Steve Veerapen, Writing, Scotland and Tudor History

Please welcome Steve Veerapen to All Things Tudor. Like most great relationships, we met on Twitter. He is from Glasgow, my husband’s home town, and it has been wonderful working with him. Recently, he took a few minutes to share insight into his fascinating career as a writer and historian.

What prompted you to choose to write about Mary Queen of Scots & Lord Darnley in your first book?

In my case, I was following the old strategy of ‘write what you know’. I’d been researching and teaching this period for years and it seemed fertile ground for trying fiction. Once I knew I wanted to write about Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, the choice of characters dictated the period.

What is your approach to researching your novels? Has the process changed over the years?

A great question! My approach is generally to start with a setting or event and then narrow research down to books and articles which cover those days, weeks, or months in depth. I try to also dip into research material which covers lifestyles in the period more generally. I’ve always tried to approach researching fiction in the same way I approach nonfiction (though I can get away with more in the former!). Academic study really teaches you to narrow in when researching.

Which other historical novelists do you admire?

There are loads. My friend Marie Macpherson (who has worked wonders in bringing John Knox to life), E C Fremantle, Paul Walker, John Pilkington, Patricia Finney, Anna Castle. And of course my favourite author, Daphne du Maurier, was no mean historical novelist.

When first sketching out an idea for a novel, which comes first – the protagonist, plot or history?

Protagonist and broad plot usually come had in hand (sometimes one or the other skipping ahead) and history last. Once I know what’s going to happen and to whom, I fit it into specific historical contexts.

Do you have a daily routine as a writer?

I don’t have a daily routine per se, but when I have a book on the go, I tend to write every day for a few hours. Each book seems to bring its own routine!

If you could choose to meet any historical figure from your period, who would it be and why?

I think it would have to be Mary Queen of Scots. I’d love to find out exactly what she knew of her husband’s murder (and what she really looked like – for the same reason, I’d love to get a glimpse of Anne Boleyn!).

Find Steven’s works here:

UK

US

About Steven Veerapen

Steven Veerapen was born in Glasgow and raised in Paisley. Pursuing an interest in the sixteenth century, he was awarded a first-class Honours degree in English, focussing his dissertation on representations of Henry VIII’s six wives. He then received a Masters in Renaissance studies, and a Ph.D. investigating Elizabethan slander.

He writes historical fiction set in the early modern period, covering the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James VI and I; additionally, he has written nonfiction studies of Mary Queen of Scots’ relationship with her brother; Elizabeth I and her last favourite, the Earl of Essex; and an academic study of slander and sedition in the reign of Elizabeth.

He has also published a variety of academic articles in literary and historical journals and magazines and teaches English literature at the University of Strathclyde. Steven remains fascinated by the glamour and ghastliness of life in the 1500s and 1600s, and has a penchant for myths, mysteries and murders in an age in which the law was as slippery as those who defied it.

Steven’s latest work is The Queen’s Gold: A Christopher Marlowe Spy Thriller

England, 1585.

The Sparrowhawk, one of Drake’s lost treasure ships, is found wrecked in Devon. Rumours spread through England of its booty, including a mysterious treasure: El Sol Dorado.

Thomas Lewgar, the resentful roommate of aspiring playwright Christopher Marlowe, hears of the rumours. He discovers, too, that the boastful Marlowe is engaged in a web of espionage.

Intrigued and repelled by the irreverent Marlowe, Lewgar joins the poet in seeking the lost treasure. If they can find it, they will be richly rewarded by queen and court.

But they are not the only ones hunting the prize.

A crooked courtier, Henry Howton, has also heard the rumours. In the secret employ of the Spanish, he hopes to find the treasure himself – and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on it.

Racing their Spanish-backed enemy and his dangerous associates, Lewgar and Marlowe must discover the strange history of the ghostly wreck. Their journey will lead them into the rotting carcass of the Sparrowhawk, into the presence of sea-dogs Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, and through the ravaged home of spiritualist Dr John Dee.

Betrayal, falsehood, and deceit lie in wait.

Can they discover the lost treasure and unravel the mystery of El Sol Dorada before the Spanish?

