Thursday, July 17, 2014

Q&A with Katherine Longshore and Courted Giveaway

Guys, I am SO, SO excited to have Katherine Longshore on the blog today. She is absolutely one of my favorite young adult authors and I am a huge fan of her books Gilt, Tarnish and Brazen. I have reviewed all of them here on the blog and LOVED all three! If you enjoy historical reads, you must pick up her books.  Thanks to Penguin, I was able to ask Katherine a few questions and participate in the Midsummer Romance Blog Tour. Plus, I am hosting a giveaway for the recently published Courted, which includes both her novels Gilt and Tarnish.

Mary Howard was such a compelling protagonist in Brazen. What initially sparked your interest in her?
Katherine Longshore
I think I’m attracted to tragedy.  Romeo & Juliet was never my favorite Shakespeare play, but there is something about the star-crossed lovers narrative that I still find fascinating.  What cemented it for me was that historically, Mary didn’t let tragedy destroy her.  She fought to have her own title, her own money, her own life, which was virtually unheard of for a woman in the Tudor age.  You can believe that she lived that life sad and alone, or you can believe that she relished every minute of it, but no matter what you believe, she accomplished it, which in its own right is worthy of celebrating.  I just chose to celebrate it in fiction.

You bring such a fresh perspective to the Tudors.  What do you think makes the Tudors so captivating after all of these years?
I wonder if it’s because there’s something about Tudor history that appeals to an infinite variety of popular story genres.  Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard wrote poetry firmly rooted in Henry’s court, Shakespeare wrote one of his history plays (Henry VIII) based on the king’s early relationships, Donizetti penned an opera about Anne Boleyn in 1830 (and Mary, Queen of Scots in 1834), the craze for historical biography seized the Tudors in the late Victorian era.  And the Tudor themes are similar to those of soap opera, tragic drama and romantic comedy, all of which have been popular on TV and at the movies for the past fifty years.  There’s also something very much like reality TV about them—if Henry was around today, I’m sure his wives would be starring in The Real Housewives of the Tudor Court and gracing the covers of the magazines at the grocery store checkout counter.

I find Anne Boleyn to be an extremely interesting person in history and I loved how you portrayed her in Brazen. If you could sit down with her, what would you ask her?

I would love to know if she really loved Henry, but that’s a very personal question to ask someone you’ve just met.  So I suppose, if I had the chance to chat, I’d like to know what and how she thinks—about the court, about the political and religious atmosphere of the day, and about the people around her in her daily life.  I’d love to ask her about her sister-in-law, Jane Boleyn, and watch her carefully when she answered.  And it would be fun to ask her about her interests and hobbies—the things that aren’t necessarily written down in contemporary documents.  What was her favorite song, what foods did she crave, what did she think about when she daydreamed?  And if someone were to write a book about her, what did she think her character would be like?
Madge was one of my favorite characters in Brazen. She seemed like so much fun! Like any friendship, Mary and Madge had their ups and downs and I felt that you portrayed their friendship realistically. What can you tell me about her? Was she based on a real person?
Madge is absolutely based on a real person (or possibly people)—a cousin of Anne Boleyn.  Some of my research for Brazen revolved around an actual document called the Devonshire Manuscript—a book bound in leather stamped with the initials M.F. (Mary Fitzroy) and containing poetry and notes written by several different hands, including Mary (Madge) Shelton and Margaret Douglas.  Inspired by this idea of a literary brat pack in the Tudor court, I made these three girls fast friends.  

