Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Exclusive interview with historical romance author, Julie May Ruddock author of A Daughter of Warwick!

Exclusive interview with historical romance author, Julie May Ruddock author of A Daughter of Warwick.  

I am extremely fortunate to have made a lovely new friend lately.  After nagging her incessantly, she finally gave in and I am delighted to be able to interview her for my blog.

Hello Karen, thank you for inviting me onto your blog. It’s a new experience for me. I am a total dinosaur when it comes to computers.

It’s an absolute pleasure to interview you Julie.  Thank you for singling me out for the privilege and sorry for nagging you so!
As you can image I would like to talk to you about your book A Daughter of Warwick.  It’s set in the time of King Richard III and right now, I guess your book is very popular since the King’s remains have so recently been found.  What led you to write about his wife?

I’ve been a member of the Richard III society for a long time and when I decided to realise a long held dream and write a full length novel, Richard seemed the natural place to start. But, while I was researching and checking out the competition, I realised that his wife Anne’s life was really quite remarkable and she didn’t have her own book. I thought it would be nice to write a book where she isn’t secondary to her husband. It is about how it might have affected her. The hardest thing was ending it before Bosworth but if it was to be Anne’s book, it had to stop when she did.

I imagine that was hard to do.  I personally would have wanted to write about the famous battle too.
As they say; behind every great man is a great woman.  Tell us a little more about her and that period of history.

Anne and her sister, Isabel were daughters of the powerful Yorkist, Earl of Warwick. They were raised at Middleham castle with Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III) and his brother George of Clarence who were Warwick’s wards. Both girls learned to hate the Lancastrian faction.  When Warwick fell out with King Edward and allied with the enemy, Anne was married off to Edward, the prince of Lancaster, son of Henry VI, a man she had always seen as her enemy.
 As the wars of the roses continued, she was soon widowed, losing her father at the same time.  Once a wealthy heiress she made a tantalising target for the greedy and ambitious George of Clarence, who was by this time married to Isabel and coveted Anne’s share of the inheritance for himself.

Oh dear, I am explaining this very badly. I assure you the novel is more concise.

I was just thinking nasty things about George of Clarence actually.  What happened to Anne next then?

Well, George kidnapped Anne and put her in hiding, traditionally believed to be in a cookhouse in the stewes of London. Richard of Gloucester tracked her down to marry her himself. Some historians believe that, like George, he was after her money and properties but, in my book, it is a love match. 
The pair are married and for a while everything goes swimmingly well but then, King Edward IV dies and Richard finds the crown of England within his grasp.  The question is, ‘does he want it?’
The story goes on to tackle Richard’s reasons for taking the throne, the fate of the princes in the tower and explore his relationship with Anne, who in this story is a woman of some substance.  It is her death and that of their son that undermines the King’s mental strength.

You cover a lot of history in your book.  Do you stick to conventional history, use artistic license or come up with your own theories?

I try to stick to the facts where possible but when you are dealing with Richard III it is impossible to remain impartial, one way or the other and there is a lot of fiction and speculation involved. This book is not in any way meant to be clever. It is a love story, with glittering kings and brave knights and princesses in distress. As one of the reviews says, ‘This book was pure escapism and it was interesting to see it from Anne's point of view. Had a tear in my eye at the end even though I knew what was coming.’ 

That is a lovely review.  I am sure that in order to truly show your characters and bring them to life on paper that you had to do a lot of research.  How long did it take you to write in the end?

I wrote my novel A Daughter of Warwick a while ago now, it took me about five years to complete it because I write it all in long hand first, with a pencil. When it comes to cutting and pasting, I do it the old-fashioned way using scissors and sellotape.  

Wow, I can’t imagine how long that must take you Julie.  I don’t know how I’d manage without my computer to write on.  I am also not sure the muscles in my wrist and hand could handle all that writing.  I take my hat off to you.  Do you then transfer the manuscript to a computer, or do you send the manuscript to the editor as is?

Once I am middling happy with the result, I have to transcribe it onto the computer, editing and revising as I go.  My poor editor had a devil of a job sorting out all my wayward commas.  I should really improve my computer literacy just for his sake. They tell me I need a facebook page and a blog account too but …I am not ready for that yet.

That’s a shame.  I know we’d all love to have regular contact with you and updates from you too. Maybe I’ll have to nag you about that too! ;-)

Maybe you will.  If I’d been left to my own devices I would probably have had the book bound to give to people as presents but a friend of mine insisted I let him load it onto Kindle.  His wife made me the lovely cover.  I sat with her while she did it and was amazed at how quickly it all came together. Once that was ready, it was uploaded and there I was, published!
 I didn’t think anyone would buy it …or bother to read it.

It’s amazing how quickly a book can be published these days.  You must be glad to have friends like them to help you.
So, did people start to buy it?

Luckily, just at that moment, archaeologists discovered remains in a Leicestershire car park.  Very suddenly the world fell in love with Richard III and there was my little book – ready and waiting, as if I’d known it was going to happen.  Since I don’t use the internet, it wasn’t until last week my friend told me about the book’s ranking that I realised I had been quite wrong about it.

You must be so pleased about that though.  It’s a fantastic book and a great read.  I am so glad that a story that has such deeply researched history weaved throughout its pages is out there and doing so well.

At the time of writing this A Daughter of Warwick is now in the top forty of Historical Romance and 1,432 in the Kindle chart. Far from the best seller lists and I have no idea what that equates to in terms of earnings but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that people are buying my book and, judging by the reviews it’s had so far, they are liking it too. 
Two five stars and a four star!  But, of course, there is still time for bad reviews and I am sure they will come, I can’t please everybody. I have no doubt there are some serious historians out there ready to shoot me down in flames.

That’s great to hear Julie, I’m really pleased for you.  Has the success of A Daughter of Warwick made you think about writing any more books?

It has certainly made me pick up pace a bit with writing the next one. And my friends are trying to persuade me to put A Daughter of Warwick out in paperback. 

That would be a brilliant idea.  There are still a lot of people out there who prefer a printed book in their hands despite the successes of kindle.

It’s been a pleasure and an honour to chat with you today Julie.  I am a fan, I hope you don’t mind me saying and you’ve made my day.  I also really look forward to reading your next book.

Thank you for having me, Karen. Hopefully I can come back when my next book is ready.

I’d love to have you back on my blog.

So there you have it folks!  Julie May Ruddock is a fabulous writer.  I heartily recommend her book A Daughter of Warwick to you all, especially if you’ve caught Richard III fever like me!

You can buy A Daughter of Warwick through Amazon in the UK here and in the US here.