Queen Hereafter: A Conversation With Susan Fraser King

Susan Bookmark Hello, Nicola here, and today I am very pleased to share with you a conversation I recently had with Word Wench Susan about her new release, Queen Hereafter, A Novel of Margaret of Scotland. There is nothing that I enjoy more than a good historical novel and as soon as I picked up Queen Hereafter I was hooked. I stopped writing, there were no walks for the dog and no one was fed until I had turned the final page. Not only does Susan create the most vivid setting for the book, making 11th century Scotland come alive for the reader (more on that later) but the love story of Margaret and Malcolm had me riveted from the start.

Here are some of my questions to Susan; I hope that you will have plenty of your own and join in the conversation!

NC: Susan, Queen Hereafter focuses on the life of Margaret of Scotland. What was it that made you want to tell her story? Why did you choose her?

SFK: The contrasts in Margaret’s life were so interesting—piety and power, gentleness and temper, obedience and mischief, saintliness and worldliness, all that was part of her, as I discovered in the research. We know a fair amount about the 11th century, though little about individuals, let alone the women, and yet Margaret emerges as a real person thanks to a rare biography written by her friend and confessor. He idealized her, but left tantalizing hints of a vital, fascinating young woman.

NC: It's interesting that her biographer also fell under Margaret's spell! That says something about her personality, I think, as well as the style of biography at the time. Margaret does indeed come across as a very real and fascinating character but there is also a lovely fairytale element to her story. Tell us a bit about that.

SFK: The fairy tale aspects of her true story are naturally romantic, and that attracted me too. A St Margaret's Hope  beautiful young princess in exile, a shipwreck, love at first sight, a brawny royal husband who adored her, eight healthy children, enough charm to win the affection of a resistant country, yet some inner torment kept her from being truly happy despite all she had – who could resist!

NC: Certainly not me! I loved that combination of history and fairytale romance, and I really enjoyed your blog about the fairytale element of the book here on Word Wenches. (The picture above is the site where Margaret is supposed to have landed in Scotland after the shipwreck). Getting back to the historical aspects, though (you can tell I’m a historian – I’m fascinated by this!) Margaret is a part of history at a critical moment, the period of the Norman Conquest of England. In what ways did the wider political background influence her young life?

SFK: She had a cosmopolitan upbringing between her early years in Hungary, a pious and Byzantine court, and the sophisticated Norman-influenced English court. Her Saxon father brought his family to England when Margaret was about ten, but her father, who would have been king of England, died within days of their arrival. Although a Saxon princess, Margaret was a foreigner in the English court, and when William of Normandy invaded England, she and her mother and siblings fled. She was royal and privileged, raised in a culture of warriors and saints—and she was a refugee in great danger until she and her family came under the wing of Malcolm Canmore of Scotland.

Margaret and Malcolm 16th c Seton Armorial NC: How much is really known about Margaret as a historical figure? You’ve already mentioned that there is a biography of her written by her personal priest, Turgot, but are there other contemporary sources to draw upon? (This picture is from a 16th century armorial book).

SFK: Bishop Turgot created an amazing document in his Vita S. Margaretae, written for Margaret’s daughter—it’s full of anecdotes, insights and verifiable facts. Other primary sources mention her and her family, such as in annals and charters, and information from the monk-chronicler Simeon of Durham. The rest of the picture is provided by historical events and the actions of her husband, Malcolm Canmore, her brother, Edgar the Aetheling, and others. And of course there are lots of historical gaps, and some extrapolating and leaping needs to be done by either a novelist or a historian to create a complete portrayal of Margaret’s life. 

NC: Queen Hereafter isn’t just Margaret’s story, of course. It is also told through the eyes of Eva,Lady Macbeth trade  kinswoman to Gruadh, Lady Macbeth (whose story you have also told). Can you tell us what sort of contrast Eva provides to Margaret and why you chose to narrate this story through these two women in particular?

SFK: Eva came about as a fictional character for two reasons: I wanted to highlight the contrasts and comparisons between Margaret’s more European upbringing and the Celtic nature of Scotland when she became queen – and I had to work around Margaret’s piety. I began writing the book as a first-person narrative by Margaret, but her deep faith and constant prayerfulness were not easy to portray that way. So I switched to third person and created Eva to give another perspective of a queen who, as gentle, kind and devout as she was, sometimes bordered on fanaticism and obsession in her personality. The story needed another viewpoint, so Eva was a good vehicle for that.

NC: Combining a narrative from a real and a fictional character is a very interesting thing to do. What do you think are the pitfalls about writing about real historical figures – and what are the advantages? In what way does writing a fictional account of a historical figure differ from writing non-fiction or biography?

SFK: We’re making stuff up about people who actually lived – essentially, that’s the advantage and the pitfall, all at once. History can be a guideline for novels such as these, giving us some landmarks, but the rest needs to be filled in and invented. As novelists writing about actual historical people, we are writing history from a different perspective. I think there’s a certain responsibility to create an authentic picture with touches of accuracy, while letting imagination have full rein too. Finding nuggets of logic and insight that help to fill in the story is a fascinating challenge too. And while sometimes there are journals and diaries and biographies available, sometimes there is very little to go on, and the author then creates within the parameters of what makes the most sense for that time, those events, those people. How did they get from A to B – well, maybe this way. Maybe they realized this, felt that, did that.

Edinburgh Castle NC: As I mentioned at the start, one of the hallmarks of Queen Hereafter is the fascinating 11th century Scottish background and setting, which you portray so vividly that they are almost another character in the story. How do you set about achieving that?

SFK: Thank you! It’s cumulative, I guess, from years spent studying Scottish history and culture, writing stories about Scotland, travelling there and just loving everything about it. What we love most we absorb in our heads and hearts, and it’s then easy to write – it’s almost second nature for me to write about historical Scotland now, like it’s second nature for you to write your wonderful stories about Regency England!

NC: Now I’m blushing! Thank you! I love that idea that what we love most we absorb in our heads and our hearts. I’m wondering what you find to be the most challenging and the most rewarding elements of writing historical fiction?

