Today, I’m extremely pleased to welcome Tony Riches to the blog to talk about his fantastic new book, Essex: Tudor Rebel.
Your book, Essex, Tudor Rebel, is set in a time I love reading about. As a historian first and foremost, and then a writer, I’m always interested in how people research their historical stories. Can you explain your research process to me, and give an idea of the resources that you rely on the most (other than your imagination, of course) to bring your historical landscape to life?
Thank you for inviting me to your blog to talk about my new book.
I particularly wanted to keep Robert Devereux’s story as factually accurate and authentic as possible, so immersed myself in the world of Elizabethan London. I often spend a year tracking down primary sources and visiting actual locations used in my books.
I was lucky to have access to Robert Devereux’s personal letters, which offer a real insight into his character and state of mind throughout his life.
Letter from Robert Devereux to Queen Elizabeth
Hast [hasten], paper, to thatt happy presence whence only unhappy I am banished. Kiss thatt fayre correcting hand which layes new plasters to my lighter hurtes, butt to my greatest woond applyeth nothing. Say thou cummest from shaming, languishing, despayring, S.X.
Signed with the unimaginative Essex cipher, he should have known the queen well enough to realise this approach was unlikely to change her mind.
I also visited the Devereux Tower and Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London, (where he lies close to Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn).
During my research I was amazed to find Robert Devereux lived at Lamphey Palace, twenty minutes from my home in Pembrokeshire!
Picture of Lamphey Palace
Do you have a ‘go to’ book/resource that you couldn’t write without having to hand, and if so, what is it?
I studied Walter Bourchier Devereux’s two-volumes of the Lives and Letters of the Devereux, Earls of Essex, a rich source of both primary and secondary details. Interestingly, these books include the author’s own comments and interpretation on the Earl’s letters, which helped me understand the context.
A lot has been made of the unusual relationship between the aging queen and Robert Devereux, and even at the time, they were so close to the queen many wonder if they are lovers. The truth is far more complex, as each has what the other yearns for. I wanted to keep his story as factually accurate and authentic as possible, so immersed myself in the world of Elizabethan London. I hope readers will be able to tell that this book is one I’ve really enjoyed researching and writing, and that I’ve been able to find some of Robert Devereux’s redeeming qualities.
Thank you so much for sharing your research with me. It’s fascinating.
Here’s the blurb:
Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, is one of the most intriguing men of the Elizabethan period. Tall and handsome, he soon becomes a ‘favourite’ at court, so close to the queen many wonder if they are lovers.
The truth is far more complex, as each has what the other yearns for. Robert Devereux longs for recognition, wealth and influence. His flamboyant naïveté amuses the ageing Queen Elizabeth, like the son she never had, and his vitality makes her feel young.
Robert Devereux’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.
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Meet the Author
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling Tudor historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham.
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Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Essex: Tudor Rebel blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club