An Interview with Clare Marchant

Clare Marchant (002)Today it's my very great pleasure to welcome author Clare Marchant to the Word Wenches. Clare is a history addict and author of the USA Today bestseller The Secrets of Saffron Hall, a dual time historical mystery set in the present and the Tudor era. Clare joins us to talk about her new book, The Queen's Spy, history, research, writing and so much more!

Clare, welcome to the Word Wenches! Please tell us more about The Queen’s Spy – where did the genesis of the idea come from?

When I write a book I always do quite a detailed plan before I get started, I don’t like any surprises! But when I was writing The Secrets of Saffron Hall, one day Tom appeared in the still room with no prior warning and I instantly fell in love with him, this silent, solemn child. So when I started researching and planning The Queen’s Spy I knew that I wanted Tom to be the historical protagonist, to explore how his disability could then become his strength.

What drew you to write about the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth 1st?

I find Elizabeth and Mary fascinating. Cousins who never met and yet both with, to their eyes, a valid claim to the throne of England. If Henry VIII hadn’t split from the Catholic faith then the whole relationship between the two queens would have been quite different. But because he did so, the Catholic divisions of the nobility wouldn’t recognise either his marriage to Anne Boleyn nor Elizabeth as a legitimate heir. In their eyes Queen Mary was the successor to the English throne. With this warring backdrop there could only ever be one winner; so Mary was imprisoned for nineteen years, ultimately losing her head.

The hero of the historical thread of The Queen's Spy is Tom who is a deaf mute. It's a very interesting insight; how did you Queens spy research this in a Tudor setting?

Well of course Tom just appeared as a deaf mute, he was always just a shadow hiding in the corners and it was lovely to be able to continue his story and see him grow into a strong independent man who could use his disability as a talent. I was lucky that whilst researching I discovered a piece of a primary research describing the wedding of a deaf-mute man which was just wonderful and I was able to use the actions described for Tom when he married. This then gave me an insight into how he would have used hand signs and signals in the rest of his life. Also, as I knew that they used wax tablets in Tudor times this was very useful for Tom to communicate! I can’t deny though that when I first started writing The Queen’s Spy I did question my decision on more than one occasion because it meant having to find ways of describing how Tom experienced things by just using the senses he had which made life difficult for me as a writer!

There is a fascinating understanding and knowledge of herbs in your books. Is this one of your own interests?

Vanilla Flower (002)When I started planning Saffron Hall it was an article about the growing of saffron which first caught my interest and I realised it would be perfect for my story, and this then led on to other herbs and medicinal plants in the sixteenth century. And although I hadn’t known much about it at the time, I then became more fascinated and began to actively seek out monastic gardens where I could find the different herbs and how they were grown. I was delighted to discover that Hugh Morgan, the apothecary to Elizabeth 1st had introduced vanilla (pictured!) to the Tudor court and who better to have brought it to the palace originally than Tom Lutton?!

Tell us how you research your books.

When I first set about writing a new book, I only ever have a couple of tiny threads of ideas, and I start to weave these together so Castle_Acre_Priory (002)
they begin to form something akin to a plot. From this I usually have a long list of questions that need answering and I dive into the research books for about two months following rabbit holes as they lead me far away from the original subject! But whilst I am doing that, I slowly begin to piece together little snippets, events and people that form the backbone of the book, and then I can weave my own protagonist into the story. When I was researching The Queen’s Spy, as well as finding the lovely wedding report, I also discovered that during the Babington Plot there was a man in a blue coat who delivered a letter to Babington and is believed to have been one of Walsingham’s men – which is why I gave Tom a blue coat! And the part where Babington hid in Robert Pooley’s house and wasn’t discovered by the guards did indeed happen. For me, using all these real events help to bring the story alive.

Castle Acre priory, in the photo, is one of my favourite places to visit, (the castle at one end of the village and a wonderful monastic ruin at the other!) where they have a lot of information about the monks herbal medications and the ruins of an infirmary, and also a picture of the vanilla flower which has to be germinated by hand in this country because the bees that can germinate them are only found in certain hot parts of the world (hence why Tom couldn't ever manage to produce the pods himself – I really do find out all sorts of weird things whilst researching!).

What is it about writing dual timeline that appeals, and how do I weave the two together to make such a satisfying whole?

I really enjoy both writing and reading dual timeline. I love that the two stories begin with nothing in common but slowly they begin to reveal that even living five hundred years apart they are connected. I do this through both an object that is discovered and also a theme which connects the two timelines. Despite the years that separate the two protagonists, human relationships and emotions are still the same and I enjoy bringing this out in both story lines.

Tell us about your path to publication.

I joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2016 under the amazing and supportive New Writers Scheme. I then proceeded to Saffron hall absorb all the incredible wisdom and help from the other members until in 2019 I had a 1-2-1 at the RNA conference with an agent who subsequently signed me. Whilst that was all happening, I had submitted The Secrets of Saffron Hall to Avon and four weeks after hitting ‘send’ on the email, I received an offer of a contract! So, I ended up with an agent and a publishing contract in the space of a couple of weeks, and eighteen months later I still have to pinch myself sometimes!

What is your writing process and what does a writing day looks like to you?