SFK: The research is the most challenging—and the most rewarding. I love doing research, I love following historical trails as I’m putting stories together, love solving historical puzzles. For Queen Hereafter and Lady Macbeth as well, I was able to make little historical leaps and insights here and there that were rewarding for me as a historian and as a novelist. But it’s tedious work, and takes up gobs of time to not only research it, but then to “world build” like a fantasy writer does, creating a historical world in which the reader feels comfortable as they move through the story. And you don’t want the research to show, which is tricky to pull off as well. 

NC: And what do you consider to be the qualities that make a good historical novel?

SFK: Personally I love novels that are so beautifully written and crafted that I’m just sucked into the book. I like books that make me toss away that red pencil I carry around in my head. I do enjoy historical novels that are accurate and authentic as well, evoking the whole bubble of the era—setting, atmosphere, true characters and so on. And I love a story that’s accessible. Most importantly, I love a cracking good story. I can easily forgive historical wobbles for a great story.

I'm going to turn the tables now… Nicola, I’d love to know what you, as a British reader, knew about Margaret and Malcolm 2 Margaret and Malcolm and the whole situation when you sat down to read Queen Hereafter. Did you have a basis of knowledge about her, being raised in England with an awareness of British history? Is she considered Scottish or English/Saxon?

NC: I knew very little about Malcolm Canmore although I have always enjoyed reading the history of the Kings and Queens of Scotland. In contrast, I remember reading about Margaret first when I was a child, though whether that was as part of my formal history lessons or purely out of interest, I am not sure now. Certainly I remember her identity being very firmly Scottish in the books that I read about her, which is very interesting now that I see her original background was quite different. To me as a British reader she was very much a Scottish heroine because Scotland has such a strong national identity and Margaret has become firmly associated with that identity.

SFK: And what do you consider the qualities of a good historical novel?

NC: For me, Queen Hereafter has all the hallmarks of the best historical novels – a story that grabs the reader, draws you in and doesn’t let you go; a book that creates a vivid and authentic world that you don’t want to leave. I love research too and I think that the best historical novels are beautifully written and researched but they wear that research lightly so that the reader barely notices that it is there. That is a real skill! 

Queen Hereafter That is the question we would like to ask everyone – What qualities do you enjoy in a good historical novel? Susan is giving away a signed copy of Queen Hereafter (which as you can see has a stunning cover and looks beautiful on the bookcase or teh TBR pile!) to one commenter who posts a comment by Sunday morning (12th December) EST.

There is also the chance to win a very special Wench Prize this month! The Word Wenches will be giving away a fantastic prize on January 1st 2011 – a Word Wenches Library containing a book by each of the Wenches! For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on one or more of our December blog posts. We'll gather the list of names on January 1, 2011 and pick a winner! (If you've already posted in December, you're already entered — comment again for more chances to win!) Good luck to all and Happy Holidays!

120 thoughts on “Queen Hereafter: A Conversation With Susan Fraser King”

  1. Fascinating! Thank you for asking and answering questions I would have liked to ask.
    I am now about to order the book.
    I’m a Nicola Cornick fan so her comments carry weight with me.
    Suzy

    Reply
  2. Fascinating! Thank you for asking and answering questions I would have liked to ask.
    I am now about to order the book.
    I’m a Nicola Cornick fan so her comments carry weight with me.
    Suzy

    Reply
  3. Fascinating! Thank you for asking and answering questions I would have liked to ask.
    I am now about to order the book.
    I’m a Nicola Cornick fan so her comments carry weight with me.
    Suzy

    Reply
  4. Fascinating! Thank you for asking and answering questions I would have liked to ask.
    I am now about to order the book.
    I’m a Nicola Cornick fan so her comments carry weight with me.
    Suzy

    Reply
  5. Fascinating! Thank you for asking and answering questions I would have liked to ask.
    I am now about to order the book.
    I’m a Nicola Cornick fan so her comments carry weight with me.
    Suzy

    Reply
  6. A riveting story with believable characters. A strong manly hero who has a romantic side to him. And a setting that I feel I can step into and get lost in. I love historical novels and find that most of my bookshelf is of that genre.

    Reply
  7. A riveting story with believable characters. A strong manly hero who has a romantic side to him. And a setting that I feel I can step into and get lost in. I love historical novels and find that most of my bookshelf is of that genre.

    Reply
  8. A riveting story with believable characters. A strong manly hero who has a romantic side to him. And a setting that I feel I can step into and get lost in. I love historical novels and find that most of my bookshelf is of that genre.

    Reply
  9. A riveting story with believable characters. A strong manly hero who has a romantic side to him. And a setting that I feel I can step into and get lost in. I love historical novels and find that most of my bookshelf is of that genre.

    Reply
  10. A riveting story with believable characters. A strong manly hero who has a romantic side to him. And a setting that I feel I can step into and get lost in. I love historical novels and find that most of my bookshelf is of that genre.

    Reply
  11. Hi Suzy, and thank you for the compliment. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the discussion that Susan and I had about her book. If you enjoy a riveting historical read then this is definitely the book for you.
    Sherry, that’s a great definition. I don’t think you can get a stronger, more manly hero than Malcolm Canmore!

    Reply
  12. Hi Suzy, and thank you for the compliment. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the discussion that Susan and I had about her book. If you enjoy a riveting historical read then this is definitely the book for you.
    Sherry, that’s a great definition. I don’t think you can get a stronger, more manly hero than Malcolm Canmore!

    Reply
  13. Hi Suzy, and thank you for the compliment. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the discussion that Susan and I had about her book. If you enjoy a riveting historical read then this is definitely the book for you.
    Sherry, that’s a great definition. I don’t think you can get a stronger, more manly hero than Malcolm Canmore!

    Reply
  14. Hi Suzy, and thank you for the compliment. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the discussion that Susan and I had about her book. If you enjoy a riveting historical read then this is definitely the book for you.
    Sherry, that’s a great definition. I don’t think you can get a stronger, more manly hero than Malcolm Canmore!

