Today, I'm very happy to welcome Sandra Byrd, author of The Secret Keeper, here to A Bookish Affair.
1. In The Secret Keeper, there is an element of magic or the paranormal. How did you decide to include Juliana's power in the story?
Since we are all three-dimensional: body, mind, and spirit, I wanted to include an angle that more overtly recognized that. There was a real woman at the court and in the book, Anne Calthorpe, Countess of Sussex, who seemed to have a prophetic gift and was at the court when Parr was queen. Women have traditionally had very active prophetic gifts, something that has largely been overlooked. I wanted to bring that forward in a book wherein women were actively using their intellectual and spiritual gifts as well as whatever power they had at hand. I also thought made for a fun story value - seeing if and how her prophetic visions would come to pass!
2. Kateryn Parr hasn't been covered all that much in historical fiction. Why do you think this is? What drew you to writing about her?
She's so often overlooked as a somewhat mild nursemaid to Henry's oozing leg, a quietly learned woman who "survives." And I think that sometimes people believe that all of the heavy dramatic action died when Henry did - but that's not true. I found Parr to be warm, witty, and wonderful. She was a warm and loving wife and stepmother, a generous emotional and financial benefactress, a learned and devout woman whose extraordinary books sold tens of thousands of copies and went back for many printings. She was also a beautiful woman who had a blind spot for a bad boy, and that got her into a heap of trouble. I would have liked her as a friend.
3. What's the most difficult thing about writing historical fiction?
The audience is so varied. Some people want as many of the familiar characters in the book as possible so the court seems robust and they can revisit with "old friends." Some people are confused by many names and changing titles. Some readers enjoy the use of some sixteenth century language, while some don't like it at all. It can be difficult to please everyone, and you find a variety of opinions on almost every work. I try to make everyone happy, and tell a good story, and keep historically accurate. Sometimes it's difficult to do all three at once.
4. What is the last great book you read and why did you enjoy it?
Right now I'm reading, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith. It's been great fun to see what has - and what hasn't - changed for a queen regnant in the past 400+ years!
5. If you could bring three fictional characters with you to a deserted island, who would you bring?
The three women whose points of view my Tudor-set Ladies in Waiting books have been told from, because we've become such great friends through the pages. I hope the readers of my books will become great friends through the pages with them, too!
I'm pleased to be able to give away one copy of The Secret Keeper to a US/CAN reader of ABA!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:
Monday, June 4thGiveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, June 5th
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at The Owl Bookmark Blog
Wednesday, June 6th
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, June 7th
Friday, June 8th
Author Interview & Giveaway at The Owl Bookmark Blog
Monday, June 11th
Author Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, June 12th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, June 14th
Review at Reviews by Molly
Monday, June 18th
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, June 19th
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, June 20th
Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, June 21st
Review & Giveaway at Royal Reviews
Friday, June 22nd
Monday, June 25th
Review, Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Drey's Library
Tuesday, June 26th
Wednesday, June 27th
Review at The Broke and the Bookish
Thursday, June 28th
Author Interview & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Friday, June 29th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Monday, July 2nd
Thursday, July 5th
Review at Tanzanite's Castle Full of Books
Friday, July 6th
Review at CelticLady's ReviewsAuthor Interview & Giveaway at Tanzanite's Castle Full of Books