The Stolen One was inspired by a nugget of Tudor history I read about many, many years ago. I can't say what it is without giving away the ending of the story though. I have always loved reading about Tudor history, and I grew up with the family legend that we are distantly related to the family of Lady Jane Grey, the tragic queen of nine days. This is something that sticks in a little girl's mind, especially one with an active imagination. I've been writing stories since I was little girl and got lucky to finally have my first book published at age 43.
Do you need to be especially moved in order to write?
In the case of both my books, yes. My first book, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous, is inspired by a family member, and was written from my heart. It poured out of me in three months like I was on auto pilot. Then it took five years and many revisions to get it published. And of course, my second, as I said above, was inspired by my love of history and something that I had read about. We'll just have to see what I write next! It will definitely have to be something that I'm passionate about. It's hard enough writing a novel - I don't think I could do it unless there was an inner passion pushing me forward.
What impressed you most during your research?
First, I would say, how much Queen Elizabeth went through in her life. She was a very complicated person. It's hard to believe such ruthlessness and tenderness could exist in one person but if you take into account the awful things that happened to her as a child and teenager you begin to understand. She had a very difficult life and even suffered from panic attacks that left her immobilized in bed for days.
Secondly, I was fascinated with the research I did on the queen's wardrobe. I was able to get a hold of a book called "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd" by Janet Arnold. It's a gorgeous, sumptuous book with dozens of portraits of Queen Elizabeth with detailed description of the inner workings of her wardrobe and jewelry. I learned Nicholas Pigeon was a clerk and I just loved that name! So he became one of my main character's love interests! I also discovered there was a laundress named Anne Twiste and she had a son named Oliver! The back of the book has a listing of every single item in the queen's wardrobe taken from an inventory in 1600. Here is a typical listing:
66 Item one Dutche Cloake of orenge colour Satten striped with golde with a garde of blacke Taphata sarcenet lai de with a brode bone lace of venice golde and silver furred with Mynnever and faced with powdered Armyons.
Which author(s) have influenced your writing?
Gosh, that's a hard one. Probably every single writer that I've read. We pick up subconsciously the elements of writing from every novel we read. That's one of the things I tell aspiring writers - read as much as you can from every genre. That's how you learn how to write is by reading.
What has been the best part of being a published author?
Going to the book store for the first time and seeing my book on the stands! Also getting letters from fans. Just last week I got a letter from Canada from a mom whose daughter has autism, like the character in my first book. It was extremely touching - she said her daughter finally had someone to relate to, someone that was just like her and she no longer felt alone. You can't beat that.
I haven't started writing anything else yet but I have another Texas book in mind like my first, and an idea for another spicy historical set in Venice in the 1750's.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Just to check out The Stolen One, you won't be disappointed!