Sunday, June 02, 2013

Royal Romances - the fascination of history with Kate Walker

In the UK today has been the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.  On June 2nd 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey and  began the longest  reign of any monarch of these country ever.

At the beginning of the year, on February  4th,  the whole country – and it seemed much of the world, was fascinated by the discovery of a skeleton in a Leicester car park,  and then the announcement that this was in fact the body of Richard III, missing since the end of the Battle of Bosworth when he was killed in  1485, the last English king to die in battle.

And now  everyone is waiting and watching as the Duchess of Cambridge  enters the later stages of her pregnancy, with the birth of this, the newest heir to the throne – third in line after its father  Prince William and grandfather Prince Charles – due in July.

So it seems, that no matter what the story is, the news of the royals, their lives, their families – even their deaths, is endlessly fascinating and  absorbing.  It’s material for books – both historical fact or fiction,  for newspaper, TV reports . . .   And even fictional monarchs now seem to arouse interest in readers and authors alike.  So it seems that this could be a really good time to bring out my very first ever Royal Romance title. 

I didn’t plan it that way . When I wrote A Throne For The Taking, I was just reacting to an idea that fascinated me and a story I wanted to tell. But perhaps I was picking up on the atmosphere of the time, the interest in all things royal that  has been going on for all time, but has grown to a particular frenzy in the last few years.

Over this weekend, I’ve had a friend visiting for a couple of day. She’s come over from America to visit and the Babe Magnet and I have enjoyed taking her to  places we thought she’d like to see. We spent one lovely day in York. The sun was shining, the  city looked as beautiful as ever, and we had a wonderful time wandering about, visiting so many historical sites – Clifford’s Tower, The Shambles, York Minster.  And we talked about historical novels we had read and enjoyed.   One of the books we talked about was The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.  This has just been made into a big drma series on British Television.

So it seems the stories of the royals and their lives are still intriguing people and getting  them interested.  But is this because they were royals – or just because their lives and experiences make a really good story. Back in the days of Richard III those stories involved wars and battles, the risks of death  or execution, but the people involved also had emotional lives, love stories that had tragic endings or  the happy ever after ending that we love ion a romance novel.  Those people were royals, they were kings and queen, princes and princesses – but they were human being most of all. And it is their human stories, their emotional journeys the we really love to read about. And that’s what I want to write about.

So I created my ‘Black Sheep Prince’ because I wanted to tell his story. His story as a man as well as a king to be. That’s what fascinates me – and the emotional battles can be every bit as exciting and nerve-wrenching as those fought on any battlefield. I think those emotional journeys are stories for a ll time -  no matter who my hero and heroine are – royal or not.

What about you? Have you been fascinated by any particular figure in history?  Or is there any historical novel – romance or otherwise – that  you’ve loved reading? I love the stories of Dorothy Dunnett,  the historical romances of Nicola Cornick – and I’m about to launch  into the White Queen to see what I think. What about you?

 Kate’s royal hero is Alexei Sarova, that black sheep prince who has to face up to a new and unexpected destiny with his heroine Honoria Escalona (Ria) as the woman he wants as his queen.

A kingdom's safety...
Betrayed by those she loves, Honoria Escalona must now face the only man capable of bringing stability to the Mediterranean kingdom of Mecjoria. A cold, hard man who once called her his friend... Alexei Sarova-the true King of Mecjoria.
In exchange for her happiness

Butt Alexei's tortuous past has changed him into someone she hardly knows. He blames Ria's family
A Throne For the Taking will be published in the Royal and Ruthless miniseries in both Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern in June.
Other up to date news and details of all Kate’s books can be found on her web site and in her blog.


Connie said...

I guess you could call me one of those crazy Americans fascinated by the Royal family. My “obsession” began when Diana came on the scene. I followed her and the entire family until her death and on from then. I’m so very proud of Prince William and Kate and Prince Harry and sincerely believe that Diana would be as well. I’m so looking forward to the birth of the royal baby and hope there will be lots of happiness and celebrating. I have read everything I can on Prince Charles and his siblings, the Queen and the Queen Mother. Quite frankly, I think that the last major biography of the Queen Mother was rather snarky and some things should have been edited out. I have visited the UK several times and am in love with it. I would like nothing more than to return for a long visit and explore lots of places. I love the bookstores in the UK too. They are delicious! I could fill a huge plane with lots of books that I cannot get in the US and take them back. Sorry. I tend to get carried away. Love your novels, Kate, and wish you continued success!

Connie Fischer

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Philippa Gregory, oh my... her books are so wonderfully rich with history... You will adore the White Queen..
I do think that among the most interesting things about 'royal families' is their sense of history and duty, yet they, like any human being, can be sidetracked by their egos and emotions.
Nothing quite like seeing The King's Speech to give your insight to the Windsor family history..

Pat Cochran said...

Kate, I've been a Royal Watcher since
1947 when I saw the Queen's wedding in
the newsreels and then her Coronation
on TV in 1953. My second Royal favorite
was Princess Diana, whom DD1 and I dear-
ly loved. Of course, our least favorite
was (and still is)Prince Charles! BTW,
many thanks from Granddaughter Ashley &
I for the book printed in Japanese!

Pat C.

Kaelee said...

I have read a ton of royal historical novels over the years. The one that still sticks in my mind is the story of Anne of Cleves. I don't remember who the author was. There was a series of all of Henry VII's wives and Anne of Cleves just seemed both tragic and blessed.

Mary Preston said...

Queen Elizabeth I and indeed all the Tudors are fascinating , as is Queen Victoria.

Kate Walker said...

Hi Connie - I'd never call you 'crazy' - like you I'm fascinated by the 'people stories' behind all the ceremonial and pomp. That's why people read biographies - and it's what I've put into A Throne for the Taking - what goes on in private away from the crowds. Thank you for saying you love my novels - I hope you love'Throne' as well if you get hold of it.

Kate Walker said...

So The White Queen is a read you'd reccommend - great!I'm certainly looking forward to the TC dramatisation. Just as long as Richard III isn't written as a monster! My DH and I are great Ricardians. You are so right about the sense of duty of the royals - and the way that can be sidetracked by such human emoitions. That makes for a great story doesn't it?

Kate Walker said...

Hi Pat - you actually saw the Queen's wedding and then the Coronation on TV! That must have been amazing. The roayl weddings I've seen have been glamorous enough with all the pomp and ceremony. And I'm so glad to know that the Japanese book for your granddaughter arrived - hope she liked it.

Kate Walker said...

Kaelee - your choice is interesting - not many people will mention Anne of Cleves. Was the book My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes? I know I read that one and I really enjoyed it - I enjoyed all her books. I always felt that at least Anne kept her head - and she and Henry VIII ended up as almost friends unlike some of those other wives!

Kate Walker said...

Mary - you should be watching UK TV at the moment, there are so many programmes on the Tudors. And Queen Victoria was - yes - a fascinating woman - so much in love with Prince Albert that she could barely carry on after he died.