Karen Harper & the Queen

Cat 243 Dover

by Mary Jo

 We Wenches are delighted to have Honorary Word Wench Karen Harper return as a guest!  Karen has had an amazing career, writing everything from historical romance to romantic suspense to historical mystery and mainstream historicals.  Over the years, she has continued to grow as a writer, leading her readers into fascinating new territory. 

Karen has no less that three books being released this month.  Besides the KarenHarper romantic suspense Down River, the trade paperback of her wonderful Mistress Shakespeare is just out. 

But today, she's her to tell us about her new Putnam hardcover, The Queen’s Governess. She offered us a choice of blog topics and we all wanted to hear more about Kat Ashley, the Queen’s governess herself. 

The Tale Begins:

QueensGoverness Karen Harper:

In my previous historical novels focusing on Elizabeth Tudor, I have used her governess and friend, Katherine Champernowne Ashley, as a secondary character or a mere walk on.  In my nine-book series THE QUEEN ELIZABETH I MYSTERY NOVELS, she was a crime-solver with others in the queen’s inner circle. 

But my curiosity about “Kat,” as Elizabeth called her, got the best of me, and I began to research the queen’s governess as a central character.  I found she was Elizabeth’s mother figure and, during Elizabeth’s early years, her protector. 

Although Kat Ashley appears in records and writings once she became Elizabeth’s governess, her beginnings are obscure.  Perhaps that’s why—as far as I can tell—no book focusing on her has been written before.  Although Elizabethan spelling was not standardized, even the spelling of Kat’s maiden and married names is argued, so I had to make a decision on that.  Her married name, Ashley is sometimes written Astley, but since the fifteen-year-old Elizabeth spelled the name of her beloved friend and governess as Kateryn Ashiley, I have let the princess decide on the h sound Kat2 instead of the t. 

Which of several Champernowne families in Devon Kat came from is unclear, though it is narrowed down in a letter she wrote to Thomas Cromwell.  Henry VIII’s henchman was Kat’s early sponsor at court.  Now that is intriguing, and Cromwell plays a major part in my novel, just as he does in the current bestseller Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  In the letter of 1537, Kat asks Cromwell for money to buy clothing for Elizabeth and indicates that her own father was still alive then.  She writes Cromwell that, “I am loath to beg for moneys from my own father, who has as much to do with the little living he has as any man.”  This also suggests her father is not well-to-do, which eliminates some families. 

Ab12

Life in the Tudor Court

However, once Kat gets to court, evidently brought there by Cromwell to at first serve (or spy on) Anne Boleyn, Kat’s times with the Tudors are much easier to follow.  It was also very convenient for me that Kat had a great love story, marrying John Ashley, a Boleyn cousin.  John was a great horseman and author:  his book The Art of Riding, was popular for centuries.  As far as I can tell, his instructions about humane training make him the original horse whisperer.

I was especially drawn to Kat as a main character because Elizabeth herself testifies to how much this woman, her early tutor and mother figure, (Anne Boleyn was beheaded when Elizabeth was three) meant to her.  When Kat and John Ashley were The Last Boleyn in the Tower, threatened with torture and stringently questioned about Elizabeth’s role in the Tom Seymour treason plot, Elizabeth wrote to Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector of the young King Edward IV, “As for Kat Ashley, I request that it would please Your Grace and the rest of the Council to be good unto her.  First, because that she hath been with me a long time and many years, and hath taken great labor and pain in bringing of me up in learning and honesty.” 

By the way, those interrogations in the Tower are recorded in detail, which is why we have so much information on Tom Seymour’s attempts to seduce Elizabeth when she was living with her step-mother, the Dowager Queen Katherine Parr at Chelsea Manor.  Several years later, after the Wyatt Rebellion against Queen Mary Tudor, Kat was sent to the noisome Fleet Prison while Elizabeth, again suspected of treason, was sent to the Tower. 

So The Queen's Governess is faction—fiction based on fact—on any research I could find about this dynamic woman who helped to make Elizabeth Tudor the great queen Vaqueenelizabeth she was.  It is a mother-daughter story too, both loving and contentious when Kat took a stand against Elizabeth’s great, illicit passion for Robert Dudley.  Yet in the end, I like to think that Elizabeth put it this way:  “Anne Boleyn gave me life, but Kat Ashley gave me love.” 

The most brilliant woman of her age, Elizabeth the queen, wrote the following which shows she realized how key Kat was in her life:  “We are more bound to them that bringeth us up well than to our parents, for our parents do that which is natural to them—that is bringeth us into the world—but our bringers up are a cause to make us live well to do it.”  When Kat died, years after Elizabeth claimed the throne, it is recorded that her passing was “deeply mourned by the queen.” 

MistressShakespeare Like the queen when Kat died, at the end of novel, I hated to let her go.

MJP: Karen’s earlier historical novels are The Last Boleyn and The First Princess of Wales.

Karen has generously offered to give away copies of both The Queen's Governess and Mistress Shakespeare to two lucky people who leave comments between now and Saturday midnight. 

Karen, thanks so much for visiting us again!  I hope to see you again in the future–

Mary Jo

135 thoughts on “Karen Harper & the Queen”

  1. Wonderful interview! I remember reading The Last Boleyn many years ago when it first came out and I loved it. And I’ve enjoyed your historical mysteries with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen’s Governess is going on my list of books I must reaad this year.

    Reply
  2. Wonderful interview! I remember reading The Last Boleyn many years ago when it first came out and I loved it. And I’ve enjoyed your historical mysteries with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen’s Governess is going on my list of books I must reaad this year.

