I'm so excited today to have the wonderful Katherine Longshore on the blog for the final Tudor Thursday in celebration of the release of Brazen. Happy release day!
First, a bit about the book:
Published: June 12, 2014 (today!)
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?
Now welcome Katherine!
The Tower of London
Image Copyright Katherine Longshore
This is me and my sister at the Tower when I was…probably four? My parents bought me an Anne Boleyn doll. Prophetic?
The Tudors are inextricably linked with the Tower—Anne Boleyn stayed here before her coronation and before her execution. Catherine Howard and Jane Boleyn were executed on the green not six years later. Henry imprisoned traitors real and perceived within its walls—including characters featured in BRAZEN (Anne Boleyn, Margaret Douglas, Thomas Howard, and, eventually, my narrator, Mary’s father and brother, Hal). Lady Jane Grey spent her last days in a room overlooking the green, and you can still see her name carved in the wall. Elizabeth I was held here before she became queen. And other famous Tudors—Walter Raleigh, anyone?—did their time in these rooms.
Why do I love the Tower? For its bloody history, obviously, but also because it spans centuries of history. From the years of William the Conqueror to the World Wars, the Tower has seen it all. Not to mention the Crown Jewels…
Mary (who has a phobia of crowds) visits the Tower once during the course of the novel:
“This is no place for a girl,” Hal says.
I turn and stride ahead of them. I am like Margaret walking the halls of Greenwich. I do not dodge around the knots of people. I do not slow my pace. I walk steadily, and a path clears. Each gap I see is there for me and me alone. I’m meant to be here.
I walk through the alley beneath the Bell Tower and into the belly of the Bloody Tower gate, vaulted like a crypt. The throng is packed more tightly here, and my progress slows almost to a standstill. I am shoulder to shoulder with merchants. Courtiers. City men.
Tower Green is even more crowded, and the sky presses down as heavily as the vault of the gate. Stinking bodies are packed up against one another, everyone striving for a better view. There must be a thousand people here. Just to watch someone die.
My breath comes in fugitive gasps and I suddenly—frantically—want to get away.
But the crowd pushes me forward and eddies up near the scaffold. Cromwell is there, close enough to catch the blood when it spills. He turns and sees me and I stop, the mob pulsing around me, my lungs utterly frozen in my chest. I feel Fitz’s hand close around my upper arm, but I cannot look away from the king’s master secretary. Not until Cromwell smiles.Thanks, Katherine!
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