Today, we have a wonderful interview with author Eliza Knight, in which we talk about her newest endeavor of taking on the historical fiction Tudor sub-genre! Her newest book, My Lady Viper, released recently and we find out more about it and how it fits in with all her other writing. Enjoy!
Hi Eliza! So happy you’ve joined us on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We were thrilled to hear about your newest fictional pursuit into the world of the TUDORS, with My Lady Viper! I also think you had a very successful launch party for your book that was a lot of fun! How has the premiere of your new book been for you?
Eliza: Hi, Erin! Thank you so much for having me. The launch party was definitely a success, and such a blast! The premiere has been amazing. I’ve really enjoyed reading the reviews on blogs so far, and hearing from readers that they are excited to read the book—or that they loved it!
Erin: I’m ready to take a big, comfy seat in this cushy chair by the window overlooking the spring flowers blooming. There is another chair, will you have a seat? I’ll be drinking Mango juice. I have a taste for that today for some reason. What would you like to drink? I do have some sparkling white wine we could add to it!
Eliza: Oh, that sounds yummy! I love mangos and sparkling wine! Wow, this is a comfy chair!
Erin: Let’s get started with the nitty and gritty. I have some important things to ask you! But first here is the amazing cover!!
Q: My Lady Viper seems like a switch for you in terms of the place setting you are writing about since your best known books take place in Scotland, is this correct? If so, why did you decide to take a chance on writing a book surrounding “the Tudors.”
A: You are absolutely right! It’s a definite switch. I actually started writing this book five years ago—before my Scottish romances. I’ve always loved the Tudors and the book really stemmed from some personal research I was doing for fun (yes, I love to research for fun!). I started to write this story about a woman, I believed had to have her own voice heard, since she’d only been documented as a viper. But I’d set the book aside after writing it and finding out from editors that the market was Tudor saturated. But last year, I decided, that I really wanted this book out there, so I tore it apart and rewrote it (along with a lot of help from crit partners and my editor!). And voila! My Tudor baby was born. 🙂
Q: Tudor seems to be a sub-genre of historical fiction all its own these days. What makes yours different from the others?
A: I agree, I think because so many people are fascinated by the Tudors. Mine is different for a couple reasons—one, my heroine has never been written about before as a heroine (main character). I wanted to give her a voice, to dive into her world and see what could have made her so vicious. I also wanted to showcase a side of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour’s marriage that may not be explored in other books. Yes, Henry VIII was a volatile ruler, but there had to be a softer side. I just don’t believe he was all evil (even if he was partly!) Readers will find that I bring a fresh, unique look to the Tudor court.
Q: In addition, is this why you chose the alter ego of E. Knight for this book?
A: Because my Eliza Knight books are all romance (some erotic), I wanted readers to know what their getting with each name. Readers of historical fiction may not want to read romance, and vice versa.
Q: What intrigues you about the story of Lady Anne Seymour? What do you think would interest readers?
A: I was fascinated with the idea of a woman being thought of as so vile by those at court (including Queen Catherine Parr, that it was documented. Allegedly this long poem that Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey wrote lamenting of a woman he thought of as a wolf and tease was about Anne. With all this going on, I just had to get into her head. Had to redeem her somehow. One of my critique partners says that Anne is the ultimate anti-heroine. I wanted readers to love her, to understand where she was coming from, even if they didn’t always agree with her actions. I wanted to develop an empathy for Anne that hadn’t been portrayed yet.
Q: How does this book vary from your Highlander books, if at all? Where does it fall on the ROMANCE-O-METER? Talk about it so that readers of romance can understand, but also readers who only like light romance. For instance, would a reader who isn’t as much a romance fan as they are historical fiction fan enjoy your book?
A: Great questions! This book is VERY different from my Highlander books. For one thing, it is not a romance. There is some romance, love and sizzle in it, but it is categorized as historical fiction (there is no romantic relationship happily ever after). The book is told in first person from a single view point—Anne’s, whereas all of my Highlander books are told from both the hero and the heroine’s point of views. This book will definitely appeal to historical fiction readers. The focus is on Anne’s life and the court of Henry VIII. Lots of intrigue, scandal, angst. But, the one area that Anne struggles a lot—her issues with love and acceptance, will appeal to my romance readers. In the end, it is a book I think most people will enjoy, whichever genre—historical fic or historical rom—they prefer.
Q: Your cover is beautiful. What fashion of the Tudor time period most strikes your fancy? What colors? Why?
A: Thank you so much! I was so pleased with my cover artists’ design! The background is actually Hampton Court! I love rich, lush colors: gold, reds, blues, silvers, yellows, sage. I think what I love the most about the fashion is the jewels, the velvets and intricate embroidery. The detail that was put into each gown, doublet, coat and hat. Though, I do admit, I wouldn’t want to wear it all day myself! It was heavy, stiff and cumbersome. Women had to be sewn into their clothes. I love yoga pants. 🙂
Q: In your opinion, why are the themes of castles, Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses timeless? Why is generation after generation enthralled by fairy tales, legends, and royalty?
A: Every child dreams of being a princess, a knight or a royal—of living in castles, dancing at balls, fighting with swords, riding horses. I don’t think it changes much as we grow into adults, its only fine-tuned, we don’t so much wish we could be there (well, some of us), but we are still fascinated with that life, the tales of lore and legends. Those eras where chivalry ruled are romanticized in our minds. In a world where cell phones, internet, and the latest gadget rule, I think we long for a more simpler, yet so much more complicated, time existed. Plus, who doesn’t love heroes and heroines? They lived in history. Those legends, fairy tales were formed from history. History is dramatic enough that it’s sometimes unbelievable—which makes it completely fascinating. And let’s face it—historical fiction, legends, fairy tales—this is how we time travel, how we live vicariously through the eyes of a world we enjoy so much but can never actually visit.
