One of my biggest aims for Lauren Lizabeth Blog this year is to create more varied content for all for all of you lovely readers so I would like to introduce you to my interview series! I have been firing out emails to a variety of people who really inspire me to ask if they would be kind enough to have a chat with me so that they can inspire all of you too!
At the top of my list; all of my favourite authors! The first interview of the series is with Alison Weir; the biggest selling female historian in the UK! I first became aware of Alison’s work when I read “Innocent Traitor” which is a heart wrenching novel from the perspective of Lady Jane Grey – Queen of England for Nine Days. If you haven’t done so already, you really must read this book. It is extremely powerful, emotional and incredibly gripping!
Alison is one of the first people that I emailed and I couldn’t believe it when I saw a reply appear in my email inbox! I was out with Jeff at the time and I was so excited! I can’t thank Alison enough for her time and I really hope that you all enjoy the interview!
Here we go!
I love the story of how you first became interested in the Tudor period after coming across “Henrys Golden Queen” by Lozania Prole whilst home ill from school. Were there any other books or authors who really inspired you at a young age?
Yes, I loved Norah Lofts, Anya Seton and Hilda Lewis. I still find their novels inspirational.
Were you encouraged by those around you to pursue your writing; such as your parents, friends and teachers?
My mother was wonderfully supportive. Overnight, virtually, she had this young teenager who had suddenly developed a passion for history. As you can imagine, she was delighted – and she still is. At 89, she’s my biggest fan! I owe a lot to her.
I used to write stories for my head teacher at Primary School, and split them up into three part series’…my first was my own adaptation of Rapunzel. I wish that I had kept it too look back on now and wondered if you have kept any of your earliest pieces of writing? Are there any that particularly stand out to you?
I’ve kept a lot, and there are samples on my website. Several of my early pieces stand out because they make me cringe! I like some of the later stuff, though, and wish I’d finished a lot of it. You never know when your early work will come in useful.
There are so many questions that I’d love to ask you about your portfolio of work and writing process; I have tried to choose questions that I think would most interest visitors to my blog:
Out of all of our past monarchs, I am most inspired and interested by Queen Elizabeth I. It is her fierce independence, remarkable bravery and how she overcame such adversity that I admire the most (and I was born on her birthday!) Which historical figure do you find most inspiring and, if you haven’t done so already, would you like to write about them?
Elizabeth I has to be at the top of the list. She was a woman, a bastard and a heretic in the eyes of many, and she inherited an uncertain throne in a bankrupt kingdom beset by enemies. And she was still there 45 years later! What a woman. I admire Eleanor of Aquitaine too, because at 67 she came into her own after a turbulent life and showed herself a wise and compassionate stateswoman.
I am from Leicestershire and have lived here all of my life, so Bradgate Park is a beloved spot for walks, picnics and bike rides. I am interested to know if you visited the park whilst researching your novel “Innocent Traitor”, and if the park itself had much of an influence of Lady Jane Grey’s life?
No, I didn’t, but I had a plan of the house beside me as I wrote. I’ve been there since and it’s a beautiful place. It’s hard to say how much influence the park had on Jane’s life. I would imagine she thought of it often, and wistfully, during those long months in the Tower.
Do you think that there is anything women today can learn from the history of such powerful women like Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth of York, Katherine of Aragon and Elizabeth I?
Probably that tenacity, courage, faith and determination can surmount adversity.
I can’t imagine how much research must go into your writing…both fiction and non fiction! How do you go about researching the subjects of your books, and are you ever overwhelmed by the scale of the task?!
For non-fiction, I research from primary sources first, and look at the secondary sources later. I know my way around them well because I’ve worked with the major contemporary sources for decades. Yes, I do sometimes feel overwhelmed when a deadline is approaching and I still have so much to go through. That’s when work takes priority over everything else.
Just a couple of more fun and light hearted questions to conclude!
If you could invite three people from history for a dinner party – who would you invite and why?
Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I – an explosive mixture!
Despite all that you have achieved, are there any remaining personal career goals that you have?
I want to complete and publish my new version of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, but it will take years, as I’m working on other projects.
What are your proudest moment; both personal and professional?
My wedding day, the births of my children, and getting into print.
When you’re not writing and researching; how do you like to relax?
I love watching films, listening to music, playing Scrabble, doing jigsaws and doing crosswords. Most of all, relaxing over a meal with loved ones and friends.
Once again, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Alison for taking time about of her busy schedule to contribute towards my blog! I hope that you all enjoyed it; you can find out more here and purchase Alison’s books here , including her most recent publication “Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon – The True Queen”.
Until next time,