    Reply
  15. Hi Suzy, and thank you for the compliment. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the discussion that Susan and I had about her book. If you enjoy a riveting historical read then this is definitely the book for you.
    Sherry, that’s a great definition. I don’t think you can get a stronger, more manly hero than Malcolm Canmore!

    Reply
  16. Nicola and I had a lot of fun with our conversation, and I’m so grateful to her for putting together a truly lovely post (oops, I forgot to send extra photos … so she is extra wonderful for finding such beautiful images)! Thank you.
    Suzy and Sherry, thank you both! I love the definition, too. Malcolm had a lot of layers in his character – a tough and canny warlord, yet an adoring husband and a bit of a blundering oaf, given the comments of their contemporaries about Margaret’s polishing up of Malcolm. 😉
    – Susan

    Reply
  17. Nicola and I had a lot of fun with our conversation, and I’m so grateful to her for putting together a truly lovely post (oops, I forgot to send extra photos … so she is extra wonderful for finding such beautiful images)! Thank you.
    Suzy and Sherry, thank you both! I love the definition, too. Malcolm had a lot of layers in his character – a tough and canny warlord, yet an adoring husband and a bit of a blundering oaf, given the comments of their contemporaries about Margaret’s polishing up of Malcolm. 😉
    – Susan

    Reply
  18. Nicola and I had a lot of fun with our conversation, and I’m so grateful to her for putting together a truly lovely post (oops, I forgot to send extra photos … so she is extra wonderful for finding such beautiful images)! Thank you.
    Suzy and Sherry, thank you both! I love the definition, too. Malcolm had a lot of layers in his character – a tough and canny warlord, yet an adoring husband and a bit of a blundering oaf, given the comments of their contemporaries about Margaret’s polishing up of Malcolm. 😉
    – Susan

    Reply
  19. Nicola and I had a lot of fun with our conversation, and I’m so grateful to her for putting together a truly lovely post (oops, I forgot to send extra photos … so she is extra wonderful for finding such beautiful images)! Thank you.
    Suzy and Sherry, thank you both! I love the definition, too. Malcolm had a lot of layers in his character – a tough and canny warlord, yet an adoring husband and a bit of a blundering oaf, given the comments of their contemporaries about Margaret’s polishing up of Malcolm. 😉
    – Susan

    Reply
  20. Nicola and I had a lot of fun with our conversation, and I’m so grateful to her for putting together a truly lovely post (oops, I forgot to send extra photos … so she is extra wonderful for finding such beautiful images)! Thank you.
    Suzy and Sherry, thank you both! I love the definition, too. Malcolm had a lot of layers in his character – a tough and canny warlord, yet an adoring husband and a bit of a blundering oaf, given the comments of their contemporaries about Margaret’s polishing up of Malcolm. 😉
    – Susan

    Reply
  21. I can write a rip roaring historical romance, but the ability to write a richly textured, deeply researched historical novel like QUEEN HEREAFTER still awes me. When I read the book, I could easily imagine that Eva was real, and Susan is her reincarnation. *g*

    Reply
  22. I can write a rip roaring historical romance, but the ability to write a richly textured, deeply researched historical novel like QUEEN HEREAFTER still awes me. When I read the book, I could easily imagine that Eva was real, and Susan is her reincarnation. *g*

    Reply
  23. I can write a rip roaring historical romance, but the ability to write a richly textured, deeply researched historical novel like QUEEN HEREAFTER still awes me. When I read the book, I could easily imagine that Eva was real, and Susan is her reincarnation. *g*

    Reply
  24. I can write a rip roaring historical romance, but the ability to write a richly textured, deeply researched historical novel like QUEEN HEREAFTER still awes me. When I read the book, I could easily imagine that Eva was real, and Susan is her reincarnation. *g*

    Reply
  25. I can write a rip roaring historical romance, but the ability to write a richly textured, deeply researched historical novel like QUEEN HEREAFTER still awes me. When I read the book, I could easily imagine that Eva was real, and Susan is her reincarnation. *g*

    Reply
  26. For me, a good historical novel is one where I feel like I am seeing this time and place brought to life. Also, I have to like the characters and want to know what happens to them next. Congratulations on your new book.

    Reply
  27. For me, a good historical novel is one where I feel like I am seeing this time and place brought to life. Also, I have to like the characters and want to know what happens to them next. Congratulations on your new book.

    Reply
  28. For me, a good historical novel is one where I feel like I am seeing this time and place brought to life. Also, I have to like the characters and want to know what happens to them next. Congratulations on your new book.

    Reply
  29. For me, a good historical novel is one where I feel like I am seeing this time and place brought to life. Also, I have to like the characters and want to know what happens to them next. Congratulations on your new book.

    Reply
  30. For me, a good historical novel is one where I feel like I am seeing this time and place brought to life. Also, I have to like the characters and want to know what happens to them next. Congratulations on your new book.

    Reply
  31. What a fabulous interview! The more I hear about this novel the more I know I HAVE to read it!
    For me, a great historical novel surrounds me as I read. Surrounds me with the characters, the settings, the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of each moment of the story as I turn the page. It draws me into the story, almost as if I am a character in the story myself – seeing it all unfold as I lurk in the corners or at the top of the stairs or peek in at the keyhole. I forget that it is history. I can immerse myself in it and if I happen to look up for a moment I am actually surprised that I’m not in 11th century Scotland or 14th century England. I suddenly realize I’m not freezing in the great hall of a castle or sleeping on the ground with soldiers before a battle. Those are the qualities I look for in a historical novel.

    Reply
  32. What a fabulous interview! The more I hear about this novel the more I know I HAVE to read it!
    For me, a great historical novel surrounds me as I read. Surrounds me with the characters, the settings, the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of each moment of the story as I turn the page. It draws me into the story, almost as if I am a character in the story myself – seeing it all unfold as I lurk in the corners or at the top of the stairs or peek in at the keyhole. I forget that it is history. I can immerse myself in it and if I happen to look up for a moment I am actually surprised that I’m not in 11th century Scotland or 14th century England. I suddenly realize I’m not freezing in the great hall of a castle or sleeping on the ground with soldiers before a battle. Those are the qualities I look for in a historical novel.

