Monday, April 6, 2015

What Were They Like?

One of the elements that I love about reading and writing historical fiction is that we can explore what historical figures were really like. How did they behave, were they happy, how can we fill in the blanks around the hard facts?

People have asked me many times how I can read books about the same people or how I can enjoy a story when I know how it is going to end. To me, it never gets old. One author's version of a person is never the same as anyone else's. I actually have a mental scale that I use when rating books about Richard III. Are they closer to Shakespeare or Penman? I love seeing how different motivations and consequences can lead up to the portions of history that we know about.

Elizabeth of York is a historical figure with many gaps to fill in her life. We know a lot about her family. As a daughter, sister, niece, wife, and mother of various kings of England, it would have been difficult to keep her a secret. But there are so many questions.

Did she love her uncle, Richard III, and did he love her? Was her marriage to Henry Tudor happy, and did she dare help him plan his attack? Upon seeing Perkin Warbeck, did she believe he was her long lost brother Richard? Did she hate Henry for killing Edward of Warwick? Was it Prince Arthur's death that drove her to try for one more son, resulting in her childbed fever death on her 37th birthday?

I could go on, but I won't. Actually, I did. My fictional take on these questions and many others are what became the basis for Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen. In the numerous novels and reference books that I have read on the Wars of the Roses and the Princes in the Tower, Elizabeth seems to be a forgotten pawn, though she lived in the center of it all.

What do you love about reading historical fiction?

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