I’m very regimented when it comes to writing, it’s my job and I treat it that way. I sit down at my desk between eight and nine o’clock and (if I’m in the writing stage) write 1000 words, have a short break and then write another 1000 words. That usually takes me to about lunchtime, and after lunch there are always bits and bobs to do for social media and often some pieces of research to be done. I don’t like to stop mid flow to look details up, so I make a note and do the research later and add it in.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

The best advice I was ever given is the simple one of sitting down and writing, even if just a little every day. And to keep going even through the bits when you feel like giving up or you’ve had an idea for a new book which suddenly seems all shiny and exciting. By doing this you will eventually have a first draft and then you can start editing, knocking into shape. But you can’t edit a blank page so you need to keep getting those words down first!

Please tell us a little bit about your next book.

I’m now knee deep in writing the new book – what can I tell you about it? We’re back at the Elizabethan court, it’s another dual timeline this time set in both England and Holland. There’s sailing on the high seas, death, danger, and ultimately facing up to fears and truths.

We're looking forward to it very much! Thank you, Clare, for joining us on the Word Wenches today.

Buy links for The Queen's Spy are here:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3imzoaD

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3xRyGIU

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3ijDNLG 

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/36H2uvY

You can find Clare on social media here:

Facebook: ClareMarchantAuthor

Twitter: ClareMarchant1

Instagram: ClareMarchant1

If you have any questions for Clare about her books, history or writing, jump in and ask!

Clare is giving away a copy of The Queen's Spy to one lucky commenter between now and midnight on Tuesday. Her question for you is, "If you had to choose to support either Mary Queen of Scots or Elizabeth I in the struggle for the throne, which team would you be on? Or would you be the mediator, trying to bring peace to the divided kingdoms?"

 

130 thoughts on “An Interview with Clare Marchant”

  1. Nicola and Clare, thanks for this post! Choosing a deaf-mute protagonists was brave and fascinating. Plus, I’m also interested in herbs though not to the level of either Clare or her characters. I do know that cutting basil or sage or mint or rosemary or oregano from my garden will certainly whatever I’m cooking, but saffron? I would have never considered that! Now I must. *G*

    Reply
  2. Nicola and Clare, thanks for this post! Choosing a deaf-mute protagonists was brave and fascinating. Plus, I’m also interested in herbs though not to the level of either Clare or her characters. I do know that cutting basil or sage or mint or rosemary or oregano from my garden will certainly whatever I’m cooking, but saffron? I would have never considered that! Now I must. *G*

    Reply
  3. Nicola and Clare, thanks for this post! Choosing a deaf-mute protagonists was brave and fascinating. Plus, I’m also interested in herbs though not to the level of either Clare or her characters. I do know that cutting basil or sage or mint or rosemary or oregano from my garden will certainly whatever I’m cooking, but saffron? I would have never considered that! Now I must. *G*

    Reply
  4. Nicola and Clare, thanks for this post! Choosing a deaf-mute protagonists was brave and fascinating. Plus, I’m also interested in herbs though not to the level of either Clare or her characters. I do know that cutting basil or sage or mint or rosemary or oregano from my garden will certainly whatever I’m cooking, but saffron? I would have never considered that! Now I must. *G*

    Reply
  5. Nicola and Clare, thanks for this post! Choosing a deaf-mute protagonists was brave and fascinating. Plus, I’m also interested in herbs though not to the level of either Clare or her characters. I do know that cutting basil or sage or mint or rosemary or oregano from my garden will certainly whatever I’m cooking, but saffron? I would have never considered that! Now I must. *G*

    Reply
  6. As much as I would like to take on the role of mediator, when religious beliefs are involved, it continues to be an issue as it does today. Henry VIII privately practiced Catholicism, even after he broke with Rome. He only cared about his divorce.
    The Protestants had taken power through Henry and on to Elizabeth who wouldn’t be queen without it. Either way, it’s the same God, but from what I understand, people lived their lives much more closely connected to their religion and believed they were justified to kill those on the other side.
    I would side with Elizabeth to selfishly save my neck.

    Reply
  7. As much as I would like to take on the role of mediator, when religious beliefs are involved, it continues to be an issue as it does today. Henry VIII privately practiced Catholicism, even after he broke with Rome. He only cared about his divorce.
    The Protestants had taken power through Henry and on to Elizabeth who wouldn’t be queen without it. Either way, it’s the same God, but from what I understand, people lived their lives much more closely connected to their religion and believed they were justified to kill those on the other side.
    I would side with Elizabeth to selfishly save my neck.

    Reply
  8. As much as I would like to take on the role of mediator, when religious beliefs are involved, it continues to be an issue as it does today. Henry VIII privately practiced Catholicism, even after he broke with Rome. He only cared about his divorce.
    The Protestants had taken power through Henry and on to Elizabeth who wouldn’t be queen without it. Either way, it’s the same God, but from what I understand, people lived their lives much more closely connected to their religion and believed they were justified to kill those on the other side.
    I would side with Elizabeth to selfishly save my neck.

    Reply
  9. As much as I would like to take on the role of mediator, when religious beliefs are involved, it continues to be an issue as it does today. Henry VIII privately practiced Catholicism, even after he broke with Rome. He only cared about his divorce.
    The Protestants had taken power through Henry and on to Elizabeth who wouldn’t be queen without it. Either way, it’s the same God, but from what I understand, people lived their lives much more closely connected to their religion and believed they were justified to kill those on the other side.
    I would side with Elizabeth to selfishly save my neck.