    Reply
  33. What a fabulous interview! The more I hear about this novel the more I know I HAVE to read it!
    For me, a great historical novel surrounds me as I read. Surrounds me with the characters, the settings, the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of each moment of the story as I turn the page. It draws me into the story, almost as if I am a character in the story myself – seeing it all unfold as I lurk in the corners or at the top of the stairs or peek in at the keyhole. I forget that it is history. I can immerse myself in it and if I happen to look up for a moment I am actually surprised that I’m not in 11th century Scotland or 14th century England. I suddenly realize I’m not freezing in the great hall of a castle or sleeping on the ground with soldiers before a battle. Those are the qualities I look for in a historical novel.

    Reply
  34. What a fabulous interview! The more I hear about this novel the more I know I HAVE to read it!
    For me, a great historical novel surrounds me as I read. Surrounds me with the characters, the settings, the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of each moment of the story as I turn the page. It draws me into the story, almost as if I am a character in the story myself – seeing it all unfold as I lurk in the corners or at the top of the stairs or peek in at the keyhole. I forget that it is history. I can immerse myself in it and if I happen to look up for a moment I am actually surprised that I’m not in 11th century Scotland or 14th century England. I suddenly realize I’m not freezing in the great hall of a castle or sleeping on the ground with soldiers before a battle. Those are the qualities I look for in a historical novel.

    Reply
  35. What a fabulous interview! The more I hear about this novel the more I know I HAVE to read it!
    For me, a great historical novel surrounds me as I read. Surrounds me with the characters, the settings, the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feel of each moment of the story as I turn the page. It draws me into the story, almost as if I am a character in the story myself – seeing it all unfold as I lurk in the corners or at the top of the stairs or peek in at the keyhole. I forget that it is history. I can immerse myself in it and if I happen to look up for a moment I am actually surprised that I’m not in 11th century Scotland or 14th century England. I suddenly realize I’m not freezing in the great hall of a castle or sleeping on the ground with soldiers before a battle. Those are the qualities I look for in a historical novel.

    Reply
  36. In Historical Fiction, I love the physicality of the past — the ordinary bits of life that are so different.
    Crumpling the kings letter, Gruadh tossed it into the fire basket, where it czught flame, burned bright, vanished.
    little stuff like that.

    Reply
  37. In Historical Fiction, I love the physicality of the past — the ordinary bits of life that are so different.
    Crumpling the kings letter, Gruadh tossed it into the fire basket, where it czught flame, burned bright, vanished.
    little stuff like that.

    Reply
  38. In Historical Fiction, I love the physicality of the past — the ordinary bits of life that are so different.
    Crumpling the kings letter, Gruadh tossed it into the fire basket, where it czught flame, burned bright, vanished.
    little stuff like that.

    Reply
  39. In Historical Fiction, I love the physicality of the past — the ordinary bits of life that are so different.
    Crumpling the kings letter, Gruadh tossed it into the fire basket, where it czught flame, burned bright, vanished.
    little stuff like that.

    Reply
  40. In Historical Fiction, I love the physicality of the past — the ordinary bits of life that are so different.
    Crumpling the kings letter, Gruadh tossed it into the fire basket, where it czught flame, burned bright, vanished.
    little stuff like that.

    Reply
  41. I love historical novels that immerse you in the period and try to stay true to the time and place. But above all, the story needs to be good. A good story can forgive a lot of nitpicking over minor details; a story that’s not well written only manages to emphasize them, totally ruining the experience.

    Reply
  42. I love historical novels that immerse you in the period and try to stay true to the time and place. But above all, the story needs to be good. A good story can forgive a lot of nitpicking over minor details; a story that’s not well written only manages to emphasize them, totally ruining the experience.

    Reply
  43. I love historical novels that immerse you in the period and try to stay true to the time and place. But above all, the story needs to be good. A good story can forgive a lot of nitpicking over minor details; a story that’s not well written only manages to emphasize them, totally ruining the experience.

    Reply
  44. I love historical novels that immerse you in the period and try to stay true to the time and place. But above all, the story needs to be good. A good story can forgive a lot of nitpicking over minor details; a story that’s not well written only manages to emphasize them, totally ruining the experience.

    Reply
  45. I love historical novels that immerse you in the period and try to stay true to the time and place. But above all, the story needs to be good. A good story can forgive a lot of nitpicking over minor details; a story that’s not well written only manages to emphasize them, totally ruining the experience.

    Reply
  46. For me, a good historical novel has to make me care about the heroine. I can’t relate to being royalty but I can relate to those sort of universal feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, hope, joy, etc. A great historical pulls me in so I forget the heroine and I are in different clothes or in different eras — all I want is for her to pull through, succeed, live, love, be strong and happy.
    In this case, I’m especially excited to see a woman I’ve only known from afar as a saint become human. That’s a heroine I’m eager to know!!

    Reply
  47. For me, a good historical novel has to make me care about the heroine. I can’t relate to being royalty but I can relate to those sort of universal feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, hope, joy, etc. A great historical pulls me in so I forget the heroine and I are in different clothes or in different eras — all I want is for her to pull through, succeed, live, love, be strong and happy.
    In this case, I’m especially excited to see a woman I’ve only known from afar as a saint become human. That’s a heroine I’m eager to know!!

    Reply
  48. For me, a good historical novel has to make me care about the heroine. I can’t relate to being royalty but I can relate to those sort of universal feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, hope, joy, etc. A great historical pulls me in so I forget the heroine and I are in different clothes or in different eras — all I want is for her to pull through, succeed, live, love, be strong and happy.
    In this case, I’m especially excited to see a woman I’ve only known from afar as a saint become human. That’s a heroine I’m eager to know!!

