Today I have an interview with the author of The Queen's Pleasure -
Thanks for stopping by for a chat, Brandy. Let's jump right in!
Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well there’s really not much to tell—I lead a quiet life filled with books, movies, and music with my cat Tabby.
What drew you to writing about History?
After I discovered history, I never really understood why so many people thought it was boring—yes some of the books and teachers make it seem so—I guess I liked the challenge of trying to make people see how interesting it could be. And I also personally liked exploring different lives and stories and trying to understand them better, especially those who are all but forgotten.
Were you good at History in school?
I’m from Texas, and more than once it was the football coach teaching the history class, so it really wasn’t that difficult.
How do you go about your research for a book?
I do a lot of reading and some internet research. I usually spend about 2 to 3 months depending on subject and complexity doing research, though sometimes that overlaps with the actual writing because of time concerns.
How do you choose a certain historical person or particular time to write about?
Sometimes like with Piers Gaveston, Lady Rochford (Jane Boleyn), and Amy Robsart I am drawn to the subject, compelled to tell that story, other times my publisher makes a suggestion.
I don't remember ever hearing of Amy Robsart Dudley before. What made you choose to write about her?
When I was a little girl, shortly after I discovered the Tudors, I was reading a book of unsolved mysteries and it had a chapter on Amy’s mysterious death. I became intrigued. After that, whenever I found a new book on the Tudors or Elizabethan England I would always look for more about Amy, but there was very little. It seemed to me that she only mattered because of how she died, and the inconvenience this caused others, and I thought that was rather sad; her voice had been lost, and I wanted to try to give it back. Even though I was just a child, I told my mother if I ever wrote a novel when I grew up, I was going to write about Amy Robsart, and let her be the star, and have the spotlight, not pushed into the shadows, like she always had been in life and was in the books that I read.
Was Robert Dudley really as evil as he appears to be in the book? He says some horrid things to Amy, how much of that was historically correct and how much was your interpretation?
Very little is actually known about the details of their married life, except they were in love when they married at seventeen. But something obviously went wrong somewhere along the way. Robert was largely absent, and there were comments that it wasn’t right that he should behave so intimately and be always with the Queen when he had a beautiful and loving wife waiting for him at home, but he rarely ever saw her.
Elizabeth, while behaving morally incorrectly, still comes off as a good person in this story. Do you really think she felt badly for Amy?
I think Elizabeth’s true feelings were her most deeply guarded secret. But I like to think she might have.
If someone wanted to learn more about this period, and particularly, this period, what books would you recommend?
For the years and personalities covered in this novel I highly recommend Death And The Virgin by Chris Skidmore.
Do you have a favorite book and/or author?
Not one in particular, but many, I’m a voracious reader and read anything that grabs my attention. Yesterday it was The Girl In Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower by Robert Graysmith, today it’s Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime by Ellen Prager, a book about some of the strangest creatures in the ocean, and tomorrow, who knows, it may be light and fluffy chic lit, horror, sci-fi, or mystery, a biography of a classic Hollywood star or historical figure, true crime, archaeology, or art history. With me the question isn’t “What will she wear next?” it’s “What will she read next?”
Is there anything in particular about yourself you'd like the blog readers to know?
With my books I always try to do something different, cookie-cutters are for cookies, not books. And on my blog I try to share my love of reading by presenting readers with a variety of books rather than sticking to a particular genre.
What's on tap for your future writings? Is there a particular person or persons you're dying to start writing about?
If all goes well, my novel about the Grey sisters will be out sometime next year. But I prefer not to talk too much about future projects or unpublished works; I hate it when I read about a book someone is working on, that I’m so excited about reading, and then, for whatever reason, it never materializes, so I try to keep silent until things are more definite.
Where can interested readers keep up with you?
My blog is the best place http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com here I post news about my own work as well as weekly book reviews, though reviews are currently on hiatus until July (I just needed a break after finishing my last novel). I also have a website www.brandypurdy.com and you can follow me on Facebook as Brandy Purdy – Emily Purdy.