    Reply
  10. As much as I would like to take on the role of mediator, when religious beliefs are involved, it continues to be an issue as it does today. Henry VIII privately practiced Catholicism, even after he broke with Rome. He only cared about his divorce.
    The Protestants had taken power through Henry and on to Elizabeth who wouldn’t be queen without it. Either way, it’s the same God, but from what I understand, people lived their lives much more closely connected to their religion and believed they were justified to kill those on the other side.
    I would side with Elizabeth to selfishly save my neck.

    Reply
  11. Oh Dear! Are you Wenches out to channge my mind about dual time?! This looks very promising.
    What the Catholic church failed to see was that England was READY to become Protestant. Henry himself was not, and had the church backed him in his efforts to provide a king to follow him — he felt it was vital, lest they return to civil war like the Wars of the roses — the rise of protestants would have been slightly delayed.
    Their useless to their cause decree that ONLY the Catholic church were true
    Christians, has only led them to years of trouble. The Second Vatican wiped out this stand, but hasn’t been able to do much to change peoples minds.
    And lest you think I belive this attitude is one-sided, I actively oppose many so-called Protestants who belive that only they know what Christianity is.
    NOT wishing to preach religion, but it is a part of the theme of this book, if I have been reading the blog post correctly.

    Reply
  12. Oh Dear! Are you Wenches out to channge my mind about dual time?! This looks very promising.
    What the Catholic church failed to see was that England was READY to become Protestant. Henry himself was not, and had the church backed him in his efforts to provide a king to follow him — he felt it was vital, lest they return to civil war like the Wars of the roses — the rise of protestants would have been slightly delayed.
    Their useless to their cause decree that ONLY the Catholic church were true
    Christians, has only led them to years of trouble. The Second Vatican wiped out this stand, but hasn’t been able to do much to change peoples minds.
    And lest you think I belive this attitude is one-sided, I actively oppose many so-called Protestants who belive that only they know what Christianity is.
    NOT wishing to preach religion, but it is a part of the theme of this book, if I have been reading the blog post correctly.

    Reply
  13. Oh Dear! Are you Wenches out to channge my mind about dual time?! This looks very promising.
    What the Catholic church failed to see was that England was READY to become Protestant. Henry himself was not, and had the church backed him in his efforts to provide a king to follow him — he felt it was vital, lest they return to civil war like the Wars of the roses — the rise of protestants would have been slightly delayed.
    Their useless to their cause decree that ONLY the Catholic church were true
    Christians, has only led them to years of trouble. The Second Vatican wiped out this stand, but hasn’t been able to do much to change peoples minds.
    And lest you think I belive this attitude is one-sided, I actively oppose many so-called Protestants who belive that only they know what Christianity is.
    NOT wishing to preach religion, but it is a part of the theme of this book, if I have been reading the blog post correctly.

    Reply
  14. Oh Dear! Are you Wenches out to channge my mind about dual time?! This looks very promising.
    What the Catholic church failed to see was that England was READY to become Protestant. Henry himself was not, and had the church backed him in his efforts to provide a king to follow him — he felt it was vital, lest they return to civil war like the Wars of the roses — the rise of protestants would have been slightly delayed.
    Their useless to their cause decree that ONLY the Catholic church were true
    Christians, has only led them to years of trouble. The Second Vatican wiped out this stand, but hasn’t been able to do much to change peoples minds.
    And lest you think I belive this attitude is one-sided, I actively oppose many so-called Protestants who belive that only they know what Christianity is.
    NOT wishing to preach religion, but it is a part of the theme of this book, if I have been reading the blog post correctly.

    Reply
  15. Oh Dear! Are you Wenches out to channge my mind about dual time?! This looks very promising.
    What the Catholic church failed to see was that England was READY to become Protestant. Henry himself was not, and had the church backed him in his efforts to provide a king to follow him — he felt it was vital, lest they return to civil war like the Wars of the roses — the rise of protestants would have been slightly delayed.
    Their useless to their cause decree that ONLY the Catholic church were true
    Christians, has only led them to years of trouble. The Second Vatican wiped out this stand, but hasn’t been able to do much to change peoples minds.
    And lest you think I belive this attitude is one-sided, I actively oppose many so-called Protestants who belive that only they know what Christianity is.
    NOT wishing to preach religion, but it is a part of the theme of this book, if I have been reading the blog post correctly.

    Reply
  16. I think I’d try to be the mediator. I’d value the input of both queens and strive to come to a compromise for both kingdoms. Since this is a mental “what if” post, why not go into a Turtledove-like fantasy realm. As Mary is the mother of the heir to both kingdoms, as religion was the main point of contention, I’d try to get a clause recognizing the God give rights of sovereigns, but the separation of church and state in government. Thus allowing religious freedom in both kingdoms…peace throughout the land.

    Reply
  17. I think I’d try to be the mediator. I’d value the input of both queens and strive to come to a compromise for both kingdoms. Since this is a mental “what if” post, why not go into a Turtledove-like fantasy realm. As Mary is the mother of the heir to both kingdoms, as religion was the main point of contention, I’d try to get a clause recognizing the God give rights of sovereigns, but the separation of church and state in government. Thus allowing religious freedom in both kingdoms…peace throughout the land.

