Author Backstory: Greta Gilbert

Readers know Greta Gilbert as the author of gripping historical romances, but did you know that she worked for National Geographic, bringing the magazine’s articles and research into classrooms?

Greta was already a writer before she turned her hand to fiction. She forged a career writing and editing nonfiction articles and textbook selections on a variety of subjects, including ancient civilizations, which students were required to study as part of their curriculum. In her work, Greta had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s most interesting people—the explorers sponsored by the National Geographic Society and others whose work the society promotes. And so, among other assignments, Greta has interviewed a man building solar water heaters in impoverished areas of Cairo, a person exploring the deadly underwater caves of the Bahamas, an individual sailing across the ocean in a boat made of recycled plastic, a woman with multiple sclerosis climbing each of the world’s seven highest summits, an iceberg tracker, an Olympic skier and one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. As a researcher, she has become an expert on a diverse range of subjects, from China’s first emperor, US western expansion and the South American Pantanal to extreme life in Antarctica, the ancient Egyptian pyramids and the geography of Mars. Greta still freelances for National Geographic Learning.

In fact, recently she put her experience as a novelist to use for them when they asked her to incorporate Greek mythology into a work of contemporary fiction.

With her talent for writing and an interest in ancient lives fueled by her archaeologist colleagues, historical fiction was a natural fit for Greta. Her skills as a researcher also proved invaluable in providing historical authenticity for her novels. Greta has demonstrated, in both careers, that you don’t need to physically go anywhere (or anywhen) to be a (time) traveler.

Cindy Dees

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