    Reply
  49. For me, a good historical novel has to make me care about the heroine. I can’t relate to being royalty but I can relate to those sort of universal feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, hope, joy, etc. A great historical pulls me in so I forget the heroine and I are in different clothes or in different eras — all I want is for her to pull through, succeed, live, love, be strong and happy.
    In this case, I’m especially excited to see a woman I’ve only known from afar as a saint become human. That’s a heroine I’m eager to know!!

    Reply
  50. For me, a good historical novel has to make me care about the heroine. I can’t relate to being royalty but I can relate to those sort of universal feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, hope, joy, etc. A great historical pulls me in so I forget the heroine and I are in different clothes or in different eras — all I want is for her to pull through, succeed, live, love, be strong and happy.
    In this case, I’m especially excited to see a woman I’ve only known from afar as a saint become human. That’s a heroine I’m eager to know!!

    Reply
  51. Aloha! Thanks for an informative interview on a woman who is often overlooked by history.
    I learned about Queen Margaret when hubby and I toured Scotland in 2008. Her son, King David, built Dunfermline Abbey in honor of her. But she is overshadowed by Robert the Bruce who is also buried in the Abbey.

    Reply
  52. Aloha! Thanks for an informative interview on a woman who is often overlooked by history.
    I learned about Queen Margaret when hubby and I toured Scotland in 2008. Her son, King David, built Dunfermline Abbey in honor of her. But she is overshadowed by Robert the Bruce who is also buried in the Abbey.

    Reply
  53. Aloha! Thanks for an informative interview on a woman who is often overlooked by history.
    I learned about Queen Margaret when hubby and I toured Scotland in 2008. Her son, King David, built Dunfermline Abbey in honor of her. But she is overshadowed by Robert the Bruce who is also buried in the Abbey.

    Reply
  54. Aloha! Thanks for an informative interview on a woman who is often overlooked by history.
    I learned about Queen Margaret when hubby and I toured Scotland in 2008. Her son, King David, built Dunfermline Abbey in honor of her. But she is overshadowed by Robert the Bruce who is also buried in the Abbey.

    Reply
  55. Aloha! Thanks for an informative interview on a woman who is often overlooked by history.
    I learned about Queen Margaret when hubby and I toured Scotland in 2008. Her son, King David, built Dunfermline Abbey in honor of her. But she is overshadowed by Robert the Bruce who is also buried in the Abbey.

    Reply
  56. Oh such lovely and thoughtful comments!
    Mary Jo, I would love to be Eva’s reincarnation! I loved pecking away at the harp when I took some lessons while writing this book – oh to be a Celtic harper centuries ago, with a beautiful art to practice, and the respect of everyone, and the freedom to do what stirs the heart most. All that and guys in kilts…not bad!
    Joanna, thank you for pulling a little quote from my Margaret book! I too love writing the little touches – it evokes the historical time much better, often, than broad researched panoramas of Life Back Then.
    Great comments about what works in historical fiction. I love to be immersed in the historical fiction I read, I want to feel that I’m there, not here, and I want to love the characters like my own friends and family – all part of that immersion. Time period almost doesn’t matter – it’s the dynamic part of the reading experience, the story and characters and another time frame come to life when the book pages open.
    Susan

    Reply
  57. Oh such lovely and thoughtful comments!
    Mary Jo, I would love to be Eva’s reincarnation! I loved pecking away at the harp when I took some lessons while writing this book – oh to be a Celtic harper centuries ago, with a beautiful art to practice, and the respect of everyone, and the freedom to do what stirs the heart most. All that and guys in kilts…not bad!
    Joanna, thank you for pulling a little quote from my Margaret book! I too love writing the little touches – it evokes the historical time much better, often, than broad researched panoramas of Life Back Then.
    Great comments about what works in historical fiction. I love to be immersed in the historical fiction I read, I want to feel that I’m there, not here, and I want to love the characters like my own friends and family – all part of that immersion. Time period almost doesn’t matter – it’s the dynamic part of the reading experience, the story and characters and another time frame come to life when the book pages open.
    Susan

    Reply
  58. Oh such lovely and thoughtful comments!
    Mary Jo, I would love to be Eva’s reincarnation! I loved pecking away at the harp when I took some lessons while writing this book – oh to be a Celtic harper centuries ago, with a beautiful art to practice, and the respect of everyone, and the freedom to do what stirs the heart most. All that and guys in kilts…not bad!
    Joanna, thank you for pulling a little quote from my Margaret book! I too love writing the little touches – it evokes the historical time much better, often, than broad researched panoramas of Life Back Then.
    Great comments about what works in historical fiction. I love to be immersed in the historical fiction I read, I want to feel that I’m there, not here, and I want to love the characters like my own friends and family – all part of that immersion. Time period almost doesn’t matter – it’s the dynamic part of the reading experience, the story and characters and another time frame come to life when the book pages open.
    Susan

    Reply
  59. Oh such lovely and thoughtful comments!
    Mary Jo, I would love to be Eva’s reincarnation! I loved pecking away at the harp when I took some lessons while writing this book – oh to be a Celtic harper centuries ago, with a beautiful art to practice, and the respect of everyone, and the freedom to do what stirs the heart most. All that and guys in kilts…not bad!
    Joanna, thank you for pulling a little quote from my Margaret book! I too love writing the little touches – it evokes the historical time much better, often, than broad researched panoramas of Life Back Then.
    Great comments about what works in historical fiction. I love to be immersed in the historical fiction I read, I want to feel that I’m there, not here, and I want to love the characters like my own friends and family – all part of that immersion. Time period almost doesn’t matter – it’s the dynamic part of the reading experience, the story and characters and another time frame come to life when the book pages open.
    Susan

    Reply
  60. Oh such lovely and thoughtful comments!
    Mary Jo, I would love to be Eva’s reincarnation! I loved pecking away at the harp when I took some lessons while writing this book – oh to be a Celtic harper centuries ago, with a beautiful art to practice, and the respect of everyone, and the freedom to do what stirs the heart most. All that and guys in kilts…not bad!
    Joanna, thank you for pulling a little quote from my Margaret book! I too love writing the little touches – it evokes the historical time much better, often, than broad researched panoramas of Life Back Then.
    Great comments about what works in historical fiction. I love to be immersed in the historical fiction I read, I want to feel that I’m there, not here, and I want to love the characters like my own friends and family – all part of that immersion. Time period almost doesn’t matter – it’s the dynamic part of the reading experience, the story and characters and another time frame come to life when the book pages open.
    Susan

    Reply
  61. Thanks for the interview! This looks like a great read. I love historical fiction but haven’t read anything from this time period (yet).

