Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Author Interview: Suzanne Crowley

Suzanne Crowley has always been fascinated with Elizabethan England, and according to family lore, she is distantly related to Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen. She is also the author of The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous, a Book Sense "Top Ten" Pick. Suzanne Crowley lives with her family in Southlake, Texas. Her latest novel, The Stolen One is in stores today!

What was the inspiration behind writing The Stolen One?
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.

What’s next for you/What can we expect in the future?
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!


Thanks Suzanne!


For more information about Suzanne Crowley and The Stolen One, please check out her website here.

52 comments:

  1. Queen Elizabeth has always fascinated me. I would love to read this book and see an interpretation of her.

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  2. The whole royal history is just crazy if you think about it. Another tidbit about Queen Elizabeth's dresses: Sometimes they were so heavy from jewels that she needed help walking. Here is something even crazier. They would sew pockets on the inner linings of the dresses and keep rats or other rodents in them to keep the ladies warm. I don't know if Elizabeth did that, but it was a custom at the time. Yikes!

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  3. Historical fiction is not normally my thing, but this book sounds great!

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  4. This book is just so interesting sounding! I loved the interview. I love anything about the time period of this book and the book sounds amazing! Good interview!

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  5. I love historical fiction this one will go on my TBR list!Thanks for the interview!

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  6. Those costumes of the Elizabethan Era are beautiful, but I can't imagine being crammed and shoved into dresses like that every day-- restricting, complicated, stiff...

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  7. Oh wow. My mom would absolutely love to read The Stolen One! She's been obsessed with Tudor history long before I was even born and I'm 21 now! I'd definitely love to check it out too.

    Queen Elizabeth has fascinated me as well.

    This was a really great interview! :)

    -Breanna

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  8. Queen Elizabeth seems very interesting! I can't wait to read the book!

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  9. I love the costume of the time period, and the cover art reflects it beautifully. I love it!

    Very interesting!

    Dottie :)

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  10. Great Interview! I absolutly love your interviews.. I can always seem to count on one if you review a book. x)

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  11. I have never read any book thats from the historical fiction category, but this one looks really interesting!

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  12. I look forward to reading her book!

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  13. Fantastic interview, I loved to hear how she became inspired and how she's deeply moved by what she writes about. :)

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  14. I too have a fascination with Tudor history, it's so scandalous and exciting. And the clothing from that period was soooo beautiful, but I can't imagine being shoved into the corsets and the contraptions like they were. Ouch! Love the interview!

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  15. I love reading about historical fiction so much! I can't wait to get this book! It's great to see where she got the inspiration for the story.

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  16. Queen Elizabeth has always been a monarch I wanted to meet--along with Cleopatra and Hatshepsut in Ancient Egypt. The three of them together...well that's a royal triade I wouldn't want to mess with (add in Queen Victoria and yeah. I'd run away scared).

    But great interview! How great is it to be able to trace family back that far?

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  17. This was a great interview and now I am dying to read this book! Knowing what inspired the story makes me so curious.

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  18. I love what she said about what impressed her while researching. Royalty stuff interests me too!

    This was a wicked good interview!

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  19. This is a great interview. I can't wait to read the book. I love anything relatively historical and Tudor history has always been something I love reading about too.

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  20. sounds like an interesting read and i love the cover!

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  21. my mil would love this one. great interview.

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  22. It's really cool that an author can be so versatile-writing in different genres. I'm very excited to read this!

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  23. Queen Elizabeth is fascinating. I found it interesting to read about the clothing of Queen Elizabeth.
    Fantastic interview!

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  24. Fabulous interview! Didn't know that she lived in TX; yay for a TX author! I'm very impressed with how passionate she is about her books and writing them.

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  25. I look forward to reading her book! That's interesting about her research.

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  26. How exciting to have a Royal relation! If only my family tree were so interesting!

    Great Interview, cheers,
    julie.sherritt[at]gmail.com

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  27. I got teary eyed when I read the part about the mother's letter. :S I'm veeery emotional.

    Its always so fun when you have a famous ancestor... you just feel cooler.

    Sara

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  28. That is great about getting letters from fans. Loved the interview. I'm curious what will strike her fancy next for her third books. :)

    -lauren

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  29. Very enjoyable interview. I too, like things that deal with the Elizabethan England and Tudor. I'm going to read your review. If I like what I read I will add The Stolen One to my TBR list.

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  30. Great interview, and as both a history buff and a clothes horse (which I distinguish from a fashionista), I love the fact that you got to do research into the minutiae of Elizabeth's wardrobe to write this book. I can't wait to read it!

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  31. She sounds really nice, and she answered your questions really well.

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  32. The Tudors fascinate me. I read everything I can get my hands on about them. What intrigues me is the nugget of Tudor history that inspired this book - wonder what it is!

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  33. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    What a fascinating wealth of detail! I had no idea about the panic attacks (they run in my family so I can relate to the that). You know, my own family has had ties with the Scottish branch of the Tudor line (through the Stewarts) and I've always been interested in Queen Elizabeth and other notables from this era.
    FANTASTIC INTERVIEW!

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  34. I can't wait to read this book. I just want to thank the author for answering the questions. It was all fun to learn. I love the books about royals, especially Queen Elizabeth.
    Thanks for the contest. Also I am a follower.
    Allie

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  35. Histrical fiction is one of my favorites, I look forward to reading this book!

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  36. The more historical fiction I read, the more I want to take history classes! Great interview

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  37. I also find Queen Elizabeth endlessly fascinating.

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  38. Great interview! I loved this book and the idea for the Venice historical sounds great, hope she writes it!

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  39. I definitely find Queen Elizabeth intriguing. Fatnastic interview!

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  40. Great interview! I think the most interesting thing about Queen Elizabeth the I is her complexity which is mentioned in the interview -- how she could be so ruthless and yet also tender -- she would have been a fascinating person to meet!

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  41. The Stolen One sounds wonderful.Great interview.

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  42. I love the cover of the book, and read in a seperate interview how much input you had over it. Congrats!

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  43. I think it awesome that Suzanne took her a bit of her own family history to write her novels, great interview!

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  44. Great interview! I love that she is so passionate about her work.

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  45. Awesome interview with some really great questions. I really hope she does write another book. I'm so excited to read The Stolen One.

    ~Briana

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  46. I love to read historical works (fiction, non-fiction, whatever), particularly about the Tudor family. I would geek out if I found out I was distantly related to anyone involved with them!

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  47. Hey, it's a small world. I'm also related to Lady Jane Grey.

    This book sounds great, and your next idea about Venice sounds intriguing as well.

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  48. If the contents is just a fraction as fantastic as the cover - this book will be a hit!

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  49. I really admire the passion that Suzanne pours into her writing and research. Really makes me want to read her novels.

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  50. i am a history nut and your review makes me want to read this all the more..
    ppoverboard@aol.com

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  51. Great interview, the book sounds really good!

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  52. Queen Elizabeth has always fascinated me.

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