    Reply
  18. I think I’d try to be the mediator. I’d value the input of both queens and strive to come to a compromise for both kingdoms. Since this is a mental “what if” post, why not go into a Turtledove-like fantasy realm. As Mary is the mother of the heir to both kingdoms, as religion was the main point of contention, I’d try to get a clause recognizing the God give rights of sovereigns, but the separation of church and state in government. Thus allowing religious freedom in both kingdoms…peace throughout the land.

    Reply
  19. I think I’d try to be the mediator. I’d value the input of both queens and strive to come to a compromise for both kingdoms. Since this is a mental “what if” post, why not go into a Turtledove-like fantasy realm. As Mary is the mother of the heir to both kingdoms, as religion was the main point of contention, I’d try to get a clause recognizing the God give rights of sovereigns, but the separation of church and state in government. Thus allowing religious freedom in both kingdoms…peace throughout the land.

    Reply
  20. I think I’d try to be the mediator. I’d value the input of both queens and strive to come to a compromise for both kingdoms. Since this is a mental “what if” post, why not go into a Turtledove-like fantasy realm. As Mary is the mother of the heir to both kingdoms, as religion was the main point of contention, I’d try to get a clause recognizing the God give rights of sovereigns, but the separation of church and state in government. Thus allowing religious freedom in both kingdoms…peace throughout the land.

    Reply
  21. Lovely interview, Clare and Nicola! I didn’t know vanilla came to England that early on – fascinating. I went to an island in the Seychelles once to see where it grew in the wild. To answer your question, I’m one of life’s eternal mediators so I would definitely have tried that 🙂

    Reply
  22. Lovely interview, Clare and Nicola! I didn’t know vanilla came to England that early on – fascinating. I went to an island in the Seychelles once to see where it grew in the wild. To answer your question, I’m one of life’s eternal mediators so I would definitely have tried that 🙂

    Reply
  23. Lovely interview, Clare and Nicola! I didn’t know vanilla came to England that early on – fascinating. I went to an island in the Seychelles once to see where it grew in the wild. To answer your question, I’m one of life’s eternal mediators so I would definitely have tried that 🙂

    Reply
  24. Lovely interview, Clare and Nicola! I didn’t know vanilla came to England that early on – fascinating. I went to an island in the Seychelles once to see where it grew in the wild. To answer your question, I’m one of life’s eternal mediators so I would definitely have tried that 🙂

    Reply
  25. Lovely interview, Clare and Nicola! I didn’t know vanilla came to England that early on – fascinating. I went to an island in the Seychelles once to see where it grew in the wild. To answer your question, I’m one of life’s eternal mediators so I would definitely have tried that 🙂

    Reply
  26. Saffron is a wonderful spice Mary Jo! Although very expensive (and still harvested by hand because it’s so delicate) it is known as the spice more valuable than gold! But in a saffron bun? – delicious!

    Reply
  27. Saffron is a wonderful spice Mary Jo! Although very expensive (and still harvested by hand because it’s so delicate) it is known as the spice more valuable than gold! But in a saffron bun? – delicious!

    Reply
  28. Saffron is a wonderful spice Mary Jo! Although very expensive (and still harvested by hand because it’s so delicate) it is known as the spice more valuable than gold! But in a saffron bun? – delicious!

    Reply
  29. Saffron is a wonderful spice Mary Jo! Although very expensive (and still harvested by hand because it’s so delicate) it is known as the spice more valuable than gold! But in a saffron bun? – delicious!

    Reply
  30. Saffron is a wonderful spice Mary Jo! Although very expensive (and still harvested by hand because it’s so delicate) it is known as the spice more valuable than gold! But in a saffron bun? – delicious!

    Reply
  31. Sue it is a strong part of the historical timeline of the book as it concerns the Babington plot which of course centred on the battle between the two religions – and the two Queen’s – for the throne. It’s such an interesting debate even now centuries later!

    Reply
  32. Sue it is a strong part of the historical timeline of the book as it concerns the Babington plot which of course centred on the battle between the two religions – and the two Queen’s – for the throne. It’s such an interesting debate even now centuries later!

    Reply
  33. Sue it is a strong part of the historical timeline of the book as it concerns the Babington plot which of course centred on the battle between the two religions – and the two Queen’s – for the throne. It’s such an interesting debate even now centuries later!

    Reply
  34. Sue it is a strong part of the historical timeline of the book as it concerns the Babington plot which of course centred on the battle between the two religions – and the two Queen’s – for the throne. It’s such an interesting debate even now centuries later!

    Reply
  35. Sue it is a strong part of the historical timeline of the book as it concerns the Babington plot which of course centred on the battle between the two religions – and the two Queen’s – for the throne. It’s such an interesting debate even now centuries later!

    Reply
  36. Pamela that is an interesting way to think about it, certainly food for thought! I must admit that I think our history would be very different if that magic word ‘compromise’ had been used a little more often!

    Reply
  37. Pamela that is an interesting way to think about it, certainly food for thought! I must admit that I think our history would be very different if that magic word ‘compromise’ had been used a little more often!