    Reply
  3. Wonderful interview! I remember reading The Last Boleyn many years ago when it first came out and I loved it. And I’ve enjoyed your historical mysteries with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen’s Governess is going on my list of books I must reaad this year.

    Reply
  4. Wonderful interview! I remember reading The Last Boleyn many years ago when it first came out and I loved it. And I’ve enjoyed your historical mysteries with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen’s Governess is going on my list of books I must reaad this year.

    Reply
  5. Wonderful interview! I remember reading The Last Boleyn many years ago when it first came out and I loved it. And I’ve enjoyed your historical mysteries with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen’s Governess is going on my list of books I must reaad this year.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! I do adore the way “faction” drags us directly into a well-researched world to show us what might have been on a personal level beyond wars and governments. It’s the people who made the rulers what they were that fascinates me, and Elizabeth was a truly compelling historical figure. This is going to be a fun book…
    I’m heading to add to my TBR stack.

    Reply
  7. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! I do adore the way “faction” drags us directly into a well-researched world to show us what might have been on a personal level beyond wars and governments. It’s the people who made the rulers what they were that fascinates me, and Elizabeth was a truly compelling historical figure. This is going to be a fun book…
    I’m heading to add to my TBR stack.

    Reply
  8. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! I do adore the way “faction” drags us directly into a well-researched world to show us what might have been on a personal level beyond wars and governments. It’s the people who made the rulers what they were that fascinates me, and Elizabeth was a truly compelling historical figure. This is going to be a fun book…
    I’m heading to add to my TBR stack.

    Reply
  9. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! I do adore the way “faction” drags us directly into a well-researched world to show us what might have been on a personal level beyond wars and governments. It’s the people who made the rulers what they were that fascinates me, and Elizabeth was a truly compelling historical figure. This is going to be a fun book…
    I’m heading to add to my TBR stack.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! I do adore the way “faction” drags us directly into a well-researched world to show us what might have been on a personal level beyond wars and governments. It’s the people who made the rulers what they were that fascinates me, and Elizabeth was a truly compelling historical figure. This is going to be a fun book…
    I’m heading to add to my TBR stack.

    Reply
  11. What an absolutely fascinating post! Thank you so much, Karen. Kat sounds an intriguing figure and very much at the heart of the Tudor Court. I love the idea of taking a historical figure like Kat, researching her background and writing her story. Her influence on Elizabeth must indeed have been formative I had no idea of her Boleyn connection. Having just finished the wonderful Wolf Hall, I will be heading straight for The Queen’s Governess!

    Reply
  12. What an absolutely fascinating post! Thank you so much, Karen. Kat sounds an intriguing figure and very much at the heart of the Tudor Court. I love the idea of taking a historical figure like Kat, researching her background and writing her story. Her influence on Elizabeth must indeed have been formative I had no idea of her Boleyn connection. Having just finished the wonderful Wolf Hall, I will be heading straight for The Queen’s Governess!

    Reply
  13. What an absolutely fascinating post! Thank you so much, Karen. Kat sounds an intriguing figure and very much at the heart of the Tudor Court. I love the idea of taking a historical figure like Kat, researching her background and writing her story. Her influence on Elizabeth must indeed have been formative I had no idea of her Boleyn connection. Having just finished the wonderful Wolf Hall, I will be heading straight for The Queen’s Governess!

    Reply
  14. What an absolutely fascinating post! Thank you so much, Karen. Kat sounds an intriguing figure and very much at the heart of the Tudor Court. I love the idea of taking a historical figure like Kat, researching her background and writing her story. Her influence on Elizabeth must indeed have been formative I had no idea of her Boleyn connection. Having just finished the wonderful Wolf Hall, I will be heading straight for The Queen’s Governess!

    Reply
  15. What an absolutely fascinating post! Thank you so much, Karen. Kat sounds an intriguing figure and very much at the heart of the Tudor Court. I love the idea of taking a historical figure like Kat, researching her background and writing her story. Her influence on Elizabeth must indeed have been formative I had no idea of her Boleyn connection. Having just finished the wonderful Wolf Hall, I will be heading straight for The Queen’s Governess!

    Reply
  16. From MJP:
    Karen–has your view of Elizabeth evolved over time as you’ve written about her from different points of view? To me, she’s one of the most fascinating and compelling women in history. And SUCH a good figure to build stories around!

    Reply
  17. From MJP:
    Karen–has your view of Elizabeth evolved over time as you’ve written about her from different points of view? To me, she’s one of the most fascinating and compelling women in history. And SUCH a good figure to build stories around!

    Reply
  18. From MJP:
    Karen–has your view of Elizabeth evolved over time as you’ve written about her from different points of view? To me, she’s one of the most fascinating and compelling women in history. And SUCH a good figure to build stories around!

    Reply
  19. From MJP:
    Karen–has your view of Elizabeth evolved over time as you’ve written about her from different points of view? To me, she’s one of the most fascinating and compelling women in history. And SUCH a good figure to build stories around!

    Reply
  20. From MJP:
    Karen–has your view of Elizabeth evolved over time as you’ve written about her from different points of view? To me, she’s one of the most fascinating and compelling women in history. And SUCH a good figure to build stories around!