Praise for Steven Veerapen:

A Dangerous Trade

‘A slow-burn character driven spy story that grips like a thumbscrew tightened by twist after twist towards the end – Le Carre transported to the 1560’s. Brilliant work, based in impressively wide research and the kind of competition that I and a good number of others could well do without!’ Peter Tonkin, author of The Ides

The Abbey Close (Book One of the Simon Danforth Mysteries)

‘The author balances gimlet-eyed research with narrative drive and clever reveals… Danforth is a strong yet torn central character… I look forward to reading the second book in the series.’ Richard Foreman, author of The First Crusade series

Blood Feud: Mary Queen of Scots and The Earl of Moray

‘Much-needed analysis of a sinister sibling rivalry.’ Marie Macpherson

Elizabeth and Essex: Power, Passion and Politics

‘A sensitive and lively account of one of the most politically significant relationships of the Elizabethan age.’ Lisa Hopkins

Assassination

‘Both a crime and spy thriller.’ Richard Foreman, author of The First Crusade series

‘From its tense beginning to satisfying end, Steven Veerapen skilfully weaves historical fact into a gripping tale, making a superb contribution to 17th century fiction.’ John Pilkington, author of The Ruffler’s Child

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

Tracy Borman

Bestselling author and historian Tracy Borman took time to discuss her career, history obsession and her upcoming appearance at the Chalke Valley History Festival. Find out what dastardly deeds caught her attention while writing The Fallen Angel.

-How would you describe yourself in fifty words or less?

Author, historian and broadcaster whose obsession with the Tudors borders on the unhealthy.  I’m also joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust.

-Why do you love history?

I’ve always loved it and I think that’s innate, rather than something learned.  Apparently my paternal grandfather was a fellow history-lover so perhaps I get it from him, although sadly he died before I was born.  Thanks to my work for Historic Royal Palaces, I spend a lot of time in beautiful historical buildings, but for me what sets my passion for history alight is the research.  The thrill of getting my hands on original documents in The National Archives, the British Library and elsewhere is something that never diminishes, even after all these years of writing and researching.

-Can you think of one specific event that led to this?

I think the reason I’m a historian now is thanks to my ‘A’ level history teacher, who really encouraged my passion for the subject…and made me fall in love with the Tudors.  She also opened my eyes to the fact that history isn’t just about ‘facts’, dates and events; it’s about real people – human beings with emotions just like us.  That changed everything for me.

What drew you to Tudor and Stuart history?

See above.  Mrs Jones has a lot to answer for!  But I also became fascinated with the Stuarts when researching my non-fiction book, Witches: James I and the English Witch Hunts.  It was such a dark and turbulent period of our history, yet one that’s often overlooked.  That research inspired my fiction trilogy, The King’s Witch, The Devil’s Slave and The Fallen Angel.

-Do you have any favourite characters or persons from these eras that appeal to you? Any that you dislike?

My all-time historical heroine is Elizabeth I.  I admire her so much – her self-discipline, courage, shrewdness and the way she confounded expectations as a ‘weak and feeble woman’ ruling over a court and kingdom dominated by men.  Mary, Queen of Scots, on the other hand, deepened the prejudice against female rulers by being reckless, self-indulgent and entirely led by the heart.  The two women couldn’t have been more different – and I think you can tell who’s my favourite!  For the Stuart era, I was really drawn to Anne of Denmark, queen consort of James I.  I think there’s much more to her than meets the eye, particularly with regard to her clandestine links to the Catholic community and, possibly, even the Gunpowder Plotters – as I hint at in my novels.

-What led to your interest in the Duke of Buckingham & James I/VI?

It was the research I carried out for my non-fiction book, Witches.  The transition from the Tudor to the Stuart dynasty led to great uncertainty in England, which soon darkened into hostility towards the new king – and, ultimately, an attempt to blow him and his entire government to the skies.  James himself is an intriguing character – not easy to like, despite his intellectual gifts and wry sense of humour.  As for his favourite, Buckingham, he was an out and out villain – both in my novel, The Fallen Angel, and in real life.  But villains are so much more fun to write about than heroes so I’m grateful for all his dastardly deeds, even if his contemporaries didn’t quite feel the same.

-Tell us one thing you learned while writing The Fallen Angel that blew your mind.

I think it would have to be the fact that Buckingham may have had a hand in James I’s death.  Evidence has been uncovered recently that shows Buckingham had access to poisons and physicians who dealt in them.  He was certainly in close attendance on the king in his final weeks.  It may just be circumstantial – there were often rumours of poison surrounding royal deaths – but let’s just say the dastardly duke had the means.

-What’s your involvement with Chalke Valley History Festival?

I’m proud to be a patron of the festival and have taken part in it every year since 2015, when I postponed my honeymoon in order to be there!  It’s been wonderful to see it get bigger and better every year.  Come rain or shine (and there’s been plenty of both!) it’s the highlight of my events calendar. 

-When will you be appearing?

2pm on Thursday 24 June.

-How can we find you on social media?