    Reply
  38. Pamela that is an interesting way to think about it, certainly food for thought! I must admit that I think our history would be very different if that magic word ‘compromise’ had been used a little more often!

    Reply
  39. Pamela that is an interesting way to think about it, certainly food for thought! I must admit that I think our history would be very different if that magic word ‘compromise’ had been used a little more often!

    Reply
  40. Pamela that is an interesting way to think about it, certainly food for thought! I must admit that I think our history would be very different if that magic word ‘compromise’ had been used a little more often!

    Reply
  41. Thank you Christina! I was fascinated when I discovered that vanilla arrived on these shores so long ago, and that Hugh Morgan the Queen’s apothecary was the person to introduce it. I especially liked the fact that it has to be germinated by hand without the particular type of bees that it needs. I enjoyed having Mathilde explain that in the present day to show why Tom couldn’t produce it himself?

    Reply
  42. Thank you Christina! I was fascinated when I discovered that vanilla arrived on these shores so long ago, and that Hugh Morgan the Queen’s apothecary was the person to introduce it. I especially liked the fact that it has to be germinated by hand without the particular type of bees that it needs. I enjoyed having Mathilde explain that in the present day to show why Tom couldn’t produce it himself?

    Reply
  43. Thank you Christina! I was fascinated when I discovered that vanilla arrived on these shores so long ago, and that Hugh Morgan the Queen’s apothecary was the person to introduce it. I especially liked the fact that it has to be germinated by hand without the particular type of bees that it needs. I enjoyed having Mathilde explain that in the present day to show why Tom couldn’t produce it himself?

    Reply
  44. Thank you Christina! I was fascinated when I discovered that vanilla arrived on these shores so long ago, and that Hugh Morgan the Queen’s apothecary was the person to introduce it. I especially liked the fact that it has to be germinated by hand without the particular type of bees that it needs. I enjoyed having Mathilde explain that in the present day to show why Tom couldn’t produce it himself?

    Reply
  45. Thank you Christina! I was fascinated when I discovered that vanilla arrived on these shores so long ago, and that Hugh Morgan the Queen’s apothecary was the person to introduce it. I especially liked the fact that it has to be germinated by hand without the particular type of bees that it needs. I enjoyed having Mathilde explain that in the present day to show why Tom couldn’t produce it himself?

    Reply
  46. I’m no historian and not competent to judge the validity of complicated claims to the throne, however during the Tudor period the likes of Copernicus Kepler and Galileo were undermining the earth-centered religious view of the Solar system and the resulting harsh treatment of Galileo by the Catholic church leaves me strongly on the side of Elizabeth. But then the appalling treatment of Mary sways me towards her claim to the throne. So yet again I’m sitting on the fence and would probably aim for mediation! On the practical side I think that Elizabeth encouraged development of the fleet and navigation aids, another plus for her, though it was probably more for financial gain than scientific interest. Clare, can you give us your historians view on who should have become queen?
    Thanks for a fascinating interview.

    Reply
  47. I’m no historian and not competent to judge the validity of complicated claims to the throne, however during the Tudor period the likes of Copernicus Kepler and Galileo were undermining the earth-centered religious view of the Solar system and the resulting harsh treatment of Galileo by the Catholic church leaves me strongly on the side of Elizabeth. But then the appalling treatment of Mary sways me towards her claim to the throne. So yet again I’m sitting on the fence and would probably aim for mediation! On the practical side I think that Elizabeth encouraged development of the fleet and navigation aids, another plus for her, though it was probably more for financial gain than scientific interest. Clare, can you give us your historians view on who should have become queen?
    Thanks for a fascinating interview.

    Reply
  48. I’m no historian and not competent to judge the validity of complicated claims to the throne, however during the Tudor period the likes of Copernicus Kepler and Galileo were undermining the earth-centered religious view of the Solar system and the resulting harsh treatment of Galileo by the Catholic church leaves me strongly on the side of Elizabeth. But then the appalling treatment of Mary sways me towards her claim to the throne. So yet again I’m sitting on the fence and would probably aim for mediation! On the practical side I think that Elizabeth encouraged development of the fleet and navigation aids, another plus for her, though it was probably more for financial gain than scientific interest. Clare, can you give us your historians view on who should have become queen?
    Thanks for a fascinating interview.

    Reply
  49. I’m no historian and not competent to judge the validity of complicated claims to the throne, however during the Tudor period the likes of Copernicus Kepler and Galileo were undermining the earth-centered religious view of the Solar system and the resulting harsh treatment of Galileo by the Catholic church leaves me strongly on the side of Elizabeth. But then the appalling treatment of Mary sways me towards her claim to the throne. So yet again I’m sitting on the fence and would probably aim for mediation! On the practical side I think that Elizabeth encouraged development of the fleet and navigation aids, another plus for her, though it was probably more for financial gain than scientific interest. Clare, can you give us your historians view on who should have become queen?
    Thanks for a fascinating interview.

    Reply
  50. I’m no historian and not competent to judge the validity of complicated claims to the throne, however during the Tudor period the likes of Copernicus Kepler and Galileo were undermining the earth-centered religious view of the Solar system and the resulting harsh treatment of Galileo by the Catholic church leaves me strongly on the side of Elizabeth. But then the appalling treatment of Mary sways me towards her claim to the throne. So yet again I’m sitting on the fence and would probably aim for mediation! On the practical side I think that Elizabeth encouraged development of the fleet and navigation aids, another plus for her, though it was probably more for financial gain than scientific interest. Clare, can you give us your historians view on who should have become queen?
    Thanks for a fascinating interview.