    Reply
  21. Karen, how great to see you here at the Wenches again.
    I, too, have always been intrigued by Kat. I think it’s because she was so obviously important to Elizabeth, so anyone who’s studied Elizabeth at all is aware of her, though always in the background.
    Thanks for bringing her to centre stage.
    Jo

    Reply
  22. Karen, how great to see you here at the Wenches again.
    I, too, have always been intrigued by Kat. I think it’s because she was so obviously important to Elizabeth, so anyone who’s studied Elizabeth at all is aware of her, though always in the background.
    Thanks for bringing her to centre stage.
    Jo

    Reply
  23. Karen, how great to see you here at the Wenches again.
    I, too, have always been intrigued by Kat. I think it’s because she was so obviously important to Elizabeth, so anyone who’s studied Elizabeth at all is aware of her, though always in the background.
    Thanks for bringing her to centre stage.
    Jo

    Reply
  24. Karen, how great to see you here at the Wenches again.
    I, too, have always been intrigued by Kat. I think it’s because she was so obviously important to Elizabeth, so anyone who’s studied Elizabeth at all is aware of her, though always in the background.
    Thanks for bringing her to centre stage.
    Jo

    Reply
  25. Karen, how great to see you here at the Wenches again.
    I, too, have always been intrigued by Kat. I think it’s because she was so obviously important to Elizabeth, so anyone who’s studied Elizabeth at all is aware of her, though always in the background.
    Thanks for bringing her to centre stage.
    Jo

    Reply
  26. Karen, thank you for such a fascinating look at an extraordinary woman. I love learning about he people who give life to history, and look forward to learning more about Elizabethan England. It’s an era that I find so interesting, though alas, I just haven’t managed to take the time to delve into it. However, your books are an inpsiation to do it soon!

    Reply
  27. Karen, thank you for such a fascinating look at an extraordinary woman. I love learning about he people who give life to history, and look forward to learning more about Elizabethan England. It’s an era that I find so interesting, though alas, I just haven’t managed to take the time to delve into it. However, your books are an inpsiation to do it soon!

    Reply
  28. Karen, thank you for such a fascinating look at an extraordinary woman. I love learning about he people who give life to history, and look forward to learning more about Elizabethan England. It’s an era that I find so interesting, though alas, I just haven’t managed to take the time to delve into it. However, your books are an inpsiation to do it soon!

    Reply
  29. Karen, thank you for such a fascinating look at an extraordinary woman. I love learning about he people who give life to history, and look forward to learning more about Elizabethan England. It’s an era that I find so interesting, though alas, I just haven’t managed to take the time to delve into it. However, your books are an inpsiation to do it soon!

    Reply
  30. Karen, thank you for such a fascinating look at an extraordinary woman. I love learning about he people who give life to history, and look forward to learning more about Elizabethan England. It’s an era that I find so interesting, though alas, I just haven’t managed to take the time to delve into it. However, your books are an inpsiation to do it soon!

    Reply
  31. Thanks Karen for such great information. I like to learn
    new things about past era’s.
    We will never really know what
    it was actuallly like (until time travel is possible) living back then.

    Reply
  32. Thanks Karen for such great information. I like to learn
    new things about past era’s.
    We will never really know what
    it was actuallly like (until time travel is possible) living back then.

    Reply
  33. Thanks Karen for such great information. I like to learn
    new things about past era’s.
    We will never really know what
    it was actuallly like (until time travel is possible) living back then.

    Reply
  34. Thanks Karen for such great information. I like to learn
    new things about past era’s.
    We will never really know what
    it was actuallly like (until time travel is possible) living back then.

    Reply
  35. Thanks Karen for such great information. I like to learn
    new things about past era’s.
    We will never really know what
    it was actuallly like (until time travel is possible) living back then.

    Reply
  36. I am now really excited about getting and reading this book. I am a big fan of Tudor settings and especially like them when there is a substantial amount of historical detail. Thanks for writing this book, Karen!

    Reply
  37. I am now really excited about getting and reading this book. I am a big fan of Tudor settings and especially like them when there is a substantial amount of historical detail. Thanks for writing this book, Karen!

    Reply
  38. I am now really excited about getting and reading this book. I am a big fan of Tudor settings and especially like them when there is a substantial amount of historical detail. Thanks for writing this book, Karen!

    Reply
  39. I am now really excited about getting and reading this book. I am a big fan of Tudor settings and especially like them when there is a substantial amount of historical detail. Thanks for writing this book, Karen!

    Reply
  40. I am now really excited about getting and reading this book. I am a big fan of Tudor settings and especially like them when there is a substantial amount of historical detail. Thanks for writing this book, Karen!

    Reply
  41. Karen, what a fascinating subject for a book! My introduction to Kat Ashley came when I saw the movie Young Bess as a teenager. Marvelous movie, starring the exquisite Jean Simmons. Mrs. Ashley’s role in Elizabeth’s life was a strong part of the story. (The movie was based on the book of the same title by Margaret Irwin, which I immediately sought out after seeing the movie, and was, of course, more detailed and equally wonderful.) I’m not sure whether my fascination with history–and historical fiction–was stimulated by this movie or a part of it. I’ll read The Queen’s Governess for sure!

    Reply
  42. Karen, what a fascinating subject for a book! My introduction to Kat Ashley came when I saw the movie Young Bess as a teenager. Marvelous movie, starring the exquisite Jean Simmons. Mrs. Ashley’s role in Elizabeth’s life was a strong part of the story. (The movie was based on the book of the same title by Margaret Irwin, which I immediately sought out after seeing the movie, and was, of course, more detailed and equally wonderful.) I’m not sure whether my fascination with history–and historical fiction–was stimulated by this movie or a part of it. I’ll read The Queen’s Governess for sure!