Twitter

Instagram

Website 

Purchase your ticket here

About Tracy Borman…

Tracy Borman studied and taught history at the University of Hull and was awarded a PHD in 1997. She went on to a successful career in heritage including working for the Heritage Lottery Fund, The National Archives and English Heritage. She is now Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust and also joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces. She is a trustee of The Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust and The National Archives Foundation, as well as a Patron of Lavenham Library and a Honorary Patron of the Chalke Valley History Festival. She is the author of a number of highly acclaimed books, including Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant; Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England; Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen; and Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction. She is also a regular broadcaster and public speaker, giving talks on her books across the UK and abroad.

About Chalke Valley History Festival

The aim is to excite, enthral and entertain about the past. All proceeds from the festival have, since 2012, been directed to the Chalke Valley History Trust, which promotes the understanding of history to all ages, but especially children.

The Chalke Valley History Festival began in June 2011 on a small scale and as a fundraiser for the local cricket club. Club stalwart and historian James Holland had the idea for a festival but it was James Heneage, founder and former CEO of Ottakar’s bookshops and now historical novelist, who suggested a festival dedicated to history.

It began with the help of a number of local volunteers, among whom Peter Bell and Rachel Holland played a big part in that first year and continue to do so today. Jane Pleydell-Bouverie came on board in autumn 2011 and has been at the heart of the festival ever since. The Daily Mail became the festival’s principal sponsor in 2013, and it now consists of a week of talks, discussions, debates, as well as extensive and immersive living history and historic air displays.

Since 2013, the festival has also incorporated the History Festival for Schools. ‘An understanding of the past is essential,’ says Co-Founder James Heneage, ‘without that, it is impossible to make sense of the present or prepare for the future.’

2017 saw the festival move to a new site of over 70 acres in Broad Chalke, but still in the heart of the beautiful Wiltshire Chalke Valley.

Church Bottom, Bury Lane, Broad Chalke,
Near Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DP

Find out more and purchase tickets here!

Primary Sources with Dr Joanne Paul

Dr Joanne Paul is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Sussex. Her work focuses on politics and culture of the Renaissance period, largely in England, and she has published on topics from Hobbes to Shakespeare, gender to temporality. Her first book, Thomas More (Polity, 2017) is an overview of More’s writing and ideas and her second, Counsel and Command in Early Modern English Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2020) traces the role of political counsel from the early Tudor period to the English Civil War.

She is currently working on a number of projects, including a history of the Dudley family, to be published with Michael Joseph (Penguin, 2022 )and two modern editions of sixteenth century texts: Anne Dowriche’s The French Historie and Thomas More’s Utopia.

Dr Paul has also shared her research more widely, appearing on a variety of television and radio programmes and featuring in magazine articles and podcasts.

She has recently launched her own podcast: Primary Sources: Conversations with History Makers, which can be found on all major streaming sites. She has recently spoken with historians Greg Jenner, Helen H. Carr, Hallie Rubenhold.

Today – May 21 – she is with Nathen Amin who wrote Tudor Wales, and a biography of the Beaufort family, The House of Beaufort. He also discusses how he wrote Henry VII and the Tudor Pretenders.

Click here to access. This is a Viral History podcast.

Follow Dr Paul at these sites:

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Gone Medieval

Welcome Matt Lewis to All Things Tudor AND let’s find out more about his new podcast.

Matt Lewis is a writer and historian of the high and late medieval periods. His primary focus is the Wars of the Roses, but he has also written on The Anarchy, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Henry III. Matt has appeared as a guest and a presenter on documentaries and is a contributor to several magazines, as well as recently being appointed Chair of the Richard III Society.

Matt is delighted to share with us that he is co-hosting a new podcast from History Hit devoted to the middle ages: #GoneMedieval. Dr Cat Jarman is covering the early medieval period and he has the high and late periods. They have some amazing guests and episodes coming up.

Subscribe and get an episode from each of them every week to feed your medieval fascination.

The first episode is half of a long chat between Matt and Nathen Amin – Author chatting about Henry Tudor. Matt says he knows the big question is whether or not it ended in a massive fight, but there’s some fascinating discussion about Nathen’s new book, Henry VII and the Tudor Pretenders. Let’s go across the millennium and around the world to explore the middle ages. Look for more topics soon!

#GoneMedieval. Subscribe, listen, and join us! Join for Matt and I on Clubhouse, 2 June at 3pm/20.00 UK time as we debate Plantagenet v Tudors!

Until then, Use this link to find the podcast anywhere: https://podfollow.com/gone-medieval

The Usurper King

The Plantagenet Legacy Book 3

by Mercedes Rochelle

Publisher: Sergeant Press

Page Length: 308 Pages

Blurb

From Outlaw to Usurper, Henry Bolingbroke fought one rebellion after another.

