Special Guest Interview with Author Anne O’Brien
Tell us about your latest book
My latest book is The Shadow Queen starring Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, who became Princess of Wales through her marriage to Edward, the Black Prince, and King's Mother when her son Richard II took the throne. For a woman with such medieval notoriety, we know remarkably little about her, particularly about her motivations in making some astonishing decisions. In The Shadow Queen Joan pursues her career through three marriages, one of them bigamous, with all the scandals, the insecurities, the heart-break and, not least, the desire for power. In a man's world, Joan is a heroine par excellence.
It is a novel that brings to the forefront the Mortimer claim to the English crown with all its complexity after Henry Bolingbroke's usurpation of King Richard II's throne. It is a tale of rebellion and conspiracy, of love and betrayal, and its high cost in life and in freedom, not least for Elizabeth. I was delighted that Sir Edward Mortimer and Owain Glyn Dwr could make an appearance.
Taking advice is good, but it is not a one size/one fit for all ventures. Decide what is the best fit for you in how to write scenes, how to structure your story. When you are comfortable with it, stick to it.
Don't wait for the muse to strike. Sit down and write. You may not like the initial result but it is a base for revisions. Often it is better than you think.
Be persistent! If you are ambitious, will-power is an essential part of writing.
Most importantly; don't be satisfied with less than your best, until your characters, when they act and speak, ring true. Don't forget to watch them and listen to them. And of course enjoy them ...
I realise that I am blessed with a PR team from my publishers behind me. It is far more difficult, and not least time-consuming, for indie writers.
Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research
Another marvellous realisation which added depth to Queen of the North: after Hotspur's death Elizabeth married Baron Thomas de Camoys who figured strongly in The Queen's Choice. It was like meeting up with an old friend.
What was the hardest scene you remember writing?