I am delighted to share with you my interview with Elizabeth Fremantle, author of four captivating novels set in Tudor England.
Elizabeth very kindly answered my 20 questions, and the lovely folk at Penguin Random House UK have very generously given me 5 copies of Elizabeth’s latest novel, The Girl in the Glass Tower, to give away! To go into the draw, simply leave a comment after this post. Good luck!
Elizabeth Fremantle’s The Girl in the Glass Tower is a stunning historical thriller set in the chaos leading up to the death of Elizabeth I.
Tap. Tap. Tap on the window.
Something, someone wanting to be heard. Waiting to be free.
Tudor England. The word treason is on everyone’s lips. Arbella Stuart, niece to Mary, Queen of Scots and presumed successor to Elizabeth I, has spent her youth behind the towering windows of Hardwick Hall. As presumed successor to the throne, her isolation should mean protection – but those close to the crown are never safe.
Aemilia Lanyer – writer and poet – enjoys an independence denied to Arbella. Their paths should never cross. But when Arbella enlists Aemilia’s help in a bid for freedom, she risks more than her own future. Ensnared in another woman’s desperate schemes, Aemilia must tread carefully or share her terrible fate . . .
The Girl in the Glass Tower brilliantly explores what it means to be born a woman in a man’s world, where destiny is strictly controlled and the smallest choices may save – or destroy – us.
Conditions of Entry
For your chance to win one of five copies of The Girl in the Glass Tower, you must be subscribed to On the Tudor Trail’s newsletter (if you are not already, sign up on our homepage where it says ‘Free Enewsletter Subscription’).
Then simply leave a comment after this post between now and 17 March 2017. Don’t forget to leave your name and a contact email. Please note that I have comment moderation activated and need to ‘approve’ comments before they appear. There is no need to submit your comment twice.
This giveaway is open internationally.
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20 Questions with Elizabeth Fremantle
When did you realise that you wanted to become a novelist?
It was my childhood dream. What I didn’t realise was that it would take me so long.
What sparked your interest in sixteenth century England?
When I did my degree in English I studied a good deal of renaissance literature, initially because I was drawn to the metaphysical poets and Jacobean tragedy. It was a course on women writers of the period though that led me to my fascination with women’s lives in Early Modern England. My interest in those women writers endures and in my latest novel, The Girl in the Glass Tower, the poet Aemilia Lanyer is one of my main characters.
Tell us about your latest book.
It tells the story of Arbella Stuart, a young woman who was raised to be the heir to Elizabeth I. Because of the threat of plots she was kept in virtual imprisonment for most of her early life at the magnificent Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. Arbella was a prolific letter writer, which allowed me an extraordinarily detailed access to her intimate thoughts. Her profound desire to escape and take charge of her own destiny runs through all her writings and it is this that drew me to write about her. I chose to weave her story with that of Aemilia Lanyer, as I mentioned above, as I felt their lives chimed together, drawing a more complete picture of life for women of that time.
What other periods of history interest you?
I’m always interested in periods in which there is great social change but it is primarily individuals who attract me to a period.
What new skills would you like to learn?
I have just taken up archery – a new skill that began as research but is something I plan to continue.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
I love the English seaside.
Name two items on your bucket list.
I don’t really have a bucket list but I would love to go to Rome and Pompeii – strangely I’ve never been to either.
What inspires you?
It’s very hard to pin down what I find inspiring. Something as mundane as a sparrow landing on my windowsill can send me off into flights of imagination and of course much of my inspiration comes from reading. Shakespeare is an author I often turn to, as his work is so incredibly rich and psychologically complex. But it is people who face adversity with grace that inspire me most.
Describe a day in your life when you are writing. Do you follow any rituals?
I’m afraid my writing day is quite banal. Once I have walked my dogs in the morning I spend all day at my desk. I have a count of 1,500 words that I must achieve and that sometimes means I don’t stop until well into the evening. It plays havoc with my social life!
What does your writing space look like?
Ordered chaos is probably how I’d describe it!
Describe your perfect weekend.
A long dog walk is always a favourite way to spend a weekend morning and I love cooking Sunday lunch for family and friends, who I will rope into a game of Scrabble. No one likes playing with me because I’m one of those people who has learned the two and three letter words by heart, so I’m no fun.
What brings you joy?
Receiving flowers unexpectedly.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m terrified of flying.
What books are on your bedside table?
At the moment: Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple and Mark Forsyth’s The Elements of Eloquence, which is the most entertaining book about writing I’ve ever come across.
Name one of your guilty pleasures.
What women in history do you most admire?
I greatly admire all the women I’ve written about.
Are you currently working on any new books?
I am. The Poison Bed, which will be published in 2018, is a Jacobean thriller about a murder that rocked the court of James I. It is based on a true story and involves the Earl and Countess of Somerset, who were a kind of celebrity couple of the time.
Do you have a favourite quote?
‘If in doubt, play dead.’ I don’t know where it comes from but it makes me laugh.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Read, read and then read some more. Read from all genres, read things you think you won’t like and then form an opinion as to why they do or don’t work.
Visit Elizabeth’s Official website at http://www.elizabethfremantle.com/