When I was six or seven, my parents took me to Twelfth Night and As You Like It at a local outdoor Shakespeare festival. I was entranced. I saw in the program that the company was also doing Romeo & Juliet, and I wanted to see that too. My mom warned me it was sad, but I still wanted to go, and I loved it. Ever since, outdoor summer Shakespeare performances have been one of the delights of summer for me. I recently saw a truly fabulous Romeo & Juliet at the California Shakespeare Theater. It left me in tears, and it was the raw, real grief of the parents that I found so heartrending.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Shakespeare is a big influence on my writing. Charles and Mel quote Shakespeare at each other as a sort of private code. And just as a I pick composers for each book, I pick one or two Shakespeare plays that to me relate to that books themes and story arc. For Secrets of a Lady it was Measure for Measure and Troilus & Cressida, for Beneath a Silent Moon it was Hamlet.

I talked a bit more about the inspiration of Shakespeare in this video clip:

Do you like books with Shakespearean references? Writers, do you like to put Shakespearean or other literary references on your work? What other Shakespeare plays do you think would make good inspiration for Charles and Mélanie stories? Who else finds Shakespeare festivals one of the joys of summer?

This week’s Fraser Correspondence addition is a letter from Charles to David describing a real meeting at the Congress of Vienna in which Talleyrand neatly turned the tables on the victorious powers.