April 16, 2014

And the Winner Is...

Using Random.org, I randomly chose a winner from those who entered out giveaway for Lauren Mackay's Inside the Tudor Court.

And the winner is...

Stephanie O.

Congrats, Stephanie! Please contact me by April 23rd to claim your prize! :)

For those who did not win, thank you for entering! Be sure to check back for other giveaways in the future!

April 4, 2014

Virtual Book Tour for 'Inside the Tudor Court': Q&A with Author Lauren Mackay and Giveaway!

I am excited to welcome author Lauren Mackay to the Tudor Book Blog today! Her new work, Inside the Tudor Court, focuses on Chapuys, Spanish ambassador during the reign of Henry VIII. I will be posting my review of this book later today, so be sure to check back for that!

1. What is your writing routine? (i.e. cup of coffee early in the morning, etc.)

It depends on what I write, which varies day to day. Juggling my PhD and the book was a challenge, as I had to be in a different head space and use a different voice. I hate writing in silence, I need noise. Music is good, of course, but I find some of my best writing happens when I’m out in the world, hearing a dozen different conversations and listening to the rhythms and textures flying by. I go out with my laptop of a morning, wherever I am. In London, I like to sit on the steps of the British Museum, or in a corner of a pub with my laptop. At home in Sydney, anywhere green, anywhere near water. I allot certain hours, but I like to leave book research and writing for the morning, my PhD for the afternoon and evening.

2. What was one of the most interesting things you discovered while researching and reading Chapuys’ letters?

We have taken Chapuys for granted. His letters, and here I refer to the translations, do not allow for any identity, nuance, or humanity. Because of this, he has been allowed t remain a mere source, rather than a shrewd, principles and meticulous observer and player at the Tudor Court. Many of his relationships have become steeped in myth, and a close study of his letters revealed the true nature of these relationships. But his letters to his family struck me; his concern for his mother, his nieces and nephews. I aimed to restore these dimensions to his character.

3. What inspired you to focus on this time period for your research?

Ancient Greece and Egypt have always been by passion, but I remember watching Henry V with Kenneth Brannagh at an early age, and my love for British history grew from there.

4. What other time periods do you enjoy writing about?

The Tudor period occupies most of my time, but certainly Greece and Norse history.

5. Do you feel Chapuys offered a fair view of Henry VIII and his reign? 

No view is without bias, and of course Chapuys saw Henry’s treatment of Katherine and his daughter as unforgivable. Henry through Chapuys’ eyes is certainly flawed, but in a sense more human than the monarch of mythical proportions. He was opposed to Anne, yes, but his reports are for the most part moderate, and he was always careful to couch any rumors about her as just that. I would say he offered us a vibrant, human, and complex court full of life, intrigue, and drama.

6. What historical figure inspires you the most?
I don’t think I have one in particular, I am inspired by any historical figure who has furthered our knowledge, inspired our passions and taught us about our own nature.

I want to extend a huge thank you to Lauren for including us in her virtual book tour! I actually have a few more Q&A's, but for some reason they did not transfer correctly in the e-mail. If I am able to get those working, I will post the remaining few questions.

If you want to learn more about Lauren Mackay and her wonderful book, be sure to check out her website.

Now on to the giveaway!

Lauren Mackay has graciously offered a free copy of her book to one lucky winner! 

To enter, simply leave a comment below with your first name and last initial, and brief mentioning your favorite Tudor-era primary source (this can be a letter, document, painting, etc. -- Anything from that time period that gives us some clue about life back then). If you aren't sure, check out some good examples here.

Be sure to enter by midnight on April 12th. The winner will be announced on April 13th. Good luck!