My cover

My cover
Nell and her oranges

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

Hi, friends,

I've been tagged in The Next Big Thing by fellow writer Isabelle Goddard (, author of Regency romances, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Historical Novel Society conference in London in September.
I'm instructed to tell you all about my next book by answering these questions and then to tag a few other authors about their Next Big Thing. So here I go!
What is the working title of your next book?
Venus in Winter.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
After I finished my second book, The September Queen (U.K. title The King’s Mistress), I was casting about for a new subject and recalled that I had thought Bess of Hardwick sounded like an interesting historical character, though I didn’t know much about her. Just from reading the Wikipedia entry on her, I was hooked!

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
My book runs from Bess’s twelfth birthday to her fortieth (she lived to 80), so there would have to be a young girl for the first scenes and another actress to portray her in adulthood. Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey) has the right strength and presence, though Bess was a fair-skinned, blue-eyed redhead! Jessica Chastain looks right and is a very good actress.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A sweeping and romantic novel of Bess of Hardwick, the formidable four-times widowed Tudor dynast who began life in genteel poverty and ended as the richest and most powerful woman in England after Queen Elizabeth; built Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall; and is the forebear of numerous noble lines including the current royal family of Britain. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book will be published by Berkley, a division of Penguin, who published my first two books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Writing this book was rather a nightmare process. I had less than year from when the deal was made until I had to turn in the manuscript to the publisher. Like my other books, it has required an enormous amount of research. I started writing in late July 2011 and finished the first draft at the end of April 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Biographical historical fiction of the type written by Margaret George and C.W. Gortner.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Bess knew everyone who was anyone throughout the Tudor period.  At the age of twelve she began serving Lady Zouche, who had been a lady in waiting to Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, and she was probably at court beginning around the time that Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves. When she was about 15 she joined the household of the Marchioness of Dorset, Frances Grey, and was close to Frances’s daughters – Lady Jane Grey and her younger sisters Katherine and Mary.

Bess second husband, William Cavendish, was a member of the privy council, and her third husband, William St. Loe, was captain of the queen’s guard. Elizabeth probably owed him her life for not betraying her shadowy involvement in the Wyatt Rebellion, and partly in thanks, she made Bess a lady of her privy chamber. Shortly after Bess married her fourth husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, they were put in charge of Mary Queen of Scots – which contributed to the ruin of their marriage.

Here are some lovely authors I've tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing! I had the pleasure of meeting all of them at the Historical Novel Society Conference in London in September, and like me, they all write about seventeenth century England! Their posts will be out on November 15!
Deborah Swift, whose most recent book The Gilded Lily, has just come out.

J.D. Davies is the author of the Matthew Quinton series, the first of which is Gentleman Captain. Excellent swashbuckling naval tales set during the Restoration era.

Anita Davison, whose book Royalist Rebel will be out soon!

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