Q: What do these stories teach us or are they pure entertainment that let you escape from a possible otherwise less intriguing world?
A: Every story teaches us something different. Maybe a combination of things: coping, dreaming, overcoming adversity, courage, pride, actual historical facts/lessons, religion, relationships, communication, love. We walk away from every story having learned something, sometimes unconsciously and sometimes completely aware. That being said, I do believe we read for entertainment value, to escape to a time and place we enjoy.
Q: You are a lover of romance and Shakespeare. What is your favorite work by Shakespeare and why? Do you use snippets of his work in your novels?
A: I definitely am! My favorite work of Shakespeare is without a doubt Romeo and Juliet. I love how passionate they were, how much they loved each other and how much they were willing to give up to be together. I loved the hope they had that maybe, just maybe, their families would set aside their differences for them. I loved that when it came down to it, they were willing to give up all the riches in the world to be together. I did not so much like the tragic ending, because I felt like there were so many things that could have been avoided instead of them both dying…but that is the romantic in me. Whenever I watch a movie where the hero or heroine dies, I get very upset. Have you seen Arn? AWESOME movie, tragic ending… I do tend to use little snippets in my work, a line here or there.
Q: You grew up with grandparents in Paris and were able to see many of the history first hand! Do you think you will ever write a book set in historical Paris? If you have, do tell. If not, will you and why or why not?
A: Oh, yes!!! I definitely will! I am absolutely fascinated with the French Revolution, and I’ve already begun research for a book set during that time period. Though, there will be two more books in the Tudor series before I get to write the French one.
Q: I mentioned your Highlander series previously, in which you’ve written many books. What draws you to Scotland? Can you tell us more about your other works?
A: I love the lush, vibrant beauty of Scotland, much like my love of Ireland. It’s fresh there. The air smells good. But beyond the breathtaking landscape, the history is incredible. Added to the royals, castles, wars, knights, ladies and horses were these Highlanders with this amazing moral code and ability to fight. They were seen as savage barbarians by the English, which of course, I have to redeem. Because they weren’t, they were just rugged, hearty, courageous and powerful. I loved that they dressed in plaids (kilts in the mid-1700’s). I write in the Braveheart era—a time where the Scots were desperate for freedom from the English, from tyranny. I like to see that they succeed in some small way in my books, even if they don’t in real life.
Q: Do you have further plans to write more books in the Tudor era or create a series for E. Knight?
A: Yes! I love the Tudors. MY LADY VIPER is the first book. The second, PRISONER OF THE QUEEN, will release this summer, and the third will release at some point in 2015.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge in your writing career? Your biggest success?
A: The biggest challenge for me was breaking out. There are tons of amazing writers, and being able to stand out in the crowd takes a lot of hard work, diligence and a good product. My challenge has been my biggest success. Without a doubt, starting my Highlander series—The Stolen Brides—was my breakout series, landing me in the top 10-20 overall on Amazon, a book award and amazing reviews, but it was because of that series that readers have been willing to give my other work a change, including E. Knight’s new book!
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers? What would you tell your former self if you could back and give yourself advice on the front end?
A: My advice for aspiring writers is the same as what I would tell my former self: Don’t give up. Have patience. Persevere. Be persistent, diligent. Write every day. Read every day. Don’t be afraid to work hard.
Q: Where can readers connect with you?
Erin: Thank you so very much, Eliza, for stopping by and chatting with me today! I am very interested in reading your future works and look forward to keeping track of what you’re working on. And since I was always a big fan of men in kilts, maybe I’ll go back and try out some of your past works as well. Come back any time and take care!
Eliza: Thank you so much, I had a lot of fun visiting with you! Have a wonderful week!
My Lady Viper, Synopsis~
May, 1536. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.
When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner’s axe on a cold spring morning, yet another Anne vows she will survive in the snakepit court of Henry VIII. But at what cost?
Lady Anne Seymour knows her family hangs by a thread. If her sister-in-law Jane Seymour cannot give the King a son, she will be executed or set aside, and her family with her. Anne throws herself into the deadly and intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined at any price to see the new queen’s marriage a success and the Seymour family elevated to supreme power. But Anne’s machinations will earn her a reputation as a viper, and she must decide if her family’s rise is worth the loss of her own soul…
Book Two, Prisoner of the Queen, will be released later in 2014.
Praise for My Lady Viper~
“E. Knight breathes new life and new scandal into the Tudors. This is an engrossing historical fiction tale that readers will love!” ~ Meg Wessel, A Bookish Affair
“A brilliant illustration of a capricious monarch and the nest of serpents that surrounded him, My Lady Viper is an absolute must. Intricately detailed, cleverly constructed and utterly irresistible.” ~ Erin, Flashlight Commentary
“Author E. Knight proves that though there are a plethora of Tudor novels out there a writer can still create a fresh and unique view of one of history’s most treacherous courts, that of England’s King Henry VIII. Schemes and scandalous trysts abound in ‘My Lady Viper’, making for a very captivating read. Racy and deliciously sensual, once started I was hard pressed to put the book down. I eagerly await the next installment in E. Knight’s stand-out Tales of the Tudor Courts series!” ~ Amy Bruno, Passages to the Past
Buy the Book~
Audio: Coming June 16, 2014 — Available for Pre-Order
Author E. Knight, Biography~
E. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers.
Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age.
Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed (www.historyundressed.com). Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance.
She is avid in social media and readers can find her at:
Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/myladyvipertour
Tour Hashtags: #MyLadyViperBlogTour #EKnight #TudorHistFic