    Reply
  43. Karen, what a fascinating subject for a book! My introduction to Kat Ashley came when I saw the movie Young Bess as a teenager. Marvelous movie, starring the exquisite Jean Simmons. Mrs. Ashley’s role in Elizabeth’s life was a strong part of the story. (The movie was based on the book of the same title by Margaret Irwin, which I immediately sought out after seeing the movie, and was, of course, more detailed and equally wonderful.) I’m not sure whether my fascination with history–and historical fiction–was stimulated by this movie or a part of it. I’ll read The Queen’s Governess for sure!

    Reply
  44. Karen, what a fascinating subject for a book! My introduction to Kat Ashley came when I saw the movie Young Bess as a teenager. Marvelous movie, starring the exquisite Jean Simmons. Mrs. Ashley’s role in Elizabeth’s life was a strong part of the story. (The movie was based on the book of the same title by Margaret Irwin, which I immediately sought out after seeing the movie, and was, of course, more detailed and equally wonderful.) I’m not sure whether my fascination with history–and historical fiction–was stimulated by this movie or a part of it. I’ll read The Queen’s Governess for sure!

    Reply
  45. Karen, what a fascinating subject for a book! My introduction to Kat Ashley came when I saw the movie Young Bess as a teenager. Marvelous movie, starring the exquisite Jean Simmons. Mrs. Ashley’s role in Elizabeth’s life was a strong part of the story. (The movie was based on the book of the same title by Margaret Irwin, which I immediately sought out after seeing the movie, and was, of course, more detailed and equally wonderful.) I’m not sure whether my fascination with history–and historical fiction–was stimulated by this movie or a part of it. I’ll read The Queen’s Governess for sure!

    Reply
  46. Wonderful interview, I really enjoyed it. I love historicals and have always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth – what an amazing woman. The Queen’s Governess sounds like a fascinating look at an important character in Elizabeth’s life. I would love to read it.

    Reply
  47. Wonderful interview, I really enjoyed it. I love historicals and have always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth – what an amazing woman. The Queen’s Governess sounds like a fascinating look at an important character in Elizabeth’s life. I would love to read it.

    Reply
  48. Wonderful interview, I really enjoyed it. I love historicals and have always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth – what an amazing woman. The Queen’s Governess sounds like a fascinating look at an important character in Elizabeth’s life. I would love to read it.

    Reply
  49. Wonderful interview, I really enjoyed it. I love historicals and have always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth – what an amazing woman. The Queen’s Governess sounds like a fascinating look at an important character in Elizabeth’s life. I would love to read it.

    Reply
  50. Wonderful interview, I really enjoyed it. I love historicals and have always been fascinated by Queen Elizabeth – what an amazing woman. The Queen’s Governess sounds like a fascinating look at an important character in Elizabeth’s life. I would love to read it.

    Reply
  51. Thanks for the great comments so far. To answer MJP, I especially like the young Elizabeth: her years leading up to the throne and the first half of her reign. As she came under fear of attack from her Catholic enemies later in her reign, she became more fearful and it changed her personality–not for the better

    Reply
  52. Thanks for the great comments so far. To answer MJP, I especially like the young Elizabeth: her years leading up to the throne and the first half of her reign. As she came under fear of attack from her Catholic enemies later in her reign, she became more fearful and it changed her personality–not for the better

    Reply
  53. Thanks for the great comments so far. To answer MJP, I especially like the young Elizabeth: her years leading up to the throne and the first half of her reign. As she came under fear of attack from her Catholic enemies later in her reign, she became more fearful and it changed her personality–not for the better

    Reply
  54. Thanks for the great comments so far. To answer MJP, I especially like the young Elizabeth: her years leading up to the throne and the first half of her reign. As she came under fear of attack from her Catholic enemies later in her reign, she became more fearful and it changed her personality–not for the better

    Reply
  55. Thanks for the great comments so far. To answer MJP, I especially like the young Elizabeth: her years leading up to the throne and the first half of her reign. As she came under fear of attack from her Catholic enemies later in her reign, she became more fearful and it changed her personality–not for the better

    Reply
  56. From MJP:
    That’s interesting how she changed, Karen, though it makes sense when you explain it. She was only 25 when she came to the throne, after all. So many years of relentless stress and dealing with enemies on all hands would have to take a toll on her.
    But still–what a woman!

    Reply
  57. From MJP:
    That’s interesting how she changed, Karen, though it makes sense when you explain it. She was only 25 when she came to the throne, after all. So many years of relentless stress and dealing with enemies on all hands would have to take a toll on her.
    But still–what a woman!

    Reply
  58. From MJP:
    That’s interesting how she changed, Karen, though it makes sense when you explain it. She was only 25 when she came to the throne, after all. So many years of relentless stress and dealing with enemies on all hands would have to take a toll on her.
    But still–what a woman!

    Reply
  59. From MJP:
    That’s interesting how she changed, Karen, though it makes sense when you explain it. She was only 25 when she came to the throne, after all. So many years of relentless stress and dealing with enemies on all hands would have to take a toll on her.
    But still–what a woman!

    Reply
  60. From MJP:
    That’s interesting how she changed, Karen, though it makes sense when you explain it. She was only 25 when she came to the throne, after all. So many years of relentless stress and dealing with enemies on all hands would have to take a toll on her.
    But still–what a woman!

    Reply
  61. Karen, what a fascinating insight into Kat Ashley. It would have been quite a tightrope she walked at times, being governess to the young princess, and later when her charge had become queen.
    She must have been an extraordinary woman. Thanks for the interview, Karen and Mary Jo.

