Today I am delighted to welcome as my guest, author Samantha Wilcoxson
I began by asking her: ~
In Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen, you wrote about Elizabeth of York, who is probably known to most as the woman who finally united the two roses of York and Lancaster. What particularly drew you to tell her story?
I love the story of an unsung hero and that is what Elizabeth of York seemed to be. So many men had sacrificed their lives during the battles of the Wars of the Roses, but few seemed to consider the sacrifice that it took to bring about peace. Elizabeth could have kept fighting – for her own right to rule or that of one of her male cousins. But she did not. She relinquished her family’s place in order to begin anew with Henry Tudor. It took a quieter form of strength.
She lived in dangerous times - how much do you think she was in control of her destiny and how much was she a pawn in the power games of the men in her life?
That is a good question. I think that most people look at Elizabeth and assume that she had no choice. She was betrothed to Henry Tudor, and he was victorious at Bosworth. What else could she have done? She could have done what many others did in supporting those who challenged the king. She could have thrown her support behind the de la Poles or recognized Perkin Warbeck as her brother. She could have refused Henry and gathered people to her own cause. I believe she was completely self-sacrificing and rather intelligent to see that the way to peace was to devote herself to her husband regardless of other opportunities.
Your new release is the story of Margaret Pole, perhaps more often portrayed as an elderly woman unable to escape the vengeance of Henry VIII. Does Faithful Traitor begin with Margaret as a child, or an adult? Can the book be read as a sequel to the first?
Faithful Traitor is only loosely a sequel of Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen. In Elizabeth’s story, there were glimpses of Margaret as a child. At the point when she is married to Richard Pole and they serve Arthur at Ludlow, she moves to the background. Faithful Traitor begins with Margaret receiving the news that her queen and beloved cousin has died. Margaret is a wife and mother, not quite thirty, at this time. The novel continues from that point and covers the decades between Elizabeth’s death and Margaret’s downfall. I believe that there is much about Margaret, like Elizabeth, that many people do not know. She was a close friend of Catherine of Aragon, governess to Princess Mary, and successful woman in her own right. Of course, that only lasted until having Queen Catherine as a close friend was no longer counted as an advantage.
She was a woman with royal blood. Was this a blessing or a curse?
As in most stories, Margaret’s excess of royal blood serves as both blessing and curse. She rose rather high in Henry VIII’s favor. Unfortunately, that left her with only one direction to go. Down.
You've written stories which are not set in this period, including non-historical fiction. Which genre/period to you prefer, and why?
Plantagenet era historical fiction is my passion. Even though these two books technically take place during the Tudor era, it is the Plantagenet remnant that fascinates me. I love to dig deeper into lesser known historical figures and expose their story, or at least my version of it.
My first two books were children’s books, which I believe I wrote because I was afraid to attempt to write a book like those that I loved. It seemed safer to leave that to my favorite authors.
Thanks to the encouragement of family and friends, especially my husband, I took the plunge with Elizabeth’s story. I’m so glad that I did!
Is it easy for you, living in America, to do the necessary research required for your historical novels?
I order a copious amount of books from the UK! Obviously, I do not have access to original source material that some authors do, but it does not cause much difficulty. Thankfully, there are many wonderful biographies and books that enable this poor American to escape into historic England! A recent trip to England and Scotland did help me with envisioning the settings. I hope that it has made a difference in my new book.
Early days, given that Faithful Traitor has only just been released, but are you working on another novel? And if so, can you tell us anything about it?
Does buying books count? I have stockpiled some great resources on the beginning of the Plantagenet dynasty. My plan is to travel back a few hundred years for my next book rather than moving forward into Tudor times. I’m looking for a historical figure like Elizabeth or Margaret who has been overshadowed by the men around her but has a great story of her own to tell. I do have a particular medieval lady in mind, but we will keep her a secret for now.
Intriguing...! Thanks Samantha for casting light on this period of history and these two (even if you've left us in the dark about the third!) fascinating ladies. Find out more about Samantha by visiting her Blog or find her on Twitter
Buy Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen
Buy Faithful Traitor