    Reply
  51. Thanks for introducing us to this new-to-me author. I am very interested in herbs. I started growing my own saffron crocuses many years ago. It’s very easy, it multiplies over the years on its own, and blooms in the fall rather than the spring. Although the quantity I harvest is tiny, I get a kick out of knowing I grew it myself.
    I’m sure I’ve been influenced by histories and fiction books that favor Elizabeth over Mary, but she did seem to be a very competent ruler and more temperamentally suited to be Queen than Mary.

    Reply
  52. Thanks for introducing us to this new-to-me author. I am very interested in herbs. I started growing my own saffron crocuses many years ago. It’s very easy, it multiplies over the years on its own, and blooms in the fall rather than the spring. Although the quantity I harvest is tiny, I get a kick out of knowing I grew it myself.
    I’m sure I’ve been influenced by histories and fiction books that favor Elizabeth over Mary, but she did seem to be a very competent ruler and more temperamentally suited to be Queen than Mary.

    Reply
  53. Thanks for introducing us to this new-to-me author. I am very interested in herbs. I started growing my own saffron crocuses many years ago. It’s very easy, it multiplies over the years on its own, and blooms in the fall rather than the spring. Although the quantity I harvest is tiny, I get a kick out of knowing I grew it myself.
    I’m sure I’ve been influenced by histories and fiction books that favor Elizabeth over Mary, but she did seem to be a very competent ruler and more temperamentally suited to be Queen than Mary.

    Reply
  54. Thanks for introducing us to this new-to-me author. I am very interested in herbs. I started growing my own saffron crocuses many years ago. It’s very easy, it multiplies over the years on its own, and blooms in the fall rather than the spring. Although the quantity I harvest is tiny, I get a kick out of knowing I grew it myself.
    I’m sure I’ve been influenced by histories and fiction books that favor Elizabeth over Mary, but she did seem to be a very competent ruler and more temperamentally suited to be Queen than Mary.

    Reply
  55. Thanks for introducing us to this new-to-me author. I am very interested in herbs. I started growing my own saffron crocuses many years ago. It’s very easy, it multiplies over the years on its own, and blooms in the fall rather than the spring. Although the quantity I harvest is tiny, I get a kick out of knowing I grew it myself.
    I’m sure I’ve been influenced by histories and fiction books that favor Elizabeth over Mary, but she did seem to be a very competent ruler and more temperamentally suited to be Queen than Mary.

    Reply
  56. Mediation would be important but rarely is successful. I enjoyed your wonderful interview and look forward to enjoying your captivating novel.

    Reply
  57. Mediation would be important but rarely is successful. I enjoyed your wonderful interview and look forward to enjoying your captivating novel.

    Reply
  58. Mediation would be important but rarely is successful. I enjoyed your wonderful interview and look forward to enjoying your captivating novel.

    Reply
  59. Mediation would be important but rarely is successful. I enjoyed your wonderful interview and look forward to enjoying your captivating novel.

    Reply
  60. Mediation would be important but rarely is successful. I enjoyed your wonderful interview and look forward to enjoying your captivating novel.

    Reply
  61. I was extremely interested in learning about your background, research and the herbs as well. The historical significance of Elizabeth I reign interests me greatly. Her strength, ability and character is fascinating.

    Reply
  62. I was extremely interested in learning about your background, research and the herbs as well. The historical significance of Elizabeth I reign interests me greatly. Her strength, ability and character is fascinating.

    Reply
  63. I was extremely interested in learning about your background, research and the herbs as well. The historical significance of Elizabeth I reign interests me greatly. Her strength, ability and character is fascinating.

    Reply
  64. I was extremely interested in learning about your background, research and the herbs as well. The historical significance of Elizabeth I reign interests me greatly. Her strength, ability and character is fascinating.

    Reply
  65. I was extremely interested in learning about your background, research and the herbs as well. The historical significance of Elizabeth I reign interests me greatly. Her strength, ability and character is fascinating.

    Reply
  66. Thank you both for this post. I learned things and enjoyed the learning. I must say, the cover for the Queen’s Spy is absolutely beautiful.
    It is always interesting for me when I learn more about Elizabeth I. She must have been a heck of a woman. And England should be absolutely thrilled that she was the one who was in charge after her father. Her intelligence and curiosity were legendary. And she knew how to find people who could move the world forward. I reckon she would be in favor of “girl power”. She was a marvel.
    Thanks again. Hope everyone is well and safe.

    Reply
  67. Thank you both for this post. I learned things and enjoyed the learning. I must say, the cover for the Queen’s Spy is absolutely beautiful.
    It is always interesting for me when I learn more about Elizabeth I. She must have been a heck of a woman. And England should be absolutely thrilled that she was the one who was in charge after her father. Her intelligence and curiosity were legendary. And she knew how to find people who could move the world forward. I reckon she would be in favor of “girl power”. She was a marvel.
    Thanks again. Hope everyone is well and safe.