    Reply
  62. Karen, what a fascinating insight into Kat Ashley. It would have been quite a tightrope she walked at times, being governess to the young princess, and later when her charge had become queen.
    She must have been an extraordinary woman. Thanks for the interview, Karen and Mary Jo.

    Reply
  63. Karen, what a fascinating insight into Kat Ashley. It would have been quite a tightrope she walked at times, being governess to the young princess, and later when her charge had become queen.
    She must have been an extraordinary woman. Thanks for the interview, Karen and Mary Jo.

    Reply
  64. Karen, what a fascinating insight into Kat Ashley. It would have been quite a tightrope she walked at times, being governess to the young princess, and later when her charge had become queen.
    She must have been an extraordinary woman. Thanks for the interview, Karen and Mary Jo.

    Reply
  65. Karen, what a fascinating insight into Kat Ashley. It would have been quite a tightrope she walked at times, being governess to the young princess, and later when her charge had become queen.
    She must have been an extraordinary woman. Thanks for the interview, Karen and Mary Jo.

    Reply
  66. I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of Kat before now. That’s what I love about this blog. It expands our horizons, or sheds new light on an old story. In this case, I knew about Queen Elizabeth, of course, but the “new light” was learning about Kat.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Karen.

    Reply
  67. I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of Kat before now. That’s what I love about this blog. It expands our horizons, or sheds new light on an old story. In this case, I knew about Queen Elizabeth, of course, but the “new light” was learning about Kat.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Karen.

    Reply
  68. I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of Kat before now. That’s what I love about this blog. It expands our horizons, or sheds new light on an old story. In this case, I knew about Queen Elizabeth, of course, but the “new light” was learning about Kat.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Karen.

    Reply
  69. I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of Kat before now. That’s what I love about this blog. It expands our horizons, or sheds new light on an old story. In this case, I knew about Queen Elizabeth, of course, but the “new light” was learning about Kat.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Karen.

    Reply
  70. I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of Kat before now. That’s what I love about this blog. It expands our horizons, or sheds new light on an old story. In this case, I knew about Queen Elizabeth, of course, but the “new light” was learning about Kat.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Karen.

    Reply
  71. Hi–Karen Harper, the author stricken by Tudormania,here again.
    I have a question I hope you readers of historical fiction can weigh in on. It’s about the covers for these books. As you can see by the book covers MJP has posted with my blog, some of my covers are paintings of “entire women” or at least, as in THE LAST BOLEYN, their entire face. THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS is a woman from the lips down to her midriff. I think those early Philippa Gregory books conditioned all of us to expect only part of the heroine on the cover. Which do you prefer or does it matter? Is it the gown or background that matters more to establish the era and the mood? I did like my cover for MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, but that painting was done in the Victorian period–even though it fit the book. Any opinions on covers for historicals? Thanks.

    Reply
  72. Hi–Karen Harper, the author stricken by Tudormania,here again.
    I have a question I hope you readers of historical fiction can weigh in on. It’s about the covers for these books. As you can see by the book covers MJP has posted with my blog, some of my covers are paintings of “entire women” or at least, as in THE LAST BOLEYN, their entire face. THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS is a woman from the lips down to her midriff. I think those early Philippa Gregory books conditioned all of us to expect only part of the heroine on the cover. Which do you prefer or does it matter? Is it the gown or background that matters more to establish the era and the mood? I did like my cover for MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, but that painting was done in the Victorian period–even though it fit the book. Any opinions on covers for historicals? Thanks.

    Reply
  73. Hi–Karen Harper, the author stricken by Tudormania,here again.
    I have a question I hope you readers of historical fiction can weigh in on. It’s about the covers for these books. As you can see by the book covers MJP has posted with my blog, some of my covers are paintings of “entire women” or at least, as in THE LAST BOLEYN, their entire face. THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS is a woman from the lips down to her midriff. I think those early Philippa Gregory books conditioned all of us to expect only part of the heroine on the cover. Which do you prefer or does it matter? Is it the gown or background that matters more to establish the era and the mood? I did like my cover for MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, but that painting was done in the Victorian period–even though it fit the book. Any opinions on covers for historicals? Thanks.

    Reply
  74. Hi–Karen Harper, the author stricken by Tudormania,here again.
    I have a question I hope you readers of historical fiction can weigh in on. It’s about the covers for these books. As you can see by the book covers MJP has posted with my blog, some of my covers are paintings of “entire women” or at least, as in THE LAST BOLEYN, their entire face. THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS is a woman from the lips down to her midriff. I think those early Philippa Gregory books conditioned all of us to expect only part of the heroine on the cover. Which do you prefer or does it matter? Is it the gown or background that matters more to establish the era and the mood? I did like my cover for MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, but that painting was done in the Victorian period–even though it fit the book. Any opinions on covers for historicals? Thanks.

    Reply
  75. Hi–Karen Harper, the author stricken by Tudormania,here again.
    I have a question I hope you readers of historical fiction can weigh in on. It’s about the covers for these books. As you can see by the book covers MJP has posted with my blog, some of my covers are paintings of “entire women” or at least, as in THE LAST BOLEYN, their entire face. THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS is a woman from the lips down to her midriff. I think those early Philippa Gregory books conditioned all of us to expect only part of the heroine on the cover. Which do you prefer or does it matter? Is it the gown or background that matters more to establish the era and the mood? I did like my cover for MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, but that painting was done in the Victorian period–even though it fit the book. Any opinions on covers for historicals? Thanks.

