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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Queens Bastard by Robin Maxwell

The sequel to the secret diary of Anne Boleyn Elizabeth gives birth to a son whom she conceived with Robert Dudley.The child is raised by another family while his mother believed he was a stillborn child. Only his adopted father knows of his real parents it is only when his adopted father is dying that he learns the the truth about his birth.
Monday, August 11, 2008

newsletter From Philippa Gregory

In my mail box today was the first newsletter from Phlippa Gregory I thought I would share it with all of you who also enjoy her books.

Hello and welcome to the first newsletter from the Philippa Gregory website.As all good literary newsletters should start - let me introduce my duckling. This is Charlie, so named in case he proves to be a boy or a girl who is the sole survivor from a nest which his mother fecklessly put in a very high window box. I had hoped to scoop up the nestlings the moment they hatched but they were too suicidally quick for me, and only Charlie survived. He has gone through his early ugly stage and is now becoming rather handsome. I have posted pictures on my home page. His mother is a calling duck in soft caramel brown plumage and he is growing adult feathers of toffee and chocolate. He comes out from the greenhouse to spend the day at the pond and then follows me home at night to be locked in safely with three other orphans. I have become quite duck obsessed with this little family and have been utterly distracted from the other work of writing, and preparing for publication of my new novel The Other Queen.
The Other Queen is the culmination of years of research and resistance to the iconic character of Mary Queen of Scots. I always felt that she was too grand, too beautiful, too doomed too all round romantic and nonsensical for me to take much of an interest in her. Her reputation in marriages of marrying one man by arrangement, and then another to irritate Elizabeth, and then finally the third who was her second husband's murderer seemed to add up to a woman whose judgement was disastrous. How glad I am that I read the new biography of her by John Guy My Heart is my Own. He paints a very different picture of a young woman, without good advisors, struggling to survive and rule a country which was on the brink of chaos. It would have taken an extraordinary character and extraordinary luck to have successfully ruled Scotland and Mary the Queen had one, but not the other. Guy's sympathetic portrait of her difficulties, and her remarkable attempts to succeed made me see that Mary, as so many other women in history, has been given a reputation that she does not deserve. The contrast between her - the much married unlucky beautiful Catholic Queen, and the Protestant triumphant virgin Queen of England has been too easy for most historians to resist. At about the same time I read Mary S. Lovell's wonderful biography, Bess of Hardwick , and realised that the greatest part of Mary's life was spent in captivity in England as the prisoner of George Earl of Shrewbury and his wife the extraordinary Bess. Bess is a fantastic and surprising character of Tudor England - an enterprising businesswoman who made her own fortune through five successful marriages and a determined and businesslike to managing her fortune. I thought the contrast of these two women in the same house would be a wonderful starting point to a novel, and then I discovered that George, Earl of Shrewsbury fell in love with his beautiful prisoner and his wife Bess left him. Research doesn't get much better than this!So this has been a wonderful novel to discover and write and the early reviews have shown a positive reader response. The book is out in the UK in August and in the US in September and I have very high hopes for its success. You will find the weblinks to pre-order the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon on my site. **************************************
Tour dates I shall be touring with The Other Queen in both the US and the UK and these dates are now confirmed - but check the website for extra visits which are being scheduled all the time. I could be coming to an event near you.
The Other Boleyn Girl It's been a busy and enjoyable year so far. The Other Boleyn Girl movie is coming out on DVD this month and already people are talking about the differences between the movie and the book. I always expect readers to prefer a book to a movie - and mostly they do. But a lot of people have seen the movie and that has brought them to read the book and discover there is so much more than the director and writer were able to have in the film. Books are complex and thought provoking and good movies are more about action and emotional response. I was proud and satisfied by my book but I do love the movie. i defy anyone to see the closing scene of Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn at the Tower, without being moved. All the performances are excellent, and the whole look of the movie is beautiful.
Current Work People ask me what I am working on at the moment and I am having a really wonderful time writing my new book The White Queen which will be the first in a series about the Plantaganet Kings and Queens - the family that came before the Tudors. They are a fascinating family with all the charm and glamour of the better known Tudors, but struggling to survive in a far wilder and more dangerous world. The White Queen of the title is ELizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV and I predict that readers will love her mixture of mediaeval witchcraft, realpolitik, and female manipulation. She is a wonderful character to write.I had been discussing the writing of this new novel with my friend the American artists R Kirk Moore who expressed an interest in creating a painting around the subject. Elizabeth Woodville's family had a mythical ancestress of Melusina, the water goddess, and I suggested her as a subject for Kirk. I have seen his early sketches which are quite lovely. But he struggled, I think, with my description of her looks which I named as a 'deadly beauty'. I think this is wonderful as verbal description but of course, it is not very helpful to an artist. We took some time examining by email what 'deadly beauty' might be and I suggested something between La Belle Dame Sans Merci and Cruella de Vill. His resulting work is a triumph of art over suggestion, and with his permission, I will show you a draft in my next newsletter.
And finally, I have been awarded a very great honour this month. My former university of Edinburgh, Scotland, where I was awarded my PhD in 1984, has named me Alumna of the Year 2008. I couldn't be more pleased! I shall accept the award in Edinburgh in early September. I shall keep you posted as to glory and ducklings ...Philippa G