Thursday, January 14, 2010

Q & A with Kate Emerson on her New Release: Between Two Queens

The amazing author Kate Emerson has been gracious in granting an Q and A interview with Historically Obsessed. Her new release the second installment of the Secrets of the Tudor Court series, Between Two Queens in now available in stores everywhere. With out delay welcome Kate Emerson...

Q: What was the inspiration behind the title "Between Two Queens"?

A: I never really know where titles come from, although my agent and editor are always quick to tell me if they don't like them. In this story, each time Nan Bassett came to the attention of foreign ambassadors and other gossips at court it was because Henry VIII was between queens and taking a look around for possible candidates. Whether they were candidates to be the next queen or a new mistress is sometimes unclear, but this tendency on the king's part and the fact that Nan was apparently in the running right up until the time King Henry married Kathryn Parr, made the title inevitable.

Q: In your history of protagonist, what is the deciding factor in choosing your main character?
A: I always look for someone who was a little bit different. Both Jane Popyncourt (in THE PLEASURE PALACE) and Nan Bassett (in BETWEEN TWO QUEENS) stood out at court and came to the attention of chroniclers. This was no mean feat, because the men recording history in those days, and the men writing about it for generations to come, tended to ignore women and their role in events. Of course the records aren't always flattering to females who made the cut, but that just makes those ladies more interesting to me. I try to figure out, extrapolating from what is know about them, just why they behaved the way they did and what might have happened to them during the periods in their lives for which there is no historical record.

Q: How difficult was it to portray Anne Bassett as you visualized her?

A: A great deal of Anne Bassett's life was revealed in the family letters confiscated when her stepfather was arrested. That gave me a head start on developing the character, but it also presented a number of challenges, since there were some pretty big gaps during which no one mentioned her at all. One of them was just about nine months long, which was certainly food for thought! I arbitrarily gave "Mistress Anne," as she's usually referred to in the letters, the nickname Nan and that helped make her a more rounded person in my mind. After that it was mostly a case of experimenting with what would work for the story and what wouldn't and trying to figure out how a person with Nan's background would react to certain situations.

What led up to the cultivation of Anne's bratty personality?
A: I never actually thought of her as a brat. Spoiled, certainly, and self-centered, and goal-oriented. Certain scenes, such as the one in which she pitches a fit because the pearls her mother sent her aren't good enough, come right out of history, so the challenge was to try and provide a reason for her to behave that way. In a later scene, hearing about the incident, Ned thinks it out of character for her, and I did, too. But something even Nan isn't yet aware of at that point does provide a reason for her irrational behavior.

Q: Can you give any details on the next book "By Royal Decree"?
A: I'm currently writing this one, which features Elizabeth Brooke, Lord Cobham's daughter, who appears briefly near the end of BETWEEN TWO QUEENS. She made her mark on history in a couple of ways, one political (she's the one who apparently suggested Lord Guildford Dudley as a husband for Lady Jane Grey
) and one very personal. She fell in love with Queen Kathryn Parr's brother, William, but he already had a wife. He'd divorced her because she'd taken a lover but, under Henry VIII's church, it was no longer possible for the Pope to annul a marriage and allow the parties to wed someone else. For a decade, Bess Brooke and Will Parr were at the mercy of whoever was in power as to whether they were married or not. One royal decree (from Edward VI) permitted them to wed. Another (from Queen Mary) invalidated the marriage. Then Bess found herself entangled in plots to make sure that Elizabeth Tudor, the one person who might declare her married again, would still be around to succeed Queen Mary. All in all, lots of intrigue, danger, and romance. What more could I ask for? I hope to have the rough draft done later this month. The polished manuscript is due on my editor's desk on March 15, and the book will be published just about a year from now.

Thank you Kate for paying a visit to Historically Obsessed. I look forward to the completion of "by Royal Decree" and can not wait to devour it just like the previous two.


  1. Great interview! I've been wanting to read her books. Will need to get them son, they sound great.

    Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict

  2. great Q&A Lizzy! Really enjoyed it :)

  3. Ladies, I am so glad you enjoyed it. I really enjoyed working on it with Kate.


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