    Reply
  76. For Elizabeth: I’m glad you got to read THE LAST BOLEYN, the story of Anne’s sister Mary. I actually wrote that book over 20 years ago, long before Philippa Gregory wrote THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. Actually, we have quite different takes on the Boleyn family. My editor for my newer Tudor historicals read my early books, THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES (the latter,Plantagenet England) and bought them, repackaged them, renamed them. So I’m thrilled they are having a second life. (BTW, one of the funniest things happened with THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES. An irate woman returned it to a Barnes & Noble, very upset because Princess Diana was not in it at all!!)

    Reply
  77. For Elizabeth: I’m glad you got to read THE LAST BOLEYN, the story of Anne’s sister Mary. I actually wrote that book over 20 years ago, long before Philippa Gregory wrote THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. Actually, we have quite different takes on the Boleyn family. My editor for my newer Tudor historicals read my early books, THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES (the latter,Plantagenet England) and bought them, repackaged them, renamed them. So I’m thrilled they are having a second life. (BTW, one of the funniest things happened with THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES. An irate woman returned it to a Barnes & Noble, very upset because Princess Diana was not in it at all!!)

    Reply
  78. For Elizabeth: I’m glad you got to read THE LAST BOLEYN, the story of Anne’s sister Mary. I actually wrote that book over 20 years ago, long before Philippa Gregory wrote THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. Actually, we have quite different takes on the Boleyn family. My editor for my newer Tudor historicals read my early books, THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES (the latter,Plantagenet England) and bought them, repackaged them, renamed them. So I’m thrilled they are having a second life. (BTW, one of the funniest things happened with THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES. An irate woman returned it to a Barnes & Noble, very upset because Princess Diana was not in it at all!!)

    Reply
  79. For Elizabeth: I’m glad you got to read THE LAST BOLEYN, the story of Anne’s sister Mary. I actually wrote that book over 20 years ago, long before Philippa Gregory wrote THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. Actually, we have quite different takes on the Boleyn family. My editor for my newer Tudor historicals read my early books, THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES (the latter,Plantagenet England) and bought them, repackaged them, renamed them. So I’m thrilled they are having a second life. (BTW, one of the funniest things happened with THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES. An irate woman returned it to a Barnes & Noble, very upset because Princess Diana was not in it at all!!)

    Reply
  80. For Elizabeth: I’m glad you got to read THE LAST BOLEYN, the story of Anne’s sister Mary. I actually wrote that book over 20 years ago, long before Philippa Gregory wrote THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL. Actually, we have quite different takes on the Boleyn family. My editor for my newer Tudor historicals read my early books, THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES (the latter,Plantagenet England) and bought them, repackaged them, renamed them. So I’m thrilled they are having a second life. (BTW, one of the funniest things happened with THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES. An irate woman returned it to a Barnes & Noble, very upset because Princess Diana was not in it at all!!)

    Reply
  81. Wow – this book sounds really interesting. My knowledge of Queen Elizabeth’s early years is sketchy and this seems like a good one to help fill in the missing pieces, without being dry history reading. I’ll have to try it!

    Reply
  82. Wow – this book sounds really interesting. My knowledge of Queen Elizabeth’s early years is sketchy and this seems like a good one to help fill in the missing pieces, without being dry history reading. I’ll have to try it!

    Reply
  83. Wow – this book sounds really interesting. My knowledge of Queen Elizabeth’s early years is sketchy and this seems like a good one to help fill in the missing pieces, without being dry history reading. I’ll have to try it!

    Reply
  84. Wow – this book sounds really interesting. My knowledge of Queen Elizabeth’s early years is sketchy and this seems like a good one to help fill in the missing pieces, without being dry history reading. I’ll have to try it!

    Reply
  85. Wow – this book sounds really interesting. My knowledge of Queen Elizabeth’s early years is sketchy and this seems like a good one to help fill in the missing pieces, without being dry history reading. I’ll have to try it!

    Reply
  86. From MJP:
    Karen–as you know, cover art is one of those endless discussions, especially among authors of historicals! As a former graphic designer, I will say that covers that show only part of a person tend to be more dynamic than those showing a whole body.
    I love the cover of The Queen’s Governess. The costume establishes the time period, the details are lush and evocative, and the story looks dynamic. It isn’t entirely fair to compare it to the cover of The Last Boleyn, which uses a Tudor period image, but the latter is very static by comparison.
    I freely admit to being a sucker for Pre-Raphaelites, but I do love the cover of Mistress Shakespeare. It’s a whole view of the woman, but she’s actively doing something, and the painting is incredibly beautiful and romantic.
    As always, God is in the details…

    Reply
  87. From MJP:
    Karen–as you know, cover art is one of those endless discussions, especially among authors of historicals! As a former graphic designer, I will say that covers that show only part of a person tend to be more dynamic than those showing a whole body.
    I love the cover of The Queen’s Governess. The costume establishes the time period, the details are lush and evocative, and the story looks dynamic. It isn’t entirely fair to compare it to the cover of The Last Boleyn, which uses a Tudor period image, but the latter is very static by comparison.
    I freely admit to being a sucker for Pre-Raphaelites, but I do love the cover of Mistress Shakespeare. It’s a whole view of the woman, but she’s actively doing something, and the painting is incredibly beautiful and romantic.
    As always, God is in the details…

