Cynthia Anderson

Historical Novelist in Geneva, Switzerland

Cynthia Anderson

Historical Novelist in Geneva, Switzerland

Read my articles

I’m passionate about history and the women who have shaped it. There are many women with well-documented historical biographies but the majority appear as footnotes in the record alongside celebrated husbands, sons and grandsons. And yet the fact is that women were just as much a part of the world in the past as they are now--nurturing, educating, advising those around them.

If we hope to gain a better understanding of ourselves then women’s stories must rise to the surface and I believe historical fiction provides a wonderful platform for them to be heard.

Based on extensive research, I craft novels that explore the untold stories of great women. Interweaving the historical context with imagination and conjecture, I try to look at our world in a new way.

I’m working on my debut novel, Beyond the Steppes, based on the extraordinary life of the Mongol woman who becomes the first Empress of the Qing dynasty. In 1626, thirteen-year old Bumbi, a descendant of the line of Genghis Khan, is abducted from her family on the Tibetan steppes and brought to China’s northeastern frontier by a powerful Jurchen Khan. In order to survive the ruthless infighting among the Jurchen nobility and the scheming of the palace women, Bumbi must discover within herself the strength of her ancestors, especially the Mongol Queen Manduhai. When the Jurchen adopt a new name, the Manchu and their army is poised to conquer Ming China, Bumbi discovers a terrible secret and now she must decide whether to keep the secret so that her son will become the first Qing emperor of China or remain loyal to the man she loves.

Growing up in a Navy family, I've lived in diverse cultures and places from an early age. I majored in Chinese Language & Literature and later completed Masters degrees in Development Studies and Public Policy. After living and working in Asia, the US and the UK, our family has settled near Geneva, Switzerland.

I write features for the Historical Novel Society and I am actively involved with a local community group supporting refugees.

With family and friends, I walk in the mountains and once or twice a year on the Abraham Path in the Middle East.

  • #writing
  • #walking
  • #dogs
  • #cycling
  • Education
    • London School of Economics and Political Science