    Reply
  68. Thank you both for this post. I learned things and enjoyed the learning. I must say, the cover for the Queen’s Spy is absolutely beautiful.
    It is always interesting for me when I learn more about Elizabeth I. She must have been a heck of a woman. And England should be absolutely thrilled that she was the one who was in charge after her father. Her intelligence and curiosity were legendary. And she knew how to find people who could move the world forward. I reckon she would be in favor of “girl power”. She was a marvel.
    Thanks again. Hope everyone is well and safe.

    Reply
  69. Thank you both for this post. I learned things and enjoyed the learning. I must say, the cover for the Queen’s Spy is absolutely beautiful.
    It is always interesting for me when I learn more about Elizabeth I. She must have been a heck of a woman. And England should be absolutely thrilled that she was the one who was in charge after her father. Her intelligence and curiosity were legendary. And she knew how to find people who could move the world forward. I reckon she would be in favor of “girl power”. She was a marvel.
    Thanks again. Hope everyone is well and safe.

    Reply
  70. Thank you both for this post. I learned things and enjoyed the learning. I must say, the cover for the Queen’s Spy is absolutely beautiful.
    It is always interesting for me when I learn more about Elizabeth I. She must have been a heck of a woman. And England should be absolutely thrilled that she was the one who was in charge after her father. Her intelligence and curiosity were legendary. And she knew how to find people who could move the world forward. I reckon she would be in favor of “girl power”. She was a marvel.
    Thanks again. Hope everyone is well and safe.

    Reply
  71. This is such a fascinating subject and it’s hard to make a decision on who should have been on the throne when both women had valid claims depending on whether you believed Elizabeth was illegitimate or not. And it’s difficult to not view this through our 21st century eyes when being illegitimate prevents nothing. I do however think that Elizabeth did a very fine job of ruling England and that with such a strong woman at the helm the sovereignty of the country was safe. And I am an admirer of her interest in science which makes me favour her a little more!

    Reply
  72. This is such a fascinating subject and it’s hard to make a decision on who should have been on the throne when both women had valid claims depending on whether you believed Elizabeth was illegitimate or not. And it’s difficult to not view this through our 21st century eyes when being illegitimate prevents nothing. I do however think that Elizabeth did a very fine job of ruling England and that with such a strong woman at the helm the sovereignty of the country was safe. And I am an admirer of her interest in science which makes me favour her a little more!

    Reply
  73. This is such a fascinating subject and it’s hard to make a decision on who should have been on the throne when both women had valid claims depending on whether you believed Elizabeth was illegitimate or not. And it’s difficult to not view this through our 21st century eyes when being illegitimate prevents nothing. I do however think that Elizabeth did a very fine job of ruling England and that with such a strong woman at the helm the sovereignty of the country was safe. And I am an admirer of her interest in science which makes me favour her a little more!

    Reply
  74. This is such a fascinating subject and it’s hard to make a decision on who should have been on the throne when both women had valid claims depending on whether you believed Elizabeth was illegitimate or not. And it’s difficult to not view this through our 21st century eyes when being illegitimate prevents nothing. I do however think that Elizabeth did a very fine job of ruling England and that with such a strong woman at the helm the sovereignty of the country was safe. And I am an admirer of her interest in science which makes me favour her a little more!

    Reply
  75. This is such a fascinating subject and it’s hard to make a decision on who should have been on the throne when both women had valid claims depending on whether you believed Elizabeth was illegitimate or not. And it’s difficult to not view this through our 21st century eyes when being illegitimate prevents nothing. I do however think that Elizabeth did a very fine job of ruling England and that with such a strong woman at the helm the sovereignty of the country was safe. And I am an admirer of her interest in science which makes me favour her a little more!

    Reply
  76. Hi Annette,
    Thank you for your kind words, and I agree the cover of The Queen’s Spy is stunning!
    I absolutely agree that Elizabeth was the originator of Girl Power and a worthy successor to her father!

    Reply
  77. Hi Annette,
    Thank you for your kind words, and I agree the cover of The Queen’s Spy is stunning!
    I absolutely agree that Elizabeth was the originator of Girl Power and a worthy successor to her father!

    Reply
  78. Hi Annette,
    Thank you for your kind words, and I agree the cover of The Queen’s Spy is stunning!
    I absolutely agree that Elizabeth was the originator of Girl Power and a worthy successor to her father!

    Reply
  79. Hi Annette,
    Thank you for your kind words, and I agree the cover of The Queen’s Spy is stunning!
    I absolutely agree that Elizabeth was the originator of Girl Power and a worthy successor to her father!

    Reply
  80. Hi Annette,
    Thank you for your kind words, and I agree the cover of The Queen’s Spy is stunning!
    I absolutely agree that Elizabeth was the originator of Girl Power and a worthy successor to her father!

    Reply
  81. Perhaps more like Man-in-girl’s-body Power? Nothing girlish about it at all! To me, the difference between Elizabeth and Mary comes down to Elizabeth’s manliness versus Mary’s femininity. Little if anything about Elizabeth showed a softer side, and as far as I know, all of her advisors were men and she made sure none of them was her equal, much less encouraging another female. Brutal as the religious issue was, Elizabeth was the progenitor of the British empire; Mary wasn’t in her league in any way.

