I received a free copy of The Tudor Conspiracy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my honest review.
I would like to start by writing that I am a HUGE fan of Mr. Gortner’s writing and am truly thrilled that he has joined us here on Broken Teepee for an interview today. I would also like to state that this is my very first author interview! So without further ado, I welcome Christopher Gortner – he very graciously answered my questions:
1. What led you to choose Elizabeth as the royal for your spy series featuring Brendon Prescott?
The simplest answer would be that Elizabeth chose me. Her reign is famous for the rise of the first modern intelligence system, a sophisticated network of spies who protected her from Catholic plots. No other monarch before her benefited as she did from such a spy network and I thought it would be fascinating to both explore how this intelligence system began, as well as how one man becomes an integral part of it. Many of the men, and women, who worked on Elizabeth’s behalf in this capacity remain unknown to us, so, while Brendan is a fictional character, he’s also based on what my research uncovered about spies in Tudor England. I decided to begin the series before Elizabeth takes the throne because it is a period relatively untouched within this genre. Her later reign is well covered, as is that of her father Henry VIII, but those tumultuous years when her brother Edward and half-sister Mary ruled and Elizabeth found herself in such danger offered fresh opportunities for my spy to both initiate his relationship with the princess and mature with her in subsequent books.
2. How many more adventures will Brendon have; will he work for Elizabeth throughout her reign?
Ideally, I’d love to have Brendan work for her throughout her reign, as there are so many exciting events for him to get into trouble over! For now, my contract with St Martin’s Press is for three books and I’m currently working on the third one, which takes place in the first months of Elizabeth’s accession. This time, Brendan is sent to Yorkshire to investigate the disappearance of one of the queen’s most trusted ladies and finds himself embroiled in a mystery surrounding the queen herself, as well as the target of an enemy from his past. The third book will be designed as a conclusion to the trilogy but, of course, will also be left with a door open for future adventures.
3. I’ve enjoyed your books on Catherine de Medici and Isabella of Spain – what formidable woman are you writing about next?
I’ve recently finished my fourth stand-alone novel about Lucrezia Borgia, covering her Vatican years, when she was thrust into notoriety as the pope’s daughter and had to fight to survive her family’s rapacious ambitions, as well as her own forbidden desires. Once again, I was drawn by a controversial woman with a dark reputation and found her utterly fascinating, as I hope readers will. I don’t yet have a definite release date for this new book. Most likely, it will be published either in late 2014 or early 2015, depending on my publisher’s schedule.
4. If you could go back and be a visitor to any court whose would you most like to visit and why?
Oh, hard to say! I love writing about the past but I’m not sure I’d want to be there. I like my creature comforts too much. However, if I had the chance to visit, I think I’d love to see the court of Francois I of France. He was a patron of the arts, with true joie de vivre; his court must have been magnificent. Even Leonardo da Vinci, my favorite Renaissance artist, spent his final years there, working under the king’s protection. Francois was also rather liberal-minded, which is always a plus. I explored the last part of his reign in my novel The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, as he was Catherine’s father-in-law. Going further back in time, I’d love to visit ancient Egypt, though I fear I’d be rather lost in such an alien culture to my own.
5. I know you are a big proponent of dog rescue – if any of my readers wanted to make a donation or help in any way which one would you suggest?
Every state, and most cities, has a local rescue so I always tell people to donate to the one that is pulling dogs and cats from your city shelter to save them from euthanasia. Most rescues are run by dedicated animal lovers but often operate on a shoe-string budget, so donations are their life blood. If you’re not sure who your local rescue is, just ask the shelter. Without rescues, many more animals would be killed every day across the United States. Please, always spay or neuter your pets and adopt or foster!
Thank you for spending this time with me. I’m delighted to be here and hope your readers will enjoy THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY. To find out more about my work, please visit me at my website at: www.cwgortner.com
Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Tudor Conspiracy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.