ELIZABETH I: THE PEOPLE’S QUEEN ?
In this, my first novel, I have tried to keep very close to the historical facts. I did not need to invent any scandals, because the reality of the Tudors is exciting enough! I’ve long been fascinated by the Tudors. I hope you are too. The attraction stems partly from the many dramatic deaths. But also women happened to play major roles in that period. History, whether before or afterwards, has very few leading women. So it’s not surprising that the times of this tale appeal particularly to women readers.
When I attended a course in Creative Writing, we students each had to have a project in mind. I had no doubt that mine would be about Elizabeth I, seen through the eyes of several real people from history. The three narrators I chose – Lady Margaret Bryan, Kat Ashley and Lady Catherine Knollys – were the women who knew Elizabeth best. I became fond of them all, as I tried to chart their lives and imagine their different characters. They were all part of the Tudor Court and had to guard their tongues. I fleshed them out on the, sometimes slender, framework of what is known about them.
I describe this book as ‘reportage’. It is written in the form of three memoirs, which describe the first half of Elizabeth’s unusual life. It offers insights into why she refused to marry. Readers will have to draw their own conclusions on that extraordinary rejection.
One minor thread running through this tale is that I’ve tried to stand up for Anne Boleyn. I believe (along with many historians) that she was executed on trumped-up charges, and suffered a cruel injustice.
I loved creating this book. I hope you will enjoy getting to know my three narrators, and building up their behind-the-scenes picture of our most famous Queen.
I graduated from Cambridge with a classics degree, and my first job was running a Benefits Office in Soho! Our clients there were nearly all in show business. But I think my Classics training made me interested in words, and clarity of expression; so it has indirectly been a great help in my writing.
While bringing up my three children I had a cottage industry painting house portraits. Later I took a TEFL course and taught English as a foreign language. My students ranged from European au pairs to young men from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
At present I'm on a steep learning curve myself in the foreign language of book publishing! The world of publishing itself is in the throes of technological change, and I'm lucky to have my husband's support on the IT side.