As you might have noticed, there is a blog meme going about called “The Next Big Thing,” where authors answer questions about their works in progress and tag other authors to do the same. I was tagged by the wonderful Brian Wainwright, whose novels Within the Fetterlock and The Adventures of Alianore Audley I thoroughly enjoyed. I especially enjoyed the former because of the Despenser connection!
Anyway, here are the questions and my answers:
What is the working title of your next book?
I have two in progress: The Woodvilles (nonfiction) and The Lennox Jewel (historical fiction about Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, grandmother of the Stuart dynasty).
Where did the idea come from for the books?
With regard to The Lennox Jewel, I was casting about for a proposal and realized that not much had been written about Margaret–she’s the subject of an older novel called The Green Salamander, but otherwise she’s been largely neglected in favor of her daughter-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scots.
As for The Woodvilles, my third and fourth novels are set during the Wars of the Roses, and in researching them I realized that there was a real need for a well-researched nonfiction book about this family. There have been biographies of Elizabeth Woodville and a biography of Edward Woodville, and a number of articles on various aspects of the family in scholarly journals, but no commercially published book about the family as a whole. I kept hoping that someone would write one, and one day, I thought, well, why not me?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m terrible at questions like this; I simply don’t go to the movies that often, and I tend to hear my characters rather than see them anyway. But the male actors better be HOT.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
One sentence? Cruel and unusual punishment! For The Lennox Jewel:
Sent to the court of her uncle, Henry VIII, to escape the political turmoil of Scotland, Margaret Douglas is enveloped in Anne Boleyn’s glamorous circle, where she finds her first love—and learns at a terrible cost the dangers of being too near to the throne. But when Henry’s daughter Elizabeth comes to power, Margaret seizes the chance to chart not only her own destiny, but that of a new dynasty.
The Woodvilles: The upstart family whose marriages brought them to the throne of England–at a terrible price.
Will your book be self-published or traditionally published?
The Lennox Jewel will be published by Sourcebooks, The Woodvilles by the History Press. Both are traditional publishers.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m still writing both of them.
What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
The Lennox Jewel is comparable to other biographical fiction, including my own novels. The Woodvilles is sort of like David Loades’ The Boleyns, except that his book about the Boleyns and mine is about the Woodvilles. I may not be able to say anything that profound for another twenty years.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It was Margaret’s own fascinating story that inspired me to write The Lennox Jewel. As for The Woodvilles, anyone who reads this blog knows I frequently post about the family, and it occurred to me that there’s a real need for a book that not only tells the story of the entire family, but sifts through all the myths and unsubstantiated rumors about them–the Woodvilles stealing the royal treasury, Jacquetta ruining Sir Thomas Cooke just to acquire a tapestry, Elizabeth Woodville ordering the execution of the Earl of Desmond, Elizabeth concealing the king’s death from Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and so on.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Margaret Douglas isn’t an obscure character by any means, but her younger days are often overlooked in favor of her later years, when she was intriguing for her son to marry the Queen of Scots. My novel spends a great deal of time on the younger Margaret.
Similarly, other than Elizabeth, the members of the Woodville family have been comparatively neglected. Did you know that Anthony Woodville was William Caxton’s first patron in England? That Edward Woodville was praised for his valor by Ferdinand and Isabella?
And now it’s time for tagging! I’ve asked my friend DeAnn Smith to tell us about her upcoming novel, about Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter Anne, once she gets her website together.
I’m hopelessly bad at tagging, and I know a lot of people are very busy with the holidays, so I’d simply like to invite anyone who hasn’t participated, and who wants to, to consider himself or herself tagged, and join in!