First, he led his own uprising. Gathering support the day he returned from exile, Henry marched across the country and vanquished the forsaken Richard II. Little did he realize that his problems were only just beginning. How does a usurper prove his legitimacy? What to do with the deposed king? Only three months after he took the crown, Henry IV had to face a rebellion led by Richard’s disgruntled favorites. Worse yet, he was harassed by rumors of Richard’s return to claim the throne. His own supporters were turning against him. How to control the overweening Percies, who were already demanding more than he could give? What to do with the rebellious Welsh? After only three years, the horrific Battle of Shrewsbury nearly cost him the throne—and his life. It didn’t take long for Henry to discover that that having the kingship was much less rewarding than striving for it.

Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Bio

Mercedes Rochelle is an ardent lover of medieval history, and has channeled this interest into fiction writing. Her first four books cover eleventh-century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. The next series is called The Plantagenet Legacy about the struggles and abdication of Richard II, leading to the troubled reigns of the Lancastrian Kings. She also writes a blog: HistoricalBritainBlog.com to explore the history behind the story. Born in St. Louis, MO, she received by BA in Literature at the Univ. of Missouri St.Louis in 1979 then moved to New York in 1982 while in her mid-20s to “see the world”. The search hasn’t ended! Today she lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Social Media Links

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Book Bub

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Join Us!

Chalke Valley History Festival 2021

Join us.

Wednesday, May 18 at 3:00pm Eastern/20:00 UK time, I’m discussing Chalke Valley History Festival with James Holland & the All Things Tudor Club on Clubhouse. We’ll be chatting about Tudors & More!

Chalke Valley History Festival is the UK’s largest festival devoted just to history. The dates of the event are June 23-27, 2021. Look for it on social media using #CVHF #AmazingHistory on Instagram: @chalkevalleyhistoryfestival and Twitter: https://twitter.com/CVHISTORYFEST

Clubhouse is a space for casual, drop-in audio conversations. The app can be accessed via iOS or Android.

Find our conversation & drop in at this link: https://joinclubhouse.com/event/MKDveLAN

Tudors & More

Chalke Valley History Festival 2021

It’s on!!!

The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival 

Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th June 

One of the first major festivals to run this year! 

 

This year’s Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is like no other. A slightly  shortened version due to the pandemic, the organisers have none the less packed it with a more complete and wide-ranging programme than ever before. The full line up is now online and can be found at www.cvhf.org.uk.  

The festival promises to offer a full assault on the senses. Those attending will be  able to watch our greatest living playwright and learn how to build a Roman road. There will be a former Archbishop of Canterbury and political party leader alongside  some of the best-known and loved TV historians. There will be demonstrations from the Tudor kitchen, stone age flint-knapping and a Cold War-era armoured brigade headquarters. It will be possible to learn about the dark art of 19th century body snatching, how to make wattle and daub, and learn how to make a Tudor salve and  herbal cure. The head of the UK’s Armed Forces, the best-known shepherd in the  land, and the most eminent international human rights lawyer in the UK will all be speaking. There will be Sword School, a vintage fairground, some of the country’s  most brilliant, successful and eminent historians but also late-night storytelling  around the fire with Dan Snow and Michael Wood, and fast and furious fun with the History Tellers.  

And as with any English country festival, there will be food, glorious food – and  historical fast food too – as well as drink, camping, glamping and live music every  single day of the festival from 1920s flapper music to the ancient ballads of English  folk music. 

Those coming to the festival will be able to see history, touch history, taste history  and smell history too – and all in the stunning ancient downland of the Chalke Valley  – a place of immense history in its own right.  

Festival Chair, James Holland, says: “I’m really very excited about this year’s  festival. Despite the challenges of the last year we’ve been able to produce a really  inclusive and very wide-ranging programme that feels fresh, vibrant and fun. It will be  midsummer, lockdown will be over, and I can’t wait to unleash this historical  pageant.” 

The stellar list of historians and speakers at this year’s festival include: Tracy Borman, Sir Vince Cable, General Sir Nick Carter, Diana Cavendish, Niall FergusonAnne Glenconner, Sir Max Hastings, Charlie Higson, Tom Holland, Katja Hoyer, Cat Jarman, Hermione Lee, Professor Margaret Macmillan, Rana Mitter, Al Murray, Jim Naughtie, Neil Oliver, James Rebanks, Dominic Sandbrook, Dan Snow, Sir Tom Stoppard, Rowan Williams, Marina Wheeler and Michael Wood

Due to government guidelines, there may be restrictions on the number of tickets for sale at the festival this year. The festival strongly advises those wishing to attend to  book tickets early to avoid disappointment. All of the Outdoor Programme will be  available on a single daily ticket (with add-ons for Sword School and fairground  rides), and at a price that has been kept deliberately low and which promises  astonishing value for money awhile tented events will require an individual ticket, as  was the case in the past. Tented ticket prices will, however, also include access to  the Outdoor Programme. 

