The Red Queen is the second installment in Philippa Gregory's riveting Cousins' War series. I'm very happy to have Philippa along to the blog for a Q&A on her work. Read on to find out more about Margaret Beaufort, the subject of The Red Queen, and upcoming works in The Cousins' War series.
Elizabeth Woodville proved to be a popular heroine amongst readers of The White Queen. How do you think readers will react to her bitter rival, the fervently religious Margaret Beaufort, the subject of The Red Queen?
For some people it will be a bit of a stretch to see the enemy as an interesting and worthwhile character - but so she is. Margaret is harder of heart and more ambitious than Elizabeth Woodville but she is a great exemplar of a woman determined on her own education and her family's improvement. I think she will make readers think about the medieval world and women's place in it in a way that no-one else could do.
The Twitter serialisation of The White Queen last year was a lot of fun. If you had to describe The Red Queen as a tweet (140 characters or less), how would you describe it?
The Story of a girl who believes, against all odds, that her son could be king, and herself the greatest woman in the land - and makes it so.
If you were to concentrate on a period of history or a certain historical dynasty outside of Britain, what period of history or characters would you be interested in focusing on?
I am rather interested in the fabulous court of Aquitaine and the Queen Eleanor as the foundation of the troubadour art and romantic love.
Mary Boleyn was certainly neglected till I looked at her; Margaret Beaufort is a woman whose achievements have not been recognised. Some of Henry VIII's queens: Katherine Howard and Anne of Cleves have been absolutely slandered because of a very judgmental view by historians.
I review a lot of Young Adult literature on my blog, and historical fiction is a genre that is becoming increasingly popular in that sector. Do you have any Young Adult historical fiction books you can recommend for younger readers to enjoy?
Georgette Heyer, The Spanish Bride.
Whenever I travel I love to visit places of historical interest. What are some places of historical significance you have visited and loved?
Hever Castle in Kent, the home of Anne Boleyn is wonderful, and though it is well known it is hard to beat the Tower of London. Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh is a powerful place, and Ludlow Castle is a gem.
The third book in the Cousins’ War series, The Rivers Woman, set for release in 2011, will focus on Elizabeth Woodville’s mother, Jacquetta, who I loved reading about in The White Queen. Can you tell me more about this book and what aspects of Jacquetta’s life the book will focus on?
I think it will now be called The Lady of the Rivers and is the story of Jacquetta, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville. Jacquetta was born into European royalty and married the Duke of Bedford, regent of France. She was present at some of the greatest events of the day and was a significant player during the Cousins war in England. Descended from the goddess Melusina and always suspected of witchcraft she is an interesting character to explain the difficulties and dangers of life in medieval England. The Lady of the Rivers will look at Jacquetta's extraordinary eventful life and the mystical and spiritual world of her family as well as the events of the cousins war, and her long loyal affection for Margaret of Anjou.
Are you still planning to write a book focusing on Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter, Elizabeth of York? Besides The White Princess, are there any other characters that you’d particularly like to concentrate on for further books in The Cousins’ War series?
I still plan to write the White Princess, the story of Elizabeth of York, her marriage to Henry VII and the arrival of the boy who may be her brother, Richard coming to England to claim his throne as the York prince. Gloriously, the research thrown up some other fascinating characters and I expect to stay in this period for some time.
Thanks so much to Philippa for answering my questions. The interview was certainly very insightful, and I'm really looking forward to the forthcoming books in this series.
Find out more about Philippa Gregory's The Red Queen: