Make Merry at Court
…with three Tudor Christmas stories!
In Christmas at Court Sir John Talbot and Lady Alice’s secret betrothal must wait until Henry Tudor claims the throne. Next in Secrets of the Queen’s Lady the lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves is unexpectedly reunited with a handsome—younger—diplomat at the palace’s festivities! And in His Mistletoe Lady Catherine seeks help from a mysterious Spaniard to free her father in time for Christmas!
– When and where do you prefer to write?
BG: I am a big believer in letting habit create your discipline. As a result, I have a daily routine that serves me well. As a morning person, I set aside a block of one and a half hours in the morning. Depending on where I am in the book (deadline!!) I may also have an afternoon block. I write at my desktop with a pullout tray for my keyboard. Ergonomics matter! I know writers who can pop open a laptop and write anywhere and in any position. I envy them!
– Do you have a certain ritual?
BG: It is crucial that I make a “soundtrack” for each book with historically accurate music to get me in the mood. When I press play, those familiar notes send a signal to my brain that it is time to write. (And it also helps me get back in the proper mood several months later when my editor wants a few revisions!) For “Christmas at Court,” I was lucky enough to find “Music in the Time of Richard III,” performed by the York Waits.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
BG: I never eat when I write. But green tea is usually close at hand. And I have a mug collection that keeps expanding. My new favorite? WRITER.
– What is your favourite book?
BG: An impossible question for a writer, however, KATHERINE by Anya Seton was the book that got me interested in the English Royal Family history, particularly the stories about those born on the “wrong side of the blanket.” When I wrote RUMORS AT COURT, I put Katherine Swynford as a secondary character in my book. And Katherine’s granddaughter, Margaret Beaufort, is the mother of Henry Richmond, aka Henry VII, the first Tudor king. It is Henry’s marriage to Elizabeth of York that is the historical center of “Christmas at Court.” Alas, or perhaps luckily, the novella length did not allow me to include his mother in the story!
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
BG: I have worked on several historical fiction ideas so that may be on the agenda in the future.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
BG: I have a theory that all fiction has elements of autobiography, but usually in a way that is not evident to the reader. Over the years, there have been two or three characters who have been directly inspired by people I know, but that has been the exception. Usually, I get to know the characters as I write the story.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
BG: For the nugget of an idea, sending myself an email or capturing a note on my iPhone works. But an important part of my daily routine is a midday walk. Usually, as I’m walking and not thinking about writing, I realize something I need to fix in the writing that I did that morning, so I know what needs to be done when I sit down again.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
BG: I am not a big sci-fi/fantasy fan. That said, I am a Star Trek and Star Wars film lover!
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
BG: Not sure I would be very good as a co-author! But I’m delighted to share TUDOR CHRISTMAS TIDINGS with Jenni Fletcher and Amanda McCabe. Jenni interviewed me for her webpage when she was starting out and because, apparently, I was one of the authors she read and liked! Amanda and I have been friends for years and I have visited her in Santa Fe more than once.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
BG: A couple of thoughts here. First, as a writer of historical fiction, I can travel to the place, but not to the time. What a place looks like now is probably very different than it once was and could actually confuse you. That said, I am a great believer in the importance of place and a calendar and a map are always in my writing toolbox, along with floor plans of houses and castles. I really want to feel as if I could walk around in the character’s world.
But I love to travel! Spent last Christmas in Rome (trip of a lifetime!) and had plans for Cuba and Greece this year. The entire Mediterranean is on my list, so one of these days, I hope to be back on the road. And if a book idea comes along with the trip? Well, we’ll see!
Thank you, Blythe Gifford, Amanda McCabe, Jenni Fletcher and Rachel’s Random Resources
About Jenni Fletcher
Jenni Fletcher is from the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge University before doing a PhD on Edwardian literature & psychology at Hull. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA awards and won for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020. In her spare time she loves baking and, of course, reading.
About Blythe Gifford
After many years in public relations, advertising, and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold to the Harlequin Historical line. Her books, set in the 14th to 17th centuries, typically incorporate real historical events and characters. The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.” Blythe lives and works along Chicago’s lakefront.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford
About Amanda McCabe
Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.
https://amzn.to/2Xmh8Vi – Amazon UK
https://amzn.to/39SvNwq Amazon. com