    Reply
  88. From MJP:
    Karen–as you know, cover art is one of those endless discussions, especially among authors of historicals! As a former graphic designer, I will say that covers that show only part of a person tend to be more dynamic than those showing a whole body.
    I love the cover of The Queen’s Governess. The costume establishes the time period, the details are lush and evocative, and the story looks dynamic. It isn’t entirely fair to compare it to the cover of The Last Boleyn, which uses a Tudor period image, but the latter is very static by comparison.
    I freely admit to being a sucker for Pre-Raphaelites, but I do love the cover of Mistress Shakespeare. It’s a whole view of the woman, but she’s actively doing something, and the painting is incredibly beautiful and romantic.
    As always, God is in the details…

    Reply
  89. From MJP:
    Karen–as you know, cover art is one of those endless discussions, especially among authors of historicals! As a former graphic designer, I will say that covers that show only part of a person tend to be more dynamic than those showing a whole body.
    I love the cover of The Queen’s Governess. The costume establishes the time period, the details are lush and evocative, and the story looks dynamic. It isn’t entirely fair to compare it to the cover of The Last Boleyn, which uses a Tudor period image, but the latter is very static by comparison.
    I freely admit to being a sucker for Pre-Raphaelites, but I do love the cover of Mistress Shakespeare. It’s a whole view of the woman, but she’s actively doing something, and the painting is incredibly beautiful and romantic.
    As always, God is in the details…

    Reply
  90. From MJP:
    Karen–as you know, cover art is one of those endless discussions, especially among authors of historicals! As a former graphic designer, I will say that covers that show only part of a person tend to be more dynamic than those showing a whole body.
    I love the cover of The Queen’s Governess. The costume establishes the time period, the details are lush and evocative, and the story looks dynamic. It isn’t entirely fair to compare it to the cover of The Last Boleyn, which uses a Tudor period image, but the latter is very static by comparison.
    I freely admit to being a sucker for Pre-Raphaelites, but I do love the cover of Mistress Shakespeare. It’s a whole view of the woman, but she’s actively doing something, and the painting is incredibly beautiful and romantic.
    As always, God is in the details…

    Reply
  91. The book sounds intriguing. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
    Now you say the titles for the “Last Boleyn” and the “First Princess of Wales” were changed. Are those the old titles or the new ones?
    I love the cover for “Mistress Shakespeare”, I think I prefer the whole painting to a partial…but then some paintings are so wonderful why would you want to see only a small portion?

    Reply
  92. The book sounds intriguing. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
    Now you say the titles for the “Last Boleyn” and the “First Princess of Wales” were changed. Are those the old titles or the new ones?
    I love the cover for “Mistress Shakespeare”, I think I prefer the whole painting to a partial…but then some paintings are so wonderful why would you want to see only a small portion?

    Reply
  93. The book sounds intriguing. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
    Now you say the titles for the “Last Boleyn” and the “First Princess of Wales” were changed. Are those the old titles or the new ones?
    I love the cover for “Mistress Shakespeare”, I think I prefer the whole painting to a partial…but then some paintings are so wonderful why would you want to see only a small portion?

    Reply
  94. The book sounds intriguing. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
    Now you say the titles for the “Last Boleyn” and the “First Princess of Wales” were changed. Are those the old titles or the new ones?
    I love the cover for “Mistress Shakespeare”, I think I prefer the whole painting to a partial…but then some paintings are so wonderful why would you want to see only a small portion?

    Reply
  95. The book sounds intriguing. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
    Now you say the titles for the “Last Boleyn” and the “First Princess of Wales” were changed. Are those the old titles or the new ones?
    I love the cover for “Mistress Shakespeare”, I think I prefer the whole painting to a partial…but then some paintings are so wonderful why would you want to see only a small portion?

    Reply
  96. From author Karen Harper:
    THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES are the new titles. Twenty years ago, the titles were more romancy and I didn’t like them, though the covers were excellent and by the artist Pino. I don’t think he’s painting anymore. Here’s the history on the Mary Boleyn title. I had originally called it THE GOLDEN SNARE. My early publisher, Zebra, retitled it PASSION’S REIGN. The third time’s a charm–THE LAST BOLEYN, because Mary Boleyn outlived her family and managed to have a happy ending. Also, I’ve got to admit that key words like Tudor and Boleyn really attract readers. My original title for THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS was MY LIFE WITH THE TUDORS, but I do like THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS very much.

    Reply
  97. From author Karen Harper:
    THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES are the new titles. Twenty years ago, the titles were more romancy and I didn’t like them, though the covers were excellent and by the artist Pino. I don’t think he’s painting anymore. Here’s the history on the Mary Boleyn title. I had originally called it THE GOLDEN SNARE. My early publisher, Zebra, retitled it PASSION’S REIGN. The third time’s a charm–THE LAST BOLEYN, because Mary Boleyn outlived her family and managed to have a happy ending. Also, I’ve got to admit that key words like Tudor and Boleyn really attract readers. My original title for THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS was MY LIFE WITH THE TUDORS, but I do like THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS very much.

    Reply
  98. From author Karen Harper:
    THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES are the new titles. Twenty years ago, the titles were more romancy and I didn’t like them, though the covers were excellent and by the artist Pino. I don’t think he’s painting anymore. Here’s the history on the Mary Boleyn title. I had originally called it THE GOLDEN SNARE. My early publisher, Zebra, retitled it PASSION’S REIGN. The third time’s a charm–THE LAST BOLEYN, because Mary Boleyn outlived her family and managed to have a happy ending. Also, I’ve got to admit that key words like Tudor and Boleyn really attract readers. My original title for THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS was MY LIFE WITH THE TUDORS, but I do like THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS very much.

