Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Author Interview - Katherine Longshore

Today the lovely Katherine Longshore stops by for an interview. We're talking Tudor Court, history and research. Gilt is in stores TODAY so grab a copy. If you are interested in winning your chance to read it the Tudor Tuesday blog tour wraps up today and has 3 chances to win. Details can be found in the contest post.

1 Describe Gilt in three words

friendship passion betrayal

2 Describe your novel's Catherine Howard in three words

charismatic manipulative duplicitous

3 What drew you to write about Tudor England? And what especially drew you to Catherine Howard?

I kind of fell into Tudor England, really. My first love was late Medieval history, and Richard III in particular. I suppose I have a bit of a soft spot for the bad boys, because Henry VIII seemed to follow naturally. And when I realized I was kind of destined to write for teens, Catherine seemed an obvious choice, as she was a teenager when she became queen.

4 What sort of research did you do? Did you visit any sites in England?

I read a lot of books. I found transcripts of original documents online. And yes, my favorite part of research is to visit the places where my characters lived. And died. Hampton Court Palace is still as majestic as I’m sure it was in the middle of the 16th century. The Tower of London is just as formidable. And though some places no longer stand – even in ruins – I can learn a lot just by being able to view the world from their location.

5 During your research did you learn anything that surprised you?

It surprised me that so many historians perpetuate the assumption that Catherine Howard was birdbrained and frivolous. Yes, she made an egregious error. But who among us didn’t at some point – especially when young – do something stupid? Does that mean we are stupid? Not at all. So why should we assume Cat was?

6 If you were alive during Tudor times would you have wanted to be at Court?

Honestly? I don’t think so. My natural expectation is that people are basically good, kind and honest. And I think the Tudor court bred that out of people. As Cat says in Gilt, “The English court is beautiful and cutthroat, and anyone going there has to be both. Or at least act as if she is.” Though I would like to see it – the gowns and jewels, the tapestries on the walls, the musicians, the incredible, elaborate foods. And then, I’d probably like to go home to my own quiet space.

7 What was the easiest part of this novel to write? The hardest?

I think they’re one and the same. Stephen King coined the phrase “killing your darlings”, meaning, as a writer, having to excise some of the parts of your novel that you love the most, because they don’t work in the story structure. But it can also apply to characters. I can picture the Tower of London, the scaffold, the scant and miserable crowd at Catherine’s execution. The vision makes the words come easily. But it was difficult, emotionally, to write it.

8 Who is the first person that gets to read your writing?

My sister, Martha Longshore. She is the first writer in our family, and has an uncanny eye for whether writing works. She recently read the rough draft of Book 2 in the Royal Circle series, and when she told me she finished it in two days, I was blown away.

9 What is the last book you read that you would recommend to others?

This book won’t be coming out for a few months yet, but I’d certainly recommend that people keep an eye out for SKINNY by Donna Cooner. It is so relatable, so heartfelt, so beautifully unnerving. A must-read.

10 If you could go back in time to any time period and any place, where and when would you travel to?

I’d love to travel to the Field of Cloth of Gold. From June 7 to 24, 1520, Henry VIII met Francis I, King of France, in a field near Calais, which was part of England at the time. They built tents to look like chateaux. They covered everything in the titular cloth, and all of it gleamed in the sunlight. They had games and feasts and signed a peace treaty that was supposed to last for years (but didn’t). This is what the pageantry of the Renaissance was all about, and it would have been amazing to be a part of it.


I want to thank Katherine for stopping by!

I have a mini contest going on. I have some amazing signed bookmarks and feel like giving some away. I am going to be giving 5 in total. To win, simply comment below with the name of your favourite of King Henry's Queens and a way to contact you (Twitter handle, etc).

Also don't forget to enter the Tudor Tuesday contest to win a copy of Gilt!


  1. Oh wow, I would definitely love to go back and see the Field of Cloth of Gold too! It would have been an incredible experience. I love this interview, you both have me even more interested in reading Gilt now!!

    Congrats to Katherine on her release!

  2. I don't know why, but I just love Anne Boleyn! :) She was smart and I think she was really a match for Henry. And I'm a bit influenced by the television show from the Tudors: the actress is extremely beautiful.

    I live international: I think that's a problem with the giveaway? :) If not: thedailyprophecy@hotmail.com

    And thanks for the interview! I really liked reading it.


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