Carl, Lillian Stewart 1949–
Carl, Lillian Stewart 1949–
Born June 22, 1949, in Columbia, MO; daughter of Robert E. (a professor) and Bonnie (a teacher and editor) Stewart; married Harold Paul Carl (a geophysicist), December 12, 1971; children: Alan Stewart, Jared Sullivan. Ethnicity: "White (British-American)." Education: University of Texas—Austin, B.S.Ed., 1971.
Home—Fort Worth, TX. Agent—Frances Collin, P.O. Box 33, Wayne, PA 19087.
Writer and editor. Forney Engineering Co., Dallas, TX, engineering aide, 1972-74; Brookhaven College, Dallas, TX, history teacher, 1978-81.
Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Novelist, Inc., Sisters in Crime.
Sabazel, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1985.
The Winter King, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1986.
Shadow Dancers, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Wings of Power, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1989.
Lucifer's Crown, Five Star Press (Waterville, ME), 2003.
Ashes to Ashes, Diamond Books (New York, NY), 1990.
Dust to Dust, Diamond Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Garden of Thorns, Diamond Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Memory and Desire, Wildside Press (Holicong, PA), 2001.
Shadows in Scarlet, Wildside Press (Holicong, PA), 2001.
Time Enough to Die, Wildside Press (Holicong, PA), 2002.
The Secret Portrait, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.
The Murder Hole, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.
The Burning Glass, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2007.
Along the Rim of Time, Writers Club Press, 2000.
The Muse and Other Stories of History, Mystery, and Myth, Delphi Books (Lee's Summit, MO), 2007.
Blackness Tower, Juno Books (Rockville, MD), 2008.
Work represented in anthologies, including The World's Finest Crime and Mystery III, TOR Books (New York, NY), 2002; Murder Most Catholic, Cumberland House Publishing (Nashville, TN), 2002; and Death by Dickens, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 2004. Contributor to recorded seminars, including Writing Exciting, Timberwolf Press (Dallas, TX), 2002. Contributor of short stories and articles to magazines, including Mystery Readers Journal, Novelists' Ink, Empire, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction, Amazing Science Fiction, Borderland, Amazons, Smithsonian, Mystery Scene, and Mostly Murder.
Some of Carl's early writings have been reprinted by Backinprint.com and Fictionwise.com.
Lillian Stewart Carl graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in education, then went on to work both as an engineering aide and a history teacher. However, writing was her first love; she had written stories, poems, and plays since her childhood. After marrying and starting a family, she began to write in earnest, while her two sons were still quite young. Encouraged by memories of kind words from her teachers while still in school, and buoyed by her longtime friendship with successful author Louis McMaster Bujold, whom she had known since junior high school, Carl began writing novels heavily influenced by the fantasy, folklore, and mythological tales that she had loved growing up. The result was her first novel, Sabazel, which ultimately became the first in a series.
Eventually Carl found herself moving away from fantasy and more toward mystery novels, which was the genre she read more as an adult, though she still maintained a paranormal touch to her writing. In Shadows in Scarlet, she recounts the adventures of Amanda Witham, a graduate student in history who earns money by giving tours of a local Virginia historical site, Melrose Hall, dressing up in period clothes to add to the ambiance for the tourists. Amanda stays on after closing as caretaker, as well, but her previously interesting, if quiet, job becomes anything but when she sees a ghost one night following the discovery of a skeleton at the archaeological dig on the site. The ghost proves to be James Grant, a British officer who was said to have died during the Revolutionary War in the midst of a battle. However, Grant claims this is not an accurate account of his death, so Amanda agrees to look into the circumstances for him. Spurred in part by a very inconvenient attraction to the ghost, Amanda ends up following a lead regarding the means of his death all the way to Scotland, where Grant's family castle is located. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly praised the book for its "engaging cast and a very entertaining plot, spicing the mix with some interesting twists on the ghostly romantic suspense novel."
The Secret Portrait involves another mystery with Scottish origins. When retired professor George Lovelace discovers a gold coin while bird watching, he takes it to Jean Fairburn, another former academic who now works as an editor and writer for a local magazine in hopes that she will be able to prove it is part of a mysterious cache belonging to Bonnie Prince Charlie, supposedly abandoned when he fled the country for France in 1745. When George turns up dead, however, Jean begins to suspect there is something more than a simple coin at stake. A contributor for MBR Bookwatch opined that "Carl provides a fine tale that cleverly blends history with the present."
"I write because I love to read," Carl once told CA. "I can't remember not being able to read, and I can't remember not writing. Since I enjoy history, mythology, archaeology, and travel-adventure nonfiction, I enjoy novels with interesting historical and geographical backgrounds and issues. And that's what I write.
"My fantasy novels are in a style I've christened ‘gonzo mythology.’ I juxtapose ancient societies and people who never met in reality, I leaven myth with science, I combine folk tales from different traditions—all in the interest of exploring relationships between people and other people, between people and society, between people and themselves. For my mystery novels I focused on British history and myth and used a contemporary setting. I'm intrigued with the way the twentieth century is interleaved with the past. A human being's psyche is structured the same way ‘today,’ layered with memory. My plots involve old crimes uncovered and historical puzzles confronted. The characters' lives are interwoven not only with their own pasts, but with the pasts of others. Again, I write about relationships.
"I'm thrilled by the synchronicities that appear in my work. It's not unusual for a magazine to arrive in my mailbox with an article addressing exactly the issue I was writing about that day. I'll get halfway through a story and suddenly realize two disparate plot elements dovetail perfectly. Right after I finished Ashes to Ashes, concerning an American woman named Rebecca working at a replica of a Scottish castle, I visited the real castle only to find an American woman named Rebecca working there."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
MBR Bookwatch, April 1, 2005, review of The Secret Portrait.
Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2001, review of Shadows in Scarlet, p. 42.
Lillian Stewart Carl Home Page,http://www.lillianstewartcarl.com (February 27, 2004).