Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Pushin' with Laura S. Andersen

Let me tell you how freakin' excited I was when Laura S. Andersen agreed to let me interview her for my Book Pushin' posts on her series The Boleyn King. Ermagosh, I freaked out! I had SO many burning questions I wanted to ask her and, you guys, she has the BEST answers ever. I was grinning from ear to ear when reading through them. So without further ado, I give you Laura S. Andersen...

Kelly: So...first and foremost, the premise of this story is amazing to me. So I have to ask the most boring and cliche question first because I actually am dying to know...What inspired you to write this story?

Laura: All the way back in 2003, while reading a biography of Anne Boleyn, I was struck by the sadness and irony of her miscarriage in January 1536, on the very day of Catherine of Aragon’s funeral. Just four months later, Anne was executed and Henry VIII had married Jane Seymour in his search for a living son. What if, I wondered at the time, Anne had not miscarried? How might history have altered?

That question lay dormant for a year until my second visit to London, where I was seized upon by several characters wanting to tell me their story. At both Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London, I had the nearest thing to a creative vision I’ve ever had—William, Dominic, and Minuette were born in those moments. I began writing their story within six weeks of returning from London.

Kelly: Oh, I love that! Those are my absolute two favorite places in London so it is so amazing to see that those places inspired you! Now, this is completely obvious but I'll say it again anyways. I am an avid fan of Anne Boleyn so when I first saw The Boleyn King on NetGalley I freaked out…A LOT. Do you think history has treated her unfairly and did this play any part in your creative process of starting this story?

Laura: YES! Look, it’s unlikely that those of us five hundred years after Anne are going to make the most accurate judgments. Frankly, I’m not certain I can accurately judge the people who live in my own house. Was Anne imperfect? No more than any human. Was she proud, insecure, arrogant, and impatient? No doubt. But what is a spirited, intelligent woman to do when a king (who has already been to bed with your sister and then married her off elsewhere) fixes his eye on you? Follow Mary Boleyn’s path, or forge her own? Resist the will of a king who has shown himself ready to meet personal grudges with violence? In the end, I think my opinion of Anne is summed up in a line I gave to Elizabeth in The Boleyn King, when Minuette asks if she believes Anne loved Henry: “I think she loved him as well as she was able, considering she had no choice in the matter.”

Kelly: I am totally in love with that. And how you say she forged her own path because that's what I love about her, too! With how detailed and vividly you write these infamous people of history, if you could spend the day with one historical figure from the Tudor era, who would it be and why?

Laura: Frankly, the Tudors scare the hell out of me. I’m not clever enough for Elizabeth, not brave enough for Henry, not male enough for Anne (who does not seem to have possessed many female friends) . . . I think I would like to spend a day with Jane Grey. And perhaps persuade her to defy her father and Northumberland and refuse to allow herself to be proclaimed queen. Jane was a woman who should have been allowed to live a quiet, useful life, not to be executed for trying to please the men around her.

Kelly: GREAT answer! I love Jane Grey and wish her story had turned out differently as well. I would love to see her defy her horrible parents...possibly another book in your future?..:)

This is an understatement but I was both enthralled and shocked by some of the things that happened in the final book. Did you always know how the story would end when you started The Boleyn King or did it evolve as you wrote?

Laura: A trick question! Originally, back in 2004/2005, The Boleyn King was one (very long) manuscript. I split the story at my agent’s suggestion some years later and thus the trilogy was born. Without giving spoilers, I will say that the original ending had more death. Hmmm, maybe not more death . . . it had different deaths. Once The Boleyn Reckoning has been out for a time, I’ll probably talk about this on my blog and share some of the details of the original version. There was, however, one very critical event that did not change. In fact, it was an outcome that I considered inevitable long before I began actually writing the story.

Kelly: Ooh, I cannot WAIT to find out those answer!! I found the deaths of certain prominent historical figures both ironic and shocking depending on whose it was. Did you map out how you were going to eliminate the major players and in what context?

Laura: Perhaps the aspect I most enjoy about writing alternate history is twisting historical facts (such as time and manner of death) to fit into a new story. Without spoiling too much for The Boleyn Deceit and The Boleyn Reckoning, consider the case of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. History records his execution in 1553 for having maneuvered to put Jane Grey on the throne in place of Mary Tudor. Since Mary Tudor doesn’t take the throne in my world, I had to figure out what to do with Northumberland. The trick is to remember that, though I have changed circumstances and situations, I haven’t changed the essence of who people were. Northumberland was ambitious, proud, and devoted to his family. All I had to do was find a different trigger for him to dig himself a mighty big hole in opposition to the royals.

Some of the details I include with the actual historical characters are almost like Easter Eggs—I like to think that those who know their Tudor history (and there are multitudes who know it far better than I do!) will appreciate the allusions and nods to the actual timeline.

Kelly: That is very prevalent I think in your story and I really liked. You didn't change the people, just the situation which is why I found the different deaths SO interesting! Obviously the Boleyn King series has quite the love story, epic in my humble opinion. What are some of your favorite love stories? Fictional or historical, either or both.

Laura: I adore love stories! I remember as a very young girl devouring The Little House on the Prairie books and being mightily impressed with Almanzo Wilder and his beautiful horses.

As an adult reader, hmmm, how about the first three love stories that come to mind today?

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: historical fantasy set in early-Christian Ireland, a fairy tale re-telling of the six brothers turned into swans by an evil stepmother and the sister who must save them.

Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman: the story of Llewellyn the Great of Wales and his wife, Joanna—illegitimate daughter of the hated English King John—is epic and swoony and if that isn’t how things really happened between them, then it’s what should have happened.

The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett: a six-volume series set in Tudor times centered on the brilliant, enigmatic, infuriating Scotsman Francis Crawford of Lymond. There are plenty of women in those six volumes, but only one who can truly match Lymond in the end.

Kelly: Aaaand you've just made me add  A TON of book to my TBR pile...yay! SPEAKING of loves, let’s play Kiss, Marry, Cliff. You can kiss one, marry one, and throw the last off a cliff. Which would you do to whom between Dom, William, and Robert Dudley?

Laura: Perhaps it should be Kiss, Marry, Behead :)

Marry is easy. As my daughter said recently to my husband, “Dad, don’t you realize you ARE Dominic?”

Kiss . . . let’s just say that I still think the kiss between Will and Minuette after Anne Boleyn dies is one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever written. That boy knows how to kiss.

And Robert Dudley reminds me of Captain Jack in Dr. Who—sometimes I’m charmed and sometimes I’d gladly push him off that cliff.

Kelly: OMG I LOVE THAT!! Kiss, Marry, Behead is totally perfect! I also totally would pick the same answers. That Dominic...does your husband have any single brothers?... :)

Thank you so, so, SO much for stopping by Belle of the Literati and giving this uh-may-zing interview!! I already cannot wait to re-read this series and I hope you all have added this to your TBR pile! 

Don't forget to check out my initial Book Pushin' post 
OR my Lit in Lyrics playlist!!

1 comment:

  1. SO I have already said that I need to read these books! And I've been meaning to read Daughter of the Forest too so I love that that is one of her favorites! I also loved this "I think she loved him as well as she was able, considering she had no choice in the matter.” Great interview!!


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