    Reply
  62. Thanks for the interview! This looks like a great read. I love historical fiction but haven’t read anything from this time period (yet).

    Reply
  63. Thanks for the interview! This looks like a great read. I love historical fiction but haven’t read anything from this time period (yet).

    Reply
  64. Thanks for the interview! This looks like a great read. I love historical fiction but haven’t read anything from this time period (yet).

    Reply
  65. Thanks for the interview! This looks like a great read. I love historical fiction but haven’t read anything from this time period (yet).

    Reply
  66. Hello,
    For me a good historical is one that transports me to the era, almost to the point where I can imagine wearing the dresses, but without the background research being too evident. I need to believe and care about the characters and know what they are thinking. The hero needs to be desirable, but not too goody goody perfect and the plot needs to be absorbing. Mx

    Reply
  67. Hello,
    For me a good historical is one that transports me to the era, almost to the point where I can imagine wearing the dresses, but without the background research being too evident. I need to believe and care about the characters and know what they are thinking. The hero needs to be desirable, but not too goody goody perfect and the plot needs to be absorbing. Mx

    Reply
  68. Hello,
    For me a good historical is one that transports me to the era, almost to the point where I can imagine wearing the dresses, but without the background research being too evident. I need to believe and care about the characters and know what they are thinking. The hero needs to be desirable, but not too goody goody perfect and the plot needs to be absorbing. Mx

    Reply
  69. Hello,
    For me a good historical is one that transports me to the era, almost to the point where I can imagine wearing the dresses, but without the background research being too evident. I need to believe and care about the characters and know what they are thinking. The hero needs to be desirable, but not too goody goody perfect and the plot needs to be absorbing. Mx

    Reply
  70. Hello,
    For me a good historical is one that transports me to the era, almost to the point where I can imagine wearing the dresses, but without the background research being too evident. I need to believe and care about the characters and know what they are thinking. The hero needs to be desirable, but not too goody goody perfect and the plot needs to be absorbing. Mx

    Reply
  71. I love historical romance and your book sounds like a great story. I love it when the female is the main character in the story. She is strong and proud and I had not heard of her until now. Have added to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    Reply
  72. I love historical romance and your book sounds like a great story. I love it when the female is the main character in the story. She is strong and proud and I had not heard of her until now. Have added to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    Reply
  73. I love historical romance and your book sounds like a great story. I love it when the female is the main character in the story. She is strong and proud and I had not heard of her until now. Have added to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    Reply
  74. I love historical romance and your book sounds like a great story. I love it when the female is the main character in the story. She is strong and proud and I had not heard of her until now. Have added to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    Reply
  75. I love historical romance and your book sounds like a great story. I love it when the female is the main character in the story. She is strong and proud and I had not heard of her until now. Have added to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

    Reply
  76. I loved Lady MacBeth and look forward to learning about Margaret. I’m glad to hear that there is a Christian character who is positively portrayed. For me, a good historical novel is one that lets you feel you know the character and times. I’m particularly interested in how society and technology affect daily life.

    Reply
  77. I loved Lady MacBeth and look forward to learning about Margaret. I’m glad to hear that there is a Christian character who is positively portrayed. For me, a good historical novel is one that lets you feel you know the character and times. I’m particularly interested in how society and technology affect daily life.

    Reply
  78. I loved Lady MacBeth and look forward to learning about Margaret. I’m glad to hear that there is a Christian character who is positively portrayed. For me, a good historical novel is one that lets you feel you know the character and times. I’m particularly interested in how society and technology affect daily life.

    Reply
  79. I loved Lady MacBeth and look forward to learning about Margaret. I’m glad to hear that there is a Christian character who is positively portrayed. For me, a good historical novel is one that lets you feel you know the character and times. I’m particularly interested in how society and technology affect daily life.

    Reply
  80. I loved Lady MacBeth and look forward to learning about Margaret. I’m glad to hear that there is a Christian character who is positively portrayed. For me, a good historical novel is one that lets you feel you know the character and times. I’m particularly interested in how society and technology affect daily life.

    Reply
  81. A good historical novel is one where I completely forget which century I am living in, and that of course is the ability of the author to transport the reader within the book. I like to be able to smell the flowers and the grasses, and to be able to hear the sounds around me. Sometimes I can feel the fabric the clothes are made from. A good historical novel is one where I have to be dragged back into the 21st century.
    A good historical novel is also one which makes me want to investigate further the characters written about. So far Lady MacBeth hasn’t arrived this far south but I expect it is available in the larger cities of Australia. I have it on my list of ‘to reads’ when I see it, and I expect Margaret’s story will eventually arrive as well. I do look forward to them.

    Reply
  82. A good historical novel is one where I completely forget which century I am living in, and that of course is the ability of the author to transport the reader within the book. I like to be able to smell the flowers and the grasses, and to be able to hear the sounds around me. Sometimes I can feel the fabric the clothes are made from. A good historical novel is one where I have to be dragged back into the 21st century.
    A good historical novel is also one which makes me want to investigate further the characters written about. So far Lady MacBeth hasn’t arrived this far south but I expect it is available in the larger cities of Australia. I have it on my list of ‘to reads’ when I see it, and I expect Margaret’s story will eventually arrive as well. I do look forward to them.

    Reply
  83. A good historical novel is one where I completely forget which century I am living in, and that of course is the ability of the author to transport the reader within the book. I like to be able to smell the flowers and the grasses, and to be able to hear the sounds around me. Sometimes I can feel the fabric the clothes are made from. A good historical novel is one where I have to be dragged back into the 21st century.
    A good historical novel is also one which makes me want to investigate further the characters written about. So far Lady MacBeth hasn’t arrived this far south but I expect it is available in the larger cities of Australia. I have it on my list of ‘to reads’ when I see it, and I expect Margaret’s story will eventually arrive as well. I do look forward to them.