Madge is the most ambiguous, historically.  Because documentation is patchy, historians disagree about whether there were two sisters (Mary and Margaret Shelton) or just one girl (a composite Mary/Madge/Margaret), but they all agree that a Shelton contributed to the Devonshire Manuscript and many give credence to the idea that one Madge had an affair with the king.  I devoured all the stories I could find so I could pick and choose the personality traits and rumors I wanted to apply to my character.  I love her, too.
Which of Henry VIII’s wives is your favorite and why?
Anne of Cleves.  At first glance, her story could be the most tragic—wrenched away from her home and family to marry a balding, aging, ulcer-infested fat man who turns around and tells her she’s repellant.  But taking the long view, Anne’s life could actually be inspiring, and is the least tragic of all of the wives.  She raised no objection to the divorce and was rewarded with her own land, her own money, and her own status, living out her days in peace and luxury with no one telling her what to do (or calling her ugly).  A definite win.
You're having a dinner party and you can invite five people from history.  Who would they be?
This question is always so difficult for me to answer!  I tend to shy away from conflict, so I don’t want to invite anyone who would incite a riot, but I do enjoy lively discussion.  Today, I think I’d like to chat with Galileo (at the age of 13, I wanted to be an astronomer), Joan of Arc (woman warrior, activist, possibly insane), Clarence Darrow (razor-sharp mind and quick wit), Nellie Bly (adventurer, journalist and traveler who really did go around the world in eighty days) and I always want Dorothy Parker at my fantasy dinner table because I have a feeling she’d be able to liven things up and defuse any potential animosity with a well-timed quip.

Can you tell us anything about your next project? 
I’m currently writing a contemporary novel set in the US.  It’s fascinating to write about teenagers in a country and century where they have so much more freedom and education and privilege than they would have in the past, but still suffer from the constraints and preconceived notions of their society.  And it is so much fun to write about their travels and relationships, unrestricted by Tudor dress, marriages or modes of transportation.  I still had to do a lot of research for this book, but of a completely different sort (Google maps and YouTube, mostly!).  It’s been a real challenge, and definitely one that has kept me on my toes and helped me stretch as a writer.

I absolutely love Katherine's answers. Can we please make Real Housewives of the Tudor Court a reality?! That is a show I would definitely watch.  To learn more about Katherine Longshore, visit her website or follow her on Twitter

Thanks to Penguin, I am hosting a giveaway for Courted by Katherine Longshore, which includes Gilt and Tarnish--both fabulous books and two that I recommend.  This giveaway is open to US only, please refer to my giveaway rules and the deadline is July 27th.  Good luck!

Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour for interviews with Katherine Longshore and more historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:
Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine
Thursday, July 10 –Perpetual Page Turner
Tuesday, July 15 –Alice Marvels
Thursday, July 17 – Confessions of a Book Addict
Tuesday, July 22 – Novel Sounds
Thursday, July 24 – Starry-Eyed Revue
Tuesday, July 29 – The Midnight Garden
Thursday, July 31 – Novel Thoughts

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  1. Excellent interview!! I've always found the history Anne Boleyn so fascinating. I'm really eager to read her future contemporary novels as well!

    1. Thanks, Vivien! Me too…love Anne Boleyn…so fascinating! Thanks for visiting!

  2. I hadn't heard of the Devonshire Manuscript before and I find the details of her research process to be fascinating. I also like that she chose Anne of Cleves as her favorite of Henry VIII's wives. Not as much is known about Anne but I've read some interesting historical fiction portrayals.

    I need to read this series soon! Thanks for sharing this interview and for hosting the giveaway :)

    1. I also am intrigued by Anne of Cleves…my go-to favorite wife has always been Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn, but Katherine Longshore is right about Anne of Cleves…she lucked out! :) Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  3. Christina, this is such a fabulous interview! I love when bloggers really ask in depth question, and it sounds like this author has a lot to offer us readers. I'm definitely going to need to read this!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I could have asked Katherine Longshore about one million more questions…she is one of my favorite authors! :) Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Great interview! I've been wanting to read all of these for awhile, so it's cool the first two are being released as one book. :) I think it's awesome that Katherine is focusing on something totally different for her next book too.


    1. Thank you! You will really enjoy both books…they are fantastic! I am excited to see what Longshore writes about next as well! Thanks for visiting!

  5. Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    LOVE how her favorite wife is Anne of Cleves - she's right that Anne did whatever she could to save herself and carve out a life for herself by escaping him eventually :)

    Lovely interview!!

    Thank you :)

    1. Yes! I loved that answer, too! She did luck out. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  6. Awesome interview! The Tudor peroid is my favorite. I know kind of an appalling amount about it, so I really want to read these books. Also, YES to Real Housewives of the Tudor Court.


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