Q. Which of your books is your favourite?
My favourite book is normally the most recent book, as I have lived and breathed the characters for so long. The Queen’s Fool remains a firm favourite but as I have just finished work on The White Queen about Elizabeth Woodville, it is my most precious. That said, I am also working on The Red Queen and The White Princess and I’m finding the war of the roses a fascinating period.
Q. Have you ever considered writing about Laetitia Knollys?
I agree that Laetitia Knollys was a fascinating woman. She appears briefly in my novel The Virgin’s Lover, which you might enjoy but I would love to write a novel about her in the future.
Q. Are you going to write any more about Queen Elizabeth?
Elizabeth is such a key figure and she comes into two of my published books, The Queens Fool (as a young Princess) and The Virgin’s Lover (in her first years as Queen).
Q. Have you ever considered writing about Jane Seymour?
I think I covered much of Jane’s courtship in The Other Boleyn Girl and I have to say, she does not interest me as much as the other wives.
.Q. In The Boleyn Inheritance, you depict the life of King Henry VIII and his court through the eyes of three very different characters and use this technique in The Other Queen too. Why did you choose to narrate in first person?
I have a great liking for the first person narrative because I think it gets the reader into the head of the character; it’s a very immediate style. For The Boleyn Inheritance I realized that I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the three women who were so intimately involved in the perils of being Queen of England at this time. Anne of Cleves, the wife that Henry chooses and rejects, Katherine Howard the girl he adores but who is too young to keep herself safe, and the woman who advises them both to their great danger: Lady Rochford, Jane Boleyn. I liked it so much, I replicated it for The Other Queen, using narrative from Mary, Queen of Scots, Bess of Hardwick and Bess’s husband George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury.
Q. How much of what is written about the characters in the Boleyn series is fact and how much is fiction?
This is an almost impossible question to answer since each character and each novel is different. By and large the fiction fills in the gaps of the known historical record and brings it to life. In a story such as that of Elizabeth 1 when we know so much about what she thought and did the fiction animates the story that we know (and sometimes gives us a different slant on the well-known material) In a story like that of Mary Boleyn we know only the slimmest outline and the fiction fills in the gaps.