This year, there will be no Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools, although the  festival is producing a programme of curriculum-based films, ready for the start of the  academic year this September, and which will be entirely free for all teachers, pupils  and schools. A special and separate online portal will be created for this. 

All profits from the festival are ploughed back into the Chalke Valley History Trust,  which operates to promote the enjoyment and better understanding of history for all  ages but especially to school children. 

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 19th May

Tickets will be released two days earlier (Monday 17th) May to the Friends membership

Talks given by incredible historians, taken from the past ten years of the festival, can  now be heard on the Chalke Valley History Festival podcast. Entitled #ChalkeTalk, the podcasts are released three times a week. 

For further information, please contact Alex Hippisley-Cox on mobile 07921  127077 or email her at alex@ahipcoxpr.co.uk  

The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will take place at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DS.  

For more details about the Festival, and to see the full programme, please visit  www.cvhf.org.uk

Follow all the news on Twitter at @CVHISTORYFEST & on Facebook and Instagram. 

Image by Russell Emm 

The Tudors in Love

Why did Henry VIII marry 6 times?

Why did Elizabeth I’s courtiers hail her as a goddess come to earth?

Feast your eyes on the cover of The Tudors in Love: The Courtly Code Behind the Last Medieval Dynasty from bestselling historian Sarah Gristwood.

Alison Weir says, “The Tudors in Love is a masterclass in marshalling a vast canon of research into a riveting, pacy page-turner. Sarah takes us on a virtuoso romp through the loves and tropes of medieval and Tudor royalty, seen from the novel angle of courtly love.”

Coming September 2021. Pre-order info available soon!

Shared courtesy of the author.

The Queen’s Rival

England, 1459. 

One family united by blood. Torn apart by war…

The Wars of the Roses storm through the country, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, plots to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne.

But when the Yorkists are defeated at the battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.

Stripped of her lands and imprisoned in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit. One that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King Edward IV.

Publisher: HarperCollins

Page Length: 554 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase on Amazon here

Not Just The Tudors

Announcing Not Just the Tudors

All Things Tudor is happy to let you know about the latest podcast announcement from History Hit and renowned historian Suzannah Lipscomb….Not Just the Tudors


In the podcast Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks about everything from the Aztecs to witches, Velázquez to Shakespeare, Mughal India to the Mayflower. Not, in other words, just the Tudors, but most definitely also the Tudors. Each episode Suzannah is joined by historians and experts to reveal incredible stories about one of the most fascinating periods in history.

Description

In Not Just the Tudors, Suzannah Lipscomb talks about everything from the Aztecs to witches, Velázquez to Shakespeare, Mughal India to the Mayflower. Not, in other words, just the Tudors, but most definitely also the Tudors!

In every episode, Suzannah is joined by historians and experts to delve into the incredible stories about one of history’s most fascinating periods. 

About Professor Suzannah Lipscomb

Suzannah Lipscomb is an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning professor of history at the University of Roehampton.

Subjects she has covered on TV include Elizabeth I, the Great Fire of London and witch hunts. Suzannah is a regular panelist on the BBC quiz show, Insert Name Here with Sue Perkins.

Suzannah presented the award-winning podcast series for Historic England, Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places and the podcast series History’s Lost Speeches for Audible.

She is author of The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex, and Marriage in Reformation LanguedocWitchcraftThe King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIIIA Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England, and 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII. She writes a regular column for History Today, and her articles have appeared in The GuardianThe Daily TelegraphThe Sunday TelegraphThe TimesThe Daily MailBBC History Magazine, and the Times Literary Supplement.

History Hit

History Hit has been producing high quality podcasts for history fans for more than five years. During that time Dan Snow’s History Hit has become the UK’s most listened to podcast with more than 3.5 million downloads a month. Other shows include The Ancients and Warfare.

Release Schedule

Watch the Trailer here

First four eps drop on Thursday 29th April and then twice weekly.

The podcast is available here

https://play.acast.com/s/not-just-the-tudors 

and on all usual podcast platforms.

Enjoy!

Content shared courtesy of the History Hit team.