    Reply
  84. A good historical novel is one where I completely forget which century I am living in, and that of course is the ability of the author to transport the reader within the book. I like to be able to smell the flowers and the grasses, and to be able to hear the sounds around me. Sometimes I can feel the fabric the clothes are made from. A good historical novel is one where I have to be dragged back into the 21st century.
    A good historical novel is also one which makes me want to investigate further the characters written about. So far Lady MacBeth hasn’t arrived this far south but I expect it is available in the larger cities of Australia. I have it on my list of ‘to reads’ when I see it, and I expect Margaret’s story will eventually arrive as well. I do look forward to them.

    Reply
  85. A good historical novel is one where I completely forget which century I am living in, and that of course is the ability of the author to transport the reader within the book. I like to be able to smell the flowers and the grasses, and to be able to hear the sounds around me. Sometimes I can feel the fabric the clothes are made from. A good historical novel is one where I have to be dragged back into the 21st century.
    A good historical novel is also one which makes me want to investigate further the characters written about. So far Lady MacBeth hasn’t arrived this far south but I expect it is available in the larger cities of Australia. I have it on my list of ‘to reads’ when I see it, and I expect Margaret’s story will eventually arrive as well. I do look forward to them.

    Reply
  86. Chiming in late here, but what a fascinating conversation, Susan and Nicola! And what a fascinating person. I find Scotland a very alluring country, but know little about its history besides the “usual suspects.” So this was SO interesting. Am looking forward to learning more about Margaret and her times—it sounds like a truly captivting story

    Reply
  87. Chiming in late here, but what a fascinating conversation, Susan and Nicola! And what a fascinating person. I find Scotland a very alluring country, but know little about its history besides the “usual suspects.” So this was SO interesting. Am looking forward to learning more about Margaret and her times—it sounds like a truly captivting story

    Reply
  88. Chiming in late here, but what a fascinating conversation, Susan and Nicola! And what a fascinating person. I find Scotland a very alluring country, but know little about its history besides the “usual suspects.” So this was SO interesting. Am looking forward to learning more about Margaret and her times—it sounds like a truly captivting story

    Reply
  89. Chiming in late here, but what a fascinating conversation, Susan and Nicola! And what a fascinating person. I find Scotland a very alluring country, but know little about its history besides the “usual suspects.” So this was SO interesting. Am looking forward to learning more about Margaret and her times—it sounds like a truly captivting story

    Reply
  90. Chiming in late here, but what a fascinating conversation, Susan and Nicola! And what a fascinating person. I find Scotland a very alluring country, but know little about its history besides the “usual suspects.” So this was SO interesting. Am looking forward to learning more about Margaret and her times—it sounds like a truly captivting story

    Reply
  91. I have not read the book yet but after reading this interview I will be heading out to Barnes & Noble (or maybe waiting a bit to see if I get B & N gift cards for Christmas?).
    I want to ask SFK, I have been to Edinburgh castle, isn’t there a “Margaret’s Chapel” attached? I think it was Queen Margarets’ Chapel but it has been 15 years since I was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t start reading Dorothy Dunnett until Jo Beverley recommended her in (in a dedication?) in the late 1990’s – so I knew very little of Scotlands’ history while I was there.
    I look forward to reading about Margaret and Malcom.

    Reply
  92. I have not read the book yet but after reading this interview I will be heading out to Barnes & Noble (or maybe waiting a bit to see if I get B & N gift cards for Christmas?).
    I want to ask SFK, I have been to Edinburgh castle, isn’t there a “Margaret’s Chapel” attached? I think it was Queen Margarets’ Chapel but it has been 15 years since I was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t start reading Dorothy Dunnett until Jo Beverley recommended her in (in a dedication?) in the late 1990’s – so I knew very little of Scotlands’ history while I was there.
    I look forward to reading about Margaret and Malcom.

    Reply
  93. I have not read the book yet but after reading this interview I will be heading out to Barnes & Noble (or maybe waiting a bit to see if I get B & N gift cards for Christmas?).
    I want to ask SFK, I have been to Edinburgh castle, isn’t there a “Margaret’s Chapel” attached? I think it was Queen Margarets’ Chapel but it has been 15 years since I was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t start reading Dorothy Dunnett until Jo Beverley recommended her in (in a dedication?) in the late 1990’s – so I knew very little of Scotlands’ history while I was there.
    I look forward to reading about Margaret and Malcom.

    Reply
  94. I have not read the book yet but after reading this interview I will be heading out to Barnes & Noble (or maybe waiting a bit to see if I get B & N gift cards for Christmas?).
    I want to ask SFK, I have been to Edinburgh castle, isn’t there a “Margaret’s Chapel” attached? I think it was Queen Margarets’ Chapel but it has been 15 years since I was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t start reading Dorothy Dunnett until Jo Beverley recommended her in (in a dedication?) in the late 1990’s – so I knew very little of Scotlands’ history while I was there.
    I look forward to reading about Margaret and Malcom.

    Reply
  95. I have not read the book yet but after reading this interview I will be heading out to Barnes & Noble (or maybe waiting a bit to see if I get B & N gift cards for Christmas?).
    I want to ask SFK, I have been to Edinburgh castle, isn’t there a “Margaret’s Chapel” attached? I think it was Queen Margarets’ Chapel but it has been 15 years since I was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t start reading Dorothy Dunnett until Jo Beverley recommended her in (in a dedication?) in the late 1990’s – so I knew very little of Scotlands’ history while I was there.
    I look forward to reading about Margaret and Malcom.

