I am delighted to be taking part in Amy Licence’s book tour for her wonderful series of children’s books about the Tudors. To mark the release of the third book in the series, Henry VIII, I have an author interview to share with you, and a copy of Amy’s book to give away!
MadeGlobal’s “All About” series is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to know more about the key characters of history. The books are colourfully illustrated throughout, have a simple narrative to explain the key points in the character’s life and more detailed sections for the more-able reader or teacher. The book also contains a section of thought-provoking questions which can be used to further discussions about history.
Henry VIII is probably the most famous Tudor. He was a handsome, athletic young man; he never expected to become king and so was determined to enjoy his reign. Henry had six wives but could hate as passionately as he loved. He even had two wives executed. Henry surrounded himself with extraordinary men, including Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, and, during his reign, he changed religion forever in England. His son and daughters went on to be famous monarchs too.
Why did Henry have so many wives? Why was his reign so important?
Read the facts about Henry VIII in this book and make up your own mind.
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Q&A with Amy Licence
Amy, you were kind enough to answer our ’20 questions’ back in May 2014. Since then you’ve been incredibly busy writing so we’d love to catch up with you and see how things have changed, or stayed the same, for you since then…
2016 was considered a difficult year for many, yet you released three biographies and two children’s books. What do you consider to be the secret of your success?
I’m afraid there’s not much of a secret to it, just an awful lot of hard work.
With it being such a busy time for you, I would imagine you haven’t had too much spare time. Have you managed to read any of the books that were on your TBR pile back in 2014, such as Mad Girl’s Love Song (a biography of Sylvia Plath) and Kingmaker by Toby Clement?
Yes, both those books were great. I do try and read other things beside whatever I’m working on at the moment but it doesn’t always happen; if I’m writing about a particular period of history I like to saturate myself in it, filling my head with everything I can find on it. I’ll usually read other things between writing books, or if I take some time out. I’m reading Gareth Russell’s wonderful new one on Catherine Howard at the moment.
You mentioned before that you’d love to visit the USA and possibly take your children to Disneyland. Is this still on your list of ‘Things to do’?
That one’s still on the list. It’s a question of time and money, as is everything. Last summer we managed to take them exploring rural Wales and will be returning again this year: I think roaming on the beaches and exploring old castles inspires them more.
In 2014 you were working on a book called “Miss Modernist”, about the lives of women at the vanguard of art 1864-1914. Is this an ongoing project?
Funnily enough, that’s the book I’m writing right now. Its final title is “Bohemian Lives” and it focuses on three women who lived with famous artists, but draws in links to others who were experimenting in art and challenging social expectations of women and the way they lived. It’ll be out in the early summer.
We spoke previously about the women of history you admire and a common quality that came up was that of knowing what you want and striving for it. Which women of this generation do you feel have that quality? Do you think they will be remembered in 100 years time?
I’m a huge fan of Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama; two dedicated, sensitive, intelligent women who’ve remained dignified and driven in the pursuit of their goals. There are hundreds more, all round the world, but those two are uppermost in my mind at the moment, because of Trump’s inauguration. Those two won’t be forgotten.
Are you still following the Walrus from the Horniman on Twitter? Which five Twitter accounts are you most likely to re-tweet?
Ha ha, bless the walrus! Yes, I do follow him still, although he has been very quietly lately. I’m most likely to retweet something that has a pretty picture. I’m very easily seduced by colour.
Back in 2014 your idea of a ‘perfect night out’ was to stay in and get more sleep. Are you getting more sleep now that your boys are older? How would you let your hair down these days?
They’re both at school now so I am getting more sleep. But I do more work now too, so it’s a case of swings and roundabouts. On the rare occasion that I might get the chance to let my hair down I like to spend it with someone special, preferably with alcohol and chocolate, but I’d settle for tea.
You mentioned previously a desire to learn a new foreign language, have more patience and to master time travel. As 2016 failed to provide the means for the latter, have you had more success with developing the other skills?
You sure about that last one?… I can now speak multitask and I have the patience of a saint.
We’ve planned for seven in total, one of each colour of the rainbow, so we have green, blue, indigo and violet to account for. There’ll be Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth, but not sure yet between Jane Grey and a general Henry VIII’s wives.
What does 2017 hold in store for you?
Ha, more work, more work, cracking the fiction market, winning the lottery, but I also intend to stay alive and have a jolly good time.
Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from Queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, Queenship and identity, rites of passage, pilgrimage, female orthodoxy and rebellion, superstition, magic, fertility and childbirth. She is also interested in Modernism, specifically Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Post-Impressionism.
Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The English Review, The Huffington Post, The London Magazine and other places. She has been interviewed regularly for BBC radio, including Woman’s Hour, and made her TV debut in “The Real White Queen and her Rivals” documentary, for BBC2, in 2013. She also writes literary fiction and has been shortlisted twice for the Asham Award.
Her website can be found at amylicence.weebly.com
Amazon Book Links
Be sure to follow the rest of Amy’s book tour!