Many thanks to Darlene Elizabeth Williams for tagging me in the Next Big Thing blog hop! Darlene is a prolific reviewer of historical fiction and is currently working on a book, which you can read all about when you click the link to her blog! It sounds like a most fascinating project.
What is the working title of your next book?
Thomas & Maud. There will be other books in this series, all named for the titles of their main characters. As Thomas held no title and didn’t share his wife’s dowager title, the only way to maintain consistency here is to give the book this, fairly lowkey, name. But, hopefully, it says it all. Or nearly all. The book is about Thomas and Maud, but it’s also a little bit about Gervase. Thomas & Maud & Gervase sounds dumb though, and possibly a little misleading!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
There are so many books about the Wars of the Roses and, apart from Anne Nevill, the Nevills are often relegated to one-dimensional secondary characters. My original plan was to write the whole story of the Wars from their point of view, but that was in danger of getting way out of hand, so I’m breaking it into four, each with a married couple carrying the tale. As different members of the family were often in different places, and some died in the 1460s, some in 1471 and some much later, and they weren’t all doing the same things at the same time, (in fact, they wren’t always on the same side at the same time!) there’s not as much repetition of events as might be feared. There is some, but even this is told from different perspectives. Thomas and his wife, Maud Lady Willoughby, open the series.
What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction. Though there are elements of love and sex (we are talking about a young married couple) it’s NOT historical romance. And the sex is very muted and, I hope, tastefully done.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
It would have to be a television drama, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Casting Thomas is quite difficult. I’d want a sense of continuity between him and his brothers and sisters, though usually, no two members of any one family are exactly alike. I’m not sure I’d be able to explain what I meant to a casting agency, but I’d know the right cast when I saw it! If my life depended on it, maybe someone like Guy Pearce. I see Maud as quite dark and dangerous, almost ‘exotic’, so a young Gina Bellman would do quite nicely here.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Behind every tragedy in her life, every mistake and every triumph, stands a man.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
That’s something yet to be determined. I want to publish in both paperback and ebook, so it might be a bit of both!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Do I count all the false starts? Because the answer to that is ‘decades’! As a stand alone project, I started it two years ago and haven’t quite got the first draft completed. I research as I write. I don’t do all the research then sit down and do all the writing. With one last piece of information to get, I’m hoping to have it done some time this year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I have no idea! In terms of sticking doggedly to the bones of the real story, I’m in the Susan Higginbotham School of Historical Fiction. In terms of writing style, I really can’t say.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The Nevills themselves. The whole gloriously flawed, self-assured, larger than life family. Thomas is rarely given page space and I wanted him to stand up and be seen. From the perspective of actually getting down to research and write, I read a novel about John Nevill and his wife and felt the family deserved something better. And Susan Higginbotham, whose contribution to me getting up off my arse and getting things done has been incalculable.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Two people who get scant mention in most novels and books of non-fiction are getting their very own book! There’s much more to Thomas Nevill than his death, and there’s far more to his wife than most people would imagine. Her life after her second widowhood was turbulent and fascinating. While we only get a glimpse of that in Thomas and Maud, her story will continue on through the other books, albeit not as a major character.
I am delighted to tag David Pilling, author of Folville’s Law and The White Hawk.
Su Harrison talks about her new book, A Rose of England.