    Reply
  96. St. Margaret’s Chapel is located inside the walls of Edinburgh Castle, and is the oldest surviving building on site. It was constructed by order of one of Margaret’s sons, King David, possibly to replace an earlier chapel used by his mother.
    On Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Margaret%27s_Chapel
    It’s a small, simple, beautiful and incredibly peaceful little chapel, and it’s easy to imagine Margaret finding some solace there. For the novel, I went with the theory that there was a wooden chapel on that spot within the walls of the original wooden fortress at Dun Edin or Edinburgh.
    Ah, Dorothy Dunnett, the queen of Scottish historical fiction! I wonder what she might have done with Margaret if she’d written about her. Nigel Tranter (the king of Scottish historical fiction!) wrote about her in his Margaret the Queen, and he made her fascinating and complex, which is just what she was. For my version of Margaret, I wanted to mix it up a little, step back from that perfect, virtuous queen, and so I introduced other story threads.
    I hope you all enjoy my take on Margaret if you find time to read it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  97. St. Margaret’s Chapel is located inside the walls of Edinburgh Castle, and is the oldest surviving building on site. It was constructed by order of one of Margaret’s sons, King David, possibly to replace an earlier chapel used by his mother.
    On Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Margaret%27s_Chapel
    It’s a small, simple, beautiful and incredibly peaceful little chapel, and it’s easy to imagine Margaret finding some solace there. For the novel, I went with the theory that there was a wooden chapel on that spot within the walls of the original wooden fortress at Dun Edin or Edinburgh.
    Ah, Dorothy Dunnett, the queen of Scottish historical fiction! I wonder what she might have done with Margaret if she’d written about her. Nigel Tranter (the king of Scottish historical fiction!) wrote about her in his Margaret the Queen, and he made her fascinating and complex, which is just what she was. For my version of Margaret, I wanted to mix it up a little, step back from that perfect, virtuous queen, and so I introduced other story threads.
    I hope you all enjoy my take on Margaret if you find time to read it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  98. St. Margaret’s Chapel is located inside the walls of Edinburgh Castle, and is the oldest surviving building on site. It was constructed by order of one of Margaret’s sons, King David, possibly to replace an earlier chapel used by his mother.
    On Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Margaret%27s_Chapel
    It’s a small, simple, beautiful and incredibly peaceful little chapel, and it’s easy to imagine Margaret finding some solace there. For the novel, I went with the theory that there was a wooden chapel on that spot within the walls of the original wooden fortress at Dun Edin or Edinburgh.
    Ah, Dorothy Dunnett, the queen of Scottish historical fiction! I wonder what she might have done with Margaret if she’d written about her. Nigel Tranter (the king of Scottish historical fiction!) wrote about her in his Margaret the Queen, and he made her fascinating and complex, which is just what she was. For my version of Margaret, I wanted to mix it up a little, step back from that perfect, virtuous queen, and so I introduced other story threads.
    I hope you all enjoy my take on Margaret if you find time to read it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  99. St. Margaret’s Chapel is located inside the walls of Edinburgh Castle, and is the oldest surviving building on site. It was constructed by order of one of Margaret’s sons, King David, possibly to replace an earlier chapel used by his mother.
    On Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Margaret%27s_Chapel
    It’s a small, simple, beautiful and incredibly peaceful little chapel, and it’s easy to imagine Margaret finding some solace there. For the novel, I went with the theory that there was a wooden chapel on that spot within the walls of the original wooden fortress at Dun Edin or Edinburgh.
    Ah, Dorothy Dunnett, the queen of Scottish historical fiction! I wonder what she might have done with Margaret if she’d written about her. Nigel Tranter (the king of Scottish historical fiction!) wrote about her in his Margaret the Queen, and he made her fascinating and complex, which is just what she was. For my version of Margaret, I wanted to mix it up a little, step back from that perfect, virtuous queen, and so I introduced other story threads.
    I hope you all enjoy my take on Margaret if you find time to read it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  100. St. Margaret’s Chapel is located inside the walls of Edinburgh Castle, and is the oldest surviving building on site. It was constructed by order of one of Margaret’s sons, King David, possibly to replace an earlier chapel used by his mother.
    On Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Margaret%27s_Chapel
    It’s a small, simple, beautiful and incredibly peaceful little chapel, and it’s easy to imagine Margaret finding some solace there. For the novel, I went with the theory that there was a wooden chapel on that spot within the walls of the original wooden fortress at Dun Edin or Edinburgh.
    Ah, Dorothy Dunnett, the queen of Scottish historical fiction! I wonder what she might have done with Margaret if she’d written about her. Nigel Tranter (the king of Scottish historical fiction!) wrote about her in his Margaret the Queen, and he made her fascinating and complex, which is just what she was. For my version of Margaret, I wanted to mix it up a little, step back from that perfect, virtuous queen, and so I introduced other story threads.
    I hope you all enjoy my take on Margaret if you find time to read it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  101. What a great interview! I’m super excited to pick up Queen Hereafter. It’s on my to-read list, but I think it just got bumped to the very top. I just absolutely love getting lost in the details of a great historical fiction story. I’ve been a history buff since I was a kid, and I just can’t get enough it seems! 🙂

    Reply
  102. What a great interview! I’m super excited to pick up Queen Hereafter. It’s on my to-read list, but I think it just got bumped to the very top. I just absolutely love getting lost in the details of a great historical fiction story. I’ve been a history buff since I was a kid, and I just can’t get enough it seems! 🙂

    Reply
  103. What a great interview! I’m super excited to pick up Queen Hereafter. It’s on my to-read list, but I think it just got bumped to the very top. I just absolutely love getting lost in the details of a great historical fiction story. I’ve been a history buff since I was a kid, and I just can’t get enough it seems! 🙂

    Reply
  104. What a great interview! I’m super excited to pick up Queen Hereafter. It’s on my to-read list, but I think it just got bumped to the very top. I just absolutely love getting lost in the details of a great historical fiction story. I’ve been a history buff since I was a kid, and I just can’t get enough it seems! 🙂

    Reply
  105. What a great interview! I’m super excited to pick up Queen Hereafter. It’s on my to-read list, but I think it just got bumped to the very top. I just absolutely love getting lost in the details of a great historical fiction story. I’ve been a history buff since I was a kid, and I just can’t get enough it seems! 🙂

    Reply

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