Historical Novelist writing from a woman's perspective in the Tudor and Medieval period. Her Tudor novels include The Beaufort Chronicles, The Winchester Goose, The Kiss of the Concubine, Intractable Heart and A Song of Sixpence. Medieval novels are Peaceweaver, The Song of Heledd, and The Forest Dwellers. All In paperback and on Kindle. Judith also writes historical blogs and articles.
you might have heard my next Tudor novel A Song of Sixpence is due to be
released very soon and the Kindle version is available for pre-order now.myBook.to/asongofsixpence
It is my seventh
novel and there seems to be more interest in this one, I have had lots of
messages and emails asking about it. This could be the subject matter, or
perhaps my other books are now being more widely read and I have earned myself
some honest-to-goodness ‘fans.’ I’d like
to think so.
to answer some of the questions that have been asked about A Song of Sixpence: You
can read why I decided on this particular title in a piece I wrote about it for the English Historical Fiction Author's blog
Do I believe Perkin Warbeck
was really one of the lost princes?
simple answer to this one. I don’t know. We will never know. The main reason I
wrote A Song of Sixpence wasn’t to suggest that Warbeck was really Richard
but to examine the effect his claim might have had on Elizabeth. In order to
write convincingly I had to divest myself of my own personal belief and put
myself in her shoes.
Elizabeth seems to have been a very family-orientated
woman, staying close to her sisters and mother, and having a direct involvement
with the upbringing of her children. Richard was her younger brother, she would
have nursed him, played with him, read to him and, if she really had no idea of
what happened to them after they disappeared from the Tower, she would have
worried, and grieved. To have him, or the possibility of him, suddenly return
from the dead cannot have failed to impact upon her. Her own son, Arthur, was now
heir to the throne in Richard’s place – if Warbeck truly was her brother she
would have been facing a harsh choice; her conflict one of self-analysis – was she,
first and foremost, a princess of York or a Tudor queen?
Is Elizabeth depicted as
a witch in A Song of Sixpence?
Elizabeth of York
There is no evidence that Elizabeth or her mother believed themselves to be
blessed with magical gifts, that is a fictional device used so often that the concept
has permeated into our understanding of her. In A Song of Sixpence
Elizabeth is just a girl in the middle of civil conflict. She is faced with
some harsh choices, some unkind twists of fate. How she deals with them … I will
leave for you to discover.
Henry was an awful man
wasn’t he? How could Elizabeth stand to be married to him?
don’t believe Henry was an awful man, or that his mother was an awful woman. I
think they were two people in a very different world to ours, fighting for what
they believed in. Henry made harsh decisions because he was king and that is
what kings had to do. Elizabeth may have initially been reluctant to marry into
the Lancastrian line but I don’t believe she had anything against Henry
personally. The historical evidence points to the marriage being a happy one;
there were certainly enough offspring to suggest that one aspect of it at least
worked well. In my novel she has some conflict with Henry’s mother in the early
years but I think anyone might resent a mother-in-law who had as much
influence on their husband as Margaret had on Henry. There are no out and out villains
in my book because I don’t believe in them. I think we are all made up of
different degrees of light and shade and the interpretation of our actions
depends on who is viewing us.
How did you find out you
could write historical fiction? How did you get started?
I have always written stories since I was a child and studied creative writing
at university. Once I finished my master’s degree in Medieval studies in 2007 I
had to find a way of making a living. I live in rural West Wales where jobs are
few and since I don’t drive, travelling is out of the question. So I put my two
skills together. I already had the beginnings of a novel so I sat down and
finished it. Then I wrote another. My third was good enough to publish. I’d
established my ‘voice’ and I was getting in my stride. Peaceweaver didn’t make
much of an impact but I quickly followed it with The Forest Dwellers, and
Song of Heledd. It wasn’t until I released The Winchester Goose, my
first Tudor novel that I began to be noticed. Since it is about Henry VIII’s
most popular queen, Anne Boleyn, The Kiss of the Concubine drew more
readers and Intractable Heart a few more. I now have a steadily growing
readership. Once they’ve found me people seem to buy the whole back catalogue
and eagerly wait for the next book. This is still incredible to me. I am
blessed to reach so many people and provide them with a few hours escape. I value
my readers, new and old, immensely and owe them everything.
You seem to get right
inside your character’s heads: how do you do that?
am not sure. It just seems to happen. I
do an immense amount of research before I start writing so I know the character
as well as I can, then I just slip into their shoes. I think writing in the
first person helps, it makes their world more accessible and then I just move
through it, imagining how it might have felt to be there.
Is A Song of Sixpence available in print form?
will be very soon. I am just waiting for proof copies, then the book will be
available on Amazon and other leading book stores.
What is your next book
going to be about?
after a short holiday from writing (no, never actually happens) I plan to do
some more in-depth research on Margaret Beaufort. During the course of writing A
Song of Sixpence I came to understand that Margaret wasn’t the termagant
she is often depicted to be. It is tempting to see only an old pious lady but she was young once. She had a long, tough and ultimately successful
life; she put whole-hearted effort into establishing her son on the throne. She
may have had her faults but there is much to admire her for. You can read more
about her life in a blog I wrote some time ago.