    Reply
  82. Perhaps more like Man-in-girl’s-body Power? Nothing girlish about it at all! To me, the difference between Elizabeth and Mary comes down to Elizabeth’s manliness versus Mary’s femininity. Little if anything about Elizabeth showed a softer side, and as far as I know, all of her advisors were men and she made sure none of them was her equal, much less encouraging another female. Brutal as the religious issue was, Elizabeth was the progenitor of the British empire; Mary wasn’t in her league in any way.

    Reply
  83. Perhaps more like Man-in-girl’s-body Power? Nothing girlish about it at all! To me, the difference between Elizabeth and Mary comes down to Elizabeth’s manliness versus Mary’s femininity. Little if anything about Elizabeth showed a softer side, and as far as I know, all of her advisors were men and she made sure none of them was her equal, much less encouraging another female. Brutal as the religious issue was, Elizabeth was the progenitor of the British empire; Mary wasn’t in her league in any way.

    Reply
  84. Perhaps more like Man-in-girl’s-body Power? Nothing girlish about it at all! To me, the difference between Elizabeth and Mary comes down to Elizabeth’s manliness versus Mary’s femininity. Little if anything about Elizabeth showed a softer side, and as far as I know, all of her advisors were men and she made sure none of them was her equal, much less encouraging another female. Brutal as the religious issue was, Elizabeth was the progenitor of the British empire; Mary wasn’t in her league in any way.

    Reply
  85. Perhaps more like Man-in-girl’s-body Power? Nothing girlish about it at all! To me, the difference between Elizabeth and Mary comes down to Elizabeth’s manliness versus Mary’s femininity. Little if anything about Elizabeth showed a softer side, and as far as I know, all of her advisors were men and she made sure none of them was her equal, much less encouraging another female. Brutal as the religious issue was, Elizabeth was the progenitor of the British empire; Mary wasn’t in her league in any way.

    Reply
  86. I’d be on Elizabeth’s team, though this a mere gut reaction; I’m not sure I have a good reason for it. She was definitely the abler ruler, and didn’t get into sticky marriages like Mary, so I feel she is also more admirable. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Clare!

    Reply
  87. I’d be on Elizabeth’s team, though this a mere gut reaction; I’m not sure I have a good reason for it. She was definitely the abler ruler, and didn’t get into sticky marriages like Mary, so I feel she is also more admirable. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Clare!

    Reply
  88. I’d be on Elizabeth’s team, though this a mere gut reaction; I’m not sure I have a good reason for it. She was definitely the abler ruler, and didn’t get into sticky marriages like Mary, so I feel she is also more admirable. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Clare!

    Reply
  89. I’d be on Elizabeth’s team, though this a mere gut reaction; I’m not sure I have a good reason for it. She was definitely the abler ruler, and didn’t get into sticky marriages like Mary, so I feel she is also more admirable. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Clare!

    Reply
  90. I’d be on Elizabeth’s team, though this a mere gut reaction; I’m not sure I have a good reason for it. She was definitely the abler ruler, and didn’t get into sticky marriages like Mary, so I feel she is also more admirable. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Clare!

    Reply
  91. I’m exactly the same, Jane – I admire Elizabeth for her able qualities and think Mary made a bit of a hash of her personal life, but I’m not sure I have any better reason than that!
    Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
  92. I’m exactly the same, Jane – I admire Elizabeth for her able qualities and think Mary made a bit of a hash of her personal life, but I’m not sure I have any better reason than that!
    Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
  93. I’m exactly the same, Jane – I admire Elizabeth for her able qualities and think Mary made a bit of a hash of her personal life, but I’m not sure I have any better reason than that!
    Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
  94. I’m exactly the same, Jane – I admire Elizabeth for her able qualities and think Mary made a bit of a hash of her personal life, but I’m not sure I have any better reason than that!
    Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
  95. I’m exactly the same, Jane – I admire Elizabeth for her able qualities and think Mary made a bit of a hash of her personal life, but I’m not sure I have any better reason than that!
    Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
  96. Yes, a very fair assessment, I think, Mary. I think of Elizabeth in mannish terms too – that she made herself that way to succeed. She certainly wasn’t a feminist in the sense of supporting or promoting other women. The concept really didn’t enter into it at all. Fascinating.

    Reply
  97. Yes, a very fair assessment, I think, Mary. I think of Elizabeth in mannish terms too – that she made herself that way to succeed. She certainly wasn’t a feminist in the sense of supporting or promoting other women. The concept really didn’t enter into it at all. Fascinating.

    Reply
  98. Yes, a very fair assessment, I think, Mary. I think of Elizabeth in mannish terms too – that she made herself that way to succeed. She certainly wasn’t a feminist in the sense of supporting or promoting other women. The concept really didn’t enter into it at all. Fascinating.

    Reply
  99. Yes, a very fair assessment, I think, Mary. I think of Elizabeth in mannish terms too – that she made herself that way to succeed. She certainly wasn’t a feminist in the sense of supporting or promoting other women. The concept really didn’t enter into it at all. Fascinating.

    Reply
  100. Yes, a very fair assessment, I think, Mary. I think of Elizabeth in mannish terms too – that she made herself that way to succeed. She certainly wasn’t a feminist in the sense of supporting or promoting other women. The concept really didn’t enter into it at all. Fascinating.

    Reply

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