Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Fun – Five Fun Things That Happened During the Writing of Thwarted Queen

By Cynthia Haggard

Fun Thing #1

Visiting Cecylee's girlhood home at Castle Raby, Co. Durham in July 2007, and being taken on my very own private "Cecylee" tour, which included clambering up a very steep and twisted spiral staircase to visit her room in the Keep, where her father locked her up.

Fun Thing #2

After about three years of writing the novel, I submitted it to my editor Catherine Adams in the summer of 2007 for some structural advice. At that point, the novel had only three books: THE BRIDE PRICE, ONE SEED SOWN and TWO MURDERS REAPED. "But you can't have a novel set at the time of the Wars of the Roses and barely mention it," Catherine said. "But Cecylee wasn't taking part in a direct way," I replied. "She was busy having thirteen children in seventeen years." "You have to have something," responded Catherine, giving me a series of suggestions. That is how I came to write THE GILDED CAGE, which is now Book Three (TWO MURDERS REAPED becoming Book Four).

Fun Thing #3

Doing a photo shoot for the novel. I contacted Heather Hayes and asked her if she'd agree to donate her time. She not only agreed, but she brought along a friend, Whitney Arostegui, to do the photography. It all came together in November, 2010, in Prospect Park Brooklyn, where Whitney shot over three hundred photos. And that is how THWARTED QUEEN and the rest of her parts got their covers.

Fun Thing #4

Being beaten to the post by Anne Easter Smith. Although this was not fun at the time, it was the best thing that happened to Cecylee, because it prodded me into publishing her memoirs. I first heard that Anne Easter Smith was going to write her own novel about Cecylee, via her author notes at the end of her third novel. As that novel was published in March 2009, I figured had some time. So I was shocked to learn in February 2011, via Publisher's Marketplace, that Anne was coming out with her own version in May 2011. I marshaled my resources together, took endless webinars from Writer's Digest on the publishing industry, and even a course on self-publishing. THWARTED QUEEN came out on Amazon's Kindle in October 2011.

Fun Thing #5

Meeting my readers. Thank you for interviewing me! 

Purchase Thwarted Queen at Amazon

Thwarted Queen Synopsis

Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. The seventh daughter, she is the only one left unmarried by 1424, the year she turns nine. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. The Earl of Westmorland plans to marry his youngest daughter to 13-year-old Richard, Duke of York, who is close to the throne. He wants this splendid match to take place so badly, he locks his daughter up. The event that fuels the narrative is Cecylee’s encounter with Blaybourne, a handsome archer, when she is twenty-six years old. This love affair produces a child (the “One Seed” of Book II), who becomes King Edward IV. But how does a public figure like Cecylee, whose position depends upon the goodwill of her husband, carry off such an affair? The duke could have locked her up, or disposed of this illegitimate son. But Richard does neither, keeping her firmly by his side as he tries to make his voice heard in the tumultuous years that encompass the end of the Hundred Years War - during which England loses all of her possessions in France - and the opening phase of the Wars of the Roses. He inherits the political mantle of his mentor Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and become’s the people’s champion. The rambunctious Londoners are unhappy that their country has become mired in misrule due to the ineptitude of a King prone to fits of madness. Nor are they better pleased by the attempts of the King’s French wife to maneuver herself into power, especially as she was responsible for England’s losses in France. But can Richard and Cecylee prevail? Everywhere, their enemies lurk in the shadows. This book is filled with many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time. By their courageous acts, these fifteenth-century Londoners set the stage for American Democracy.

About Cynthia Haggard

Born and raised in Surrey, England, CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD has lived in the United States for twenty-nine years. She has had four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer and novelist. Yes, she is related to H. Rider Haggard, the author of SHE and KING SOLOMONS’S MINES. (H. Rider Haggard was a younger brother of the author’s great-grandfather.) Cynthia Sally Haggard is a member of the Historical Novel Society. You can visit her website at: Purchase the book at Amazon

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