Continuing our Sunday Series
of taking a look at some fabulous authors!
Hello Judith, welcome to our Discovering Diamonds Guest Spot. Along with my readers and visitors I love to hear from authors who write wonderful stories. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, box of chocs and glass of wine to hand!
Q. Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself....
A. Hello, thank you for having me on your blog, Helen. I’ve always loved history but spent my younger years bringing up my children and running a smallholding. We kept horses, poultry, goats and grew vegetables and had a wonderful life. Once the children grew up and flew the nest, I turned to writing. I studied creative writing and history at university and had always dreamed of being a ‘proper’ author, so I’ve been lucky enough to achieve both my childhood dreams of having a farm and earning a living from writing. I like to read, write (obviously). I also garden and sew historical clothing. I am a member of The Fyne Companyee of Cambria a medieval/Tudor re-enactment group that fills the summer weekends with fun. I am just completing my thirteenth Historical Fiction novel, most of which are set during the wars of the roses or the Tudor era.
Q. Where do you live?
A. I live in Wales, on the coast looking over Cardigan Bay. I love being able to walk on the beach or on the cliff path every day. The views are magnificent and never grow stale.
Q. If you had a choice to live anywhere – where would it be?
A. I’d stay here but maybe in my last house if it could be transported to the coast. The weather is better here than in land.
Q. Modern house, old cottage, castle or something else?
A. I’ve lived in an old cottage for twenty years; it was often cold and required a lot of maintenance. My husband always kept a hammer in his back pocket in case it began falling down – ha ha! The house I live in now was built in the 1950, originally a small family house it has now had a huge wrap around extension and loft conversion. I would find it hard to give up the comfort of this house but …I watch Escape to the Chateau and, along with most viewers, wish I were young enough to buy and renovate one for myself.
Q. Cat, dog or budgie?
A. In the past we always kept dogs but since we lost our last one a few years ago we aren’t going to replace him.
Q. Are you a ‘dining room for dinner’, or a ‘tray on your lap in front of the TV’ person?
A. A bit of both really, it depends on the company. Now there’s just the two of us, my old fella and I often eat in front of the telly.
Q. TV preferences – documentary, drama, comedy, soap or thriller?
A. I love dramas if they are well done. I found The Crown really fabulous, but I also enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale, and White Lines. I loathe cheap historically inaccurate costume dramas. I’ve stopped watching them since almost suffering apoplexy watching The White Queen. I even find some documentaries tedious and repetitive – they take two hours to say what could be said in one.
Q. What was your first published novel about?
A. Peaceweaver was published in 2009. It is set in the 11th century and tells the story of Eadgyth, who was wife to Gruffyd ap Llewellyn of Wales and Harold II of Hastings fame. I wrote in this era for a few years but switched to Tudor when people kept asking me to.
Q. What was your last novel about?
A. My last published novel was about Mary Tudor, Queen of England. She is on her death bed, looking back on her life and past mistakes. The books covers her childhood, the break-up of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, her experience during the reign of Edward VI and the events surrounding Lady Jane Grey, and also Mary’s reign. I find Mary Tudor a fascinating woman; her good points have been completely obliterated by the religious changes that took place after her passing. Despite her actions, she doesn’t deserve the title Bloody Mary. I don’t white-wash her, but I hope I explain the motivation behind her more controversial actions.
I am just on the editing stage of A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, the Aragon Years which is due to be published in 2021.
Q. Do you write in one genre or several?
A. I just write Historical Fiction and non-fiction,
Q. Have you ever considered exploring a totally different genre?
A. I don’t think I could write anything else. I lived so far from the modern world for so long, I know very little about it. I am far more at home in Tudor England.
Q. If you could, which two of your characters would you like to invite to spend an afternoon with you?
A. Only two? How mean! I think Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth I would be interesting; Margaret would have been so proud of her great granddaughter.
Q. How do you prefer to travel? Plane, boat, car?
A. Car, if I am really pushed. I have travel phobia. If I go further than Cardiff, I am liable to panic attacks.
We have a long-running Radio programme here in the UK called Desert Island Discs on which celebrities talk about their life and select eight of their favourite discs... so changing that slightly...
Q. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what eight books would you want to find left in an abandoned hut? (There’s already a Bible, the Quran, and the complete works of Shakespeare)
1. Daphne du Maurier – The King’s General
2. Winston Graham – The complete Poldark
3. H Mantel - Wolf Hall trilogy
4. Elly Griffiths – The first Ruth Galloway book
5. Any of Terry Tyler’s books
6. The Tudor Chronicles
7. Michel Faber = The Crimson Petal and the White
8. one of mine – A Matter of Conscience: Henry VIII, the Aragon Years
Q. What sort of island would you prefer, and why? (e.g. Desert Island... Hebridian Island...)
A. Not a desert island as I don’t like it too hot and I hate spiders. Hebridean would be better provided I had warm clothing, but Guernsey would be better - lol
Q. And you would be allowed one luxury item – what would you want it to be? (a boat or something to escape on isn’t allowed.)
A. A shower with decent water pressure and my favourite shampoo plumbed in.