college professor was Angela Davis. I signed up for her class in Existentialism at UCLA during spring quarter 1970. The student strike began after the second class and so we never saw her again (we didn’t go to class and neither did she). I got an A in that class.

4. The worst grades I ever got in my life: a C in Handwriting in third grade. And a C in Balkan Dance at UCLA. I'm still miffed about both of them. Although the C in Handwriting was well deserved. I can't read my own writing.

5. I wrote my first novel when I was thirteen. It featured my best friend, my cousin, and me as orphans who escaped from a cruel orphanage. My second novel written the following year was called Pioneer Polly: it was a historical novel which focused on the life of a young girl with her parents and siblings in a mining town in the Sierra Nevada at the turn of the century. I sold my third novel, a Victorian historical romance called St. John’s Wood, as part of a three-book contract to Doubleday when I was 25. It was followed by Mayfair, Chelsea and Grover Square (published by Jove) under the name Nancy Fitzgerald. I now write female PI novels (three so far) but none have been published.

6. I’ve worked for two museums. I was a Membership Clerk for the Los Angeles County Art Museum and. And an Accounts Payable clerk for the Seattle Art Museum. Neither one of the jobs was very exciting (although my co-workers were great) but I loved wandering through the galleries when the museum was closed.

7. I’ve been a member of two collectives: The Brideswell Collective publishing the women’s spirituality The Beltane Papers in the early 1990s and the Red and Black Collective, running a feminist bookstore, Red & Black Books in Seattle, in the late 1990s. I've also lived in a collective house. Between 1985 and 1987, I lived at Prag House, along with 11 adults and five kids. Prag House just celebrated its 35th anniversary.

8. My not-so-secret ambitions include: taking a perfume class, writing a book about the origins of early Italian martyrs, living in a cottage in Wales, and creating collages that use pictures from travel magazines and brochuresto create new imaginary landscapes.

And now I tag Cate.


kerrdeLune (cate) said...

Waverly, I loved this - I absolutely loved it, and now my mind is spinning in all sorts of directions. Hm... what random facts are stored away in the recesses and waiting to emerge into the fine waning light of August?

Anonymous said...

Waverley, just because someone else has already written a novel based on Nesta’s life doesn’t mean you can’t write yours. Lots of historical characters have had many novels written about them by different authors. And many, many historical figures have multiple biographies. Who says there has to be just one? I would bet yours would be great! Don’t let all that research go to waste!

I’m happy to report that my local library has 3 of your 4 historical romances! The only one they don’t have is Grover Square. Is it still available?

I really enjoyed The Beltane Papers back in the 1990s! I first met you in their pages.

Keep up the good work

Mary Wallace

Paul Bingman said...

I'm really loving following the Eight Random Things thread from one of you to another. May this thread just keep unraveling its secrets!

Waverly, I don't know you very well (we've met a couple of times, always in a big crowd of folks), so it's interesting/fun to read these 8 things and get a glimpse.

Down here in Portland we have Balkan dancing every Tuesday evening to live music by Kafana Klub (more info at

And we have a Red & Black Cafe on SE Division St that's a fun Bohemian place to hang out - good food, coffee, and wifi.

Waverly Fitzgerald said...

I can hardly wait to read your random facts.

It was actually a relief when I found out about the other novel. Nesta had been bugging me to write about her for ages and she seemed satisfied once she knew the other book existed. Or at least that's how it felt to me. Also despite all my research I never got a grasp on the 12th century. As my history teacher said: The past is a foreign place. And the 12th century was still a mystry to me. Oddly enough the person who I think did the best job with this period is a fantasy writer, Guy Gavriel Kay. I also love Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter (a few centuries earlier and in the Orkneys) but it's almost unreadable, it's so dense and so alien a culture. I may return to the Nesta novel again in the future. I still love Wales and Welsh history.

kerrdeLune (cate) said...

Waverly my dear, I did the "random facts" meme, and it was a learning experience of the best sort. Thank you!

meggins said...

Gosh, even grownups on blogspot get tagged and do memes. Who knew?

I echo everything in Mary Wallace's first paragraph. I, too, have an interest in Wales and (earlier) Welsh history, and your ancestor sounds fascinating. I hope you can conquer that alien century some day.