    Reply
  99. From author Karen Harper:
    THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES are the new titles. Twenty years ago, the titles were more romancy and I didn’t like them, though the covers were excellent and by the artist Pino. I don’t think he’s painting anymore. Here’s the history on the Mary Boleyn title. I had originally called it THE GOLDEN SNARE. My early publisher, Zebra, retitled it PASSION’S REIGN. The third time’s a charm–THE LAST BOLEYN, because Mary Boleyn outlived her family and managed to have a happy ending. Also, I’ve got to admit that key words like Tudor and Boleyn really attract readers. My original title for THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS was MY LIFE WITH THE TUDORS, but I do like THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS very much.

    Reply
  100. From author Karen Harper:
    THE LAST BOLEYN and THE FIRST PRINCESS OF WALES are the new titles. Twenty years ago, the titles were more romancy and I didn’t like them, though the covers were excellent and by the artist Pino. I don’t think he’s painting anymore. Here’s the history on the Mary Boleyn title. I had originally called it THE GOLDEN SNARE. My early publisher, Zebra, retitled it PASSION’S REIGN. The third time’s a charm–THE LAST BOLEYN, because Mary Boleyn outlived her family and managed to have a happy ending. Also, I’ve got to admit that key words like Tudor and Boleyn really attract readers. My original title for THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS was MY LIFE WITH THE TUDORS, but I do like THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS very much.

    Reply
  101. Karen,
    What an interesting post. I have read your suspense works, but had no idea you wrote historical works also. I am glad I have a whole new list of your books to explore. They all sound wonderfully enjoyable and interesting. I can’t wait to read them.

    Reply
  102. Karen,
    What an interesting post. I have read your suspense works, but had no idea you wrote historical works also. I am glad I have a whole new list of your books to explore. They all sound wonderfully enjoyable and interesting. I can’t wait to read them.

    Reply
  103. Karen,
    What an interesting post. I have read your suspense works, but had no idea you wrote historical works also. I am glad I have a whole new list of your books to explore. They all sound wonderfully enjoyable and interesting. I can’t wait to read them.

    Reply
  104. Karen,
    What an interesting post. I have read your suspense works, but had no idea you wrote historical works also. I am glad I have a whole new list of your books to explore. They all sound wonderfully enjoyable and interesting. I can’t wait to read them.

    Reply
  105. Karen,
    What an interesting post. I have read your suspense works, but had no idea you wrote historical works also. I am glad I have a whole new list of your books to explore. They all sound wonderfully enjoyable and interesting. I can’t wait to read them.

    Reply
  106. Karen, I do admit that I’ve seen some lovely covers featuring only a partial face. I kind of like the mystery of it all by not seeing the whole face.
    Like Mary Jo, I adore the pre-Raphaelites, so the exception would be for those pictures used as covers.
    Regarding Pino–he’s still painting up a storm, though I don’t know if he does book covers anymore. Before I knew who he was, I used to buy books because I loved his covers, then discovered that more often than not, Pino was the artist. Loved his work.

    Reply
  107. Karen, I do admit that I’ve seen some lovely covers featuring only a partial face. I kind of like the mystery of it all by not seeing the whole face.
    Like Mary Jo, I adore the pre-Raphaelites, so the exception would be for those pictures used as covers.
    Regarding Pino–he’s still painting up a storm, though I don’t know if he does book covers anymore. Before I knew who he was, I used to buy books because I loved his covers, then discovered that more often than not, Pino was the artist. Loved his work.

    Reply
  108. Karen, I do admit that I’ve seen some lovely covers featuring only a partial face. I kind of like the mystery of it all by not seeing the whole face.
    Like Mary Jo, I adore the pre-Raphaelites, so the exception would be for those pictures used as covers.
    Regarding Pino–he’s still painting up a storm, though I don’t know if he does book covers anymore. Before I knew who he was, I used to buy books because I loved his covers, then discovered that more often than not, Pino was the artist. Loved his work.

    Reply
  109. Karen, I do admit that I’ve seen some lovely covers featuring only a partial face. I kind of like the mystery of it all by not seeing the whole face.
    Like Mary Jo, I adore the pre-Raphaelites, so the exception would be for those pictures used as covers.
    Regarding Pino–he’s still painting up a storm, though I don’t know if he does book covers anymore. Before I knew who he was, I used to buy books because I loved his covers, then discovered that more often than not, Pino was the artist. Loved his work.

    Reply
  110. Karen, I do admit that I’ve seen some lovely covers featuring only a partial face. I kind of like the mystery of it all by not seeing the whole face.
    Like Mary Jo, I adore the pre-Raphaelites, so the exception would be for those pictures used as covers.
    Regarding Pino–he’s still painting up a storm, though I don’t know if he does book covers anymore. Before I knew who he was, I used to buy books because I loved his covers, then discovered that more often than not, Pino was the artist. Loved his work.

    Reply
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  113. I know I’m too late for the entry but I have to say that I just found this woderful site and will be visiting frequently. I love you all!
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    Cheli’s Shelves

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  114. I know I’m too late for the entry but I have to say that I just found this woderful site and will be visiting frequently. I love you all!
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    Chèli
    Cheli’s Shelves

    Reply
  115. I know I’m too late for the entry but I have to say that I just found this woderful site and will be visiting frequently. I love you all!
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    Cheli’s Shelves

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