Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Five Questions With Sandra Byrd, Author of "To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn"

Today, I'm excited to be hosting Sandra Bird, author of the new Tudor historical fiction, "To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn."

Sandra took some time recently to answer some questions about her writing and upcoming projects.
1.  At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Sandra:  I knew that I wanted to be a writer at six years old, as soon as I'd learned to read the Bobbsey Twins books. Really! When I was a kid I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I actually was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager, and I worked for a caterer. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck.
2.  What three important facts do you want readers to know about your new book?
Sandra:   1. That Anne Boleyn wasn't either vixen or victim but was a witty, warm and loyal woman, in addition to the strong and ambitious one we've all come to know.
2. That women then struggled with many of the same things we struggle with today - difficult relationships and marriages, hard circumstances not of our choosing, but that they were able to prevail and overcome with determination and resourcefulness. We can, too.
3. Life always seems better when you're well-dressed. :)
3.   Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?
It's hard to actually pin down names because so many of my friends are fine writers and it's hard to choose between them. I love books that draw me in emotionally and keep me there, heroines who are strong but honest, books that reflect peoples' three dimensionality - physical, mental, and spiritual, and books which are historically accurate. 
My favorite kinds of historical books are those which stick very close to the known facts. To me, that makes the books come alive even more because this really COULD be how it happened. I want a strong romantic thread in the book.  And, maybe because real life is hard, but things nearly always turn out surprisingly okay, I love Happily Ever Afters.
4.   What do you have coming up in the future?
Sandra:  There will be two more books in the Ladies in Waiting series. The second book, The Secret Keeper, takes place during the queenship of Kateryn Parr. She was a strong woman, given to the reformation, and a best-selling author. But she had a soft spot for a bad boy and it led her, and those under her care, into trouble and distress.  I hope readers will find a deep, witty, and nuanced Parr in this book with perhaps a surprise ending.
The third book in the series will take place in the court of Elizabeth, and will be told from the point of view of one of her closest ladies. We often hear about Gloriana, her power and amazing intellect, but not as often about Elizabeth's softer side as it intersected with her friends and her loves. Elizabeth was loyal but could also be a tempestuous friend, which made being her lady in waiting a bit of a balance walk and dangerous in its own right, though I deeply admire her.    
5.  What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into writing today?
Sandra:   It's a wonderful time to be a new writer because of ebooks. Many new authors still desire to be traditionally published, and I don't blame them. I have a wonderful agent and have enjoyed traditional publishing for many years. But the market has had to tighten its belt. Now, more than ever before, writers can fulfill their dream of being published, via ebooks. Be sure to hire a good developmental editor (I do that and so do many other authors because we love to see new writers get published), a solid copyeditor, and a talented cover designer.  Then, you're ready to be read! 
 About The Book:

 What would you sacrifice for your best friend?  Would you die for her?
Meg Wyatt has been Anne Boleyn's closest friend ever since they grew up together on neighboring manors in Kent.  So when twenty-five-year-old Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes Meg along for the ride.
Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling...at first.  Meg is made mistress of Anne's wardrobe, and she enjoys the spoils of this privileged orbit and uses her influence for good.  She is young and beautiful and in favor; everyone at court assumes that being close to her is being close to Anne.
But favor is fickle and envy is often laced with venom.  As Anne falls, so does Meg, and it becomes nearly impossible for her to discern ally from enemy.  Suddenly life's unwelcome surprises rub against court's sheen to reveal the tarnished brass of false affections and the bona fide gold of those are true.  Both Anne and Meg may lose everything.  When your best friend is married to fearsome Henry VIII, you may soon find yourself not only friendless but headless as well.
A rich alchemy of fact and fiction, To Die For chronicles the glittering court life, the sweeping romance, and the heartbreaking fall from grace of a forsaken queen and Meg, her closest companion, who was forgotten by the ages but who is destined to live on in our hearts forever.

"To Die For" was a fascinating book, as the author takes a look at the lively and scandalous world of Henry VIII from a Christian point of view. The main character struggles with her faith and what she believes in as she participates in the often morally-bankrupt atmosphere at the Tudor court. It's interesting to see how the turmoil surrounding changes in religion affected the politics of the day, and the lives of the royalty and those whose lives revolved around them.

Fans of this era of history will find Sandra Byrd's novel a unique addition to their Tudor libraries. I highly recommend this read.

Tour schedule:  http://hfvirtualbooktours.blogspot.com/2011/07/virtual-book-tour-to-die-for-by-sandra.html

Author Website/Ladies in Waiting Web Page:  http://www.sandrabyrd.com/adults-ladies-waiting.php

Sandra Byrd's Blog: http://sandrabyrd.com/blog/

Sandra Byrd's FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/sandrabyrdwrites

My thanks to Litfuse Publicity for including me on this book tour, to Sandra Byrd for taking time to answer questions, and to Simon and Schuster for the review copy of the book.  I was not compensated for my opinion.


Sandra Byrd said...

Thank you so much for reviewing and hosting me!

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

Thank you Sandra! I really enjoyed your book!