Today we have an interview with Anne Clinard Barnhill, author of Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. You can see that review from yesterday, HERE. Enjoy!
Hi Anne! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We are celebrating Women’s History Month here, so there is no better time to talk to a woman author about the women she writes about! Your second book, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I, just released last week. How has the book launch excitement been going for you?
Anne: Thank you for having me. The launch thus far has been quite exciting. On the actual launch day, DU JOUR magazine name Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter as one of the best new historical fiction books of 2014. That was quite thrilling!
Erin: Let’s put on some tea, I like Earl Grey quite a bit, though I go in phases. What would you like?
Anne: Oh, I love apple cinnamon or anything with a little spice.
Erin: Let’s have a sit, drink our tea, and get talking about books. Make yourself at home.
Q: Your first book of the Tudor era was At the Mercy of the Queen, and now, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. Where did you find the inspiration for your books and are they connected?
A: I’ve found inspiration from both books from my family tree. The two Shelton women I’ve written about so far are my ancestors. That, plus my love of the Tudor era is the inspiration for both books. They are not really connected except via the Shelton connection.
Q: What intrigues you most about the Tudor era? What keeps you from being intimidated in your writing by the fact that so many historical fiction author write about this era?
A: I love all the court intrigue, the dress, the politics and the challenge of trying to humanize these larger-than-life people, such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There are oodles of books out there of all kinds; I try to focus on my own story and try not to worry about what other writers are doing. Though I love to read their stuff, I try to separate my work from my reading pleasure.
Q: What makes your books different from the other Tudor-type novels? Some have more romance, some more mystery, some more politics…where do your books lie and who would you target to read them?
A: Excellent question. As a writer, I think my strengths lie in characterization and creating a rich world that makes the reader feel at home. I try to connect with the universal, though we are separated from the Tudors by over 500 years. They were still human beings and I hope my books are good at portraying that. There is a romance in each book, but I wouldn’t characterize them as romances only. There is also intrigue and danger.
Q: What is the most amazing thing about Elizabeth I in relation to her ladies-in-waiting? How did she treat them and why did she do so? Besides your main character of Mary Shelton, one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, who were some other famous women who served the Queen?
A: Other ladies included Kat Ashley, Blanche Parry, Eleanor Brydges and Catherine Carey, to name just a few. Elizabeth must have been a difficult mistress in many ways. She occasionally slapped her ladies if they displeased her. I think she had a temper, just as her mother had had. On the other hand, she could be quite kind and understanding. There are instances when she allowed them to return home to care for sick relatives. They were her friends, at least some of them were intimates. She depended on them to be loyal and to take care of her personal needs. I’m sure she must have confided in a select few.
Q: I’ve always felt so bad for the ladies-in-waiting in regards to marrying. They seem almost married to the Queen, never being out from under her need or watching eye. How does real romance, not the arranged kind, even happen for them?
A: Romance was almost bound to happen. In comparison with the number of men at court, the ladies were few. There were lots of fish in that sea. More than one couple fell in love and married without the queen’s permission—Sir Walter Raleigh and Beth Throckmorton to name a more famous couple. Elizabeth could control a great deal and she encouraged her ladies not to marry. But such power can only go so far—the human heart carries even greater power.
Q: What was the most thought-provoking part of your research for either of these two novels?
A: Learning about how the court of wards worked was quite interesting. It made me realize just how many children lost parents or fathers at this time when the average lifespan for men was 48. And I was once again amazed at how money and power played into that system, when it should have been about caring for the children. It was also extremely complex.
Q: Have you written any other books or works? If so, what are they?
A: Yes, I’ve written a memoir, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ: Autism, My Sister and Me which is about what it was like growing up with an autistic sister before anyone had heard the word and what my family went through trying to get help for my sister. I’ve also written a short story collection, WHAT YOU LONG FOR, and a poetry chapbook, COAL, BABY.
Q: Are you interested in writing books about another historical time, place, or person? If so, who?
A: Yes, of course! I’d love to write about Moll Cutpurse, who lived in the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign and was quite a lively character. I have mystery series in mind with her as the major detective. And I have two novels in mind set in West Virginia, one I the 1880’s and the other in 1960.
Q: Where can readers connect with you?
A: I’m on facebook, Anne Clinard Barnhill-Writer, and I also have a website, http://www.anneclinardbarnhill.com. I’m on twitter but I run that mainly from the facebook page. We have a lot of fun—I put up stuff about the Tudors and we play piggly-wiggly. Sometimes I tell jokes! One person sent in all these great bands from the Tudor era—like New Kids on the Chopping Block and Three Dog Knight. It’s fun!
Q: Where can they purchase your books?
A: At any independent bookstore, online at Amazon and B & N.
Erin: Thank you very much, Anne, for taking time from your schedule to appear here and talk about your new book, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. I wish you much success with all your books. Please feel free to come by again anytime!
Anne: Thanks, Erin, for having me! It was great fun!
Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter, Synopsis~
Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.
Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.
Author Anne Clinard Barnhill, Biography~
Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants.
Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.
For more information, view Anne Barnhill’s website at: www.anneclinardbarnhill.com
Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/queenelizabethsdaughtertour
Tour Hashtag: #QueenElizabethsDaughterTour