The King’s Favorite: The Interview, Part One

An Interview with Wench Susan Holloway Scott by Wench Loretta Chase

It’s nearly July, which means the arrival of a wonderful new Susan Holloway Scott historical novel, and a chance for me to turn the tables and interview her, starting today and continuing on Monday with Part II.Kingsfavorite

Susan’s July book The King’s Favorite, like its predecessor, Royal Harlot, takes us to Restoration England.  Once again, Susan plunges us into the thick of things in the second half of the 17th century, bringing to life its enigmatic king, his Court, and his people.  For more about the era, you might want to look at the interview for Royal Harlot, where Susan gives us the lowdown on the Restoration, King Charles II, and his Court.
    This time, however, we see Restoration London from a very different perspective–because the heroine, Nell Gwyn, comes from another world entirely.  Though completely unlike Barbara Villiers Palmer, Lady Castlemaine, the heroine of Royal Harlot, Nell, too, had a place in the capricious king’s heart, and was part of his life for a long time.
    To read an excerpt from The King’s Favorite, please visit Susan’s web site.  And not only does Susan have a brand-new page on Facebook, but so does Nell Gwyn herself.  Stop by and become a friend to both of them.

    Also: Susan will be giving away an autographed copy of The King’s Favorite to a reader who posts a comment or question to this interview, so please post away!

Loretta: Susan, would you bring Nell on stage for us and tell us a little about her world: the London sheGwyn_2 grew up in and the way she grew up in it?

Susan: Nell Gwyn (one of her portraits is to the right) is a considerable departure from any other heroine I’ve ever written.  Born around 1650, at the very end of the English Civil War, her circumstances were sadly all too common at the time: soon after Nell’s birth, her Royalist father was killed in battle, and her widowed mother drifted into prostitution in London to support her two young daughters.  Her childhood was as grim as anything in Dickens.  Raised in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, she lived in lodgings over a brothel, where her now-alcoholic mother brought her male customers. There was never enough to eat, let alone clothing, and as a very young child barefoot Nell was soon working to earn what she could, first sweeping cinders in the street (a real-life Cinderella), then selling herring from a basket.  It was a considerable step up for her when, around age ten, she began serving ale and singing songs in the bawdy-house where her mother and older sister worked.  She was tiny for her age (and remained so throughout her short life, likely from malnutrition), yet astonishingly beautiful, and blessed with both a sunny, light-hearted personality and a very quick, saucy wit –– and a fierce determination to rise in the world. 

Charles_with_hat_2 She couldn’t have chosen a better time in which to be a young person, poor or rich, in London.  In 1660, Englishmen decided that they’d had enough of grim Puritan rule, and welcomed back the monarchy and Charles Stuart from exile.  London after his Restoration was a delightful place to be, once again full of music, dancing, and frivolous fun.  To a girl like Nell, the handsome young king must have seemed like a fairy-tale ruler come to life, especially with his habit of wandering freely among his people.  Like most every woman in the realm, Nell dreamed of Charles, but unlike most of them, in time she managed to make her romantic dreams a reality

Loretta: You make Nell so real that it’s hard to believe you had so little to work with in realizing her character.  She was illiterate.  She never wrote letters or journals or memoirs.  You had only scraps to work with in creating a woman who is the most famous of the king’s many mistresses and who must have had a considerable comic gift.  But as you’ve mentioned previously, comedy is hard, and recapturing it –– from mere wisps of information –– seems nigh impossible.  What among the scraps of information provided the keys to unlocking her character and what it was that people found so captivating?

Susan: In some ways, there was too little, and in others, too much.  There is almost nothing remaining in Nell’s own voice, and yet because she was such a popular, public figure in her time and afterwards, there are a great many stories and anecdotes about her.  The trick was sifting through all this to decide what sounded true and right, and what clanged false.  I also tried to place her in the context of her world –– or rather, the better-documented version of her world as described by contemporaries like the famousNell_wcloak_2 diarist Samuel Pepys –– and create a character that was both true to her time, and to historical fact.

I think the greatest single key to Nell’s personality was her constant need to be the center of attention, which, given her wretched childhood, was understandable.  Seventeenth-century ladies were expected to languish gracefully.  They weren’t supposed to be as witty as the gentlemen, or to enjoy outrageous pranks and pratfalls.  Nell did: but then Nell was not a lady (another portrait of her, looking solemnly lady-like, is to the right). Laughter can be a very potent weapon, and early on Nell learned that being both uproariously funny and very pretty could be an unbeatable combination for attracting –– and holding –– men.  She was an excellent mimic, combined with a gift for biting satire and word-play that entertained even the most jaded courtiers. Humor can also be an excellent way to hide insecurities and doubts, which, I imagine, plagued the barefoot girl from Coal Yard Alley as she scampered among the peers at the palace.

Loretta: Nell became an actress, a highly popular one.  Would you tell us something about the theater of her time and her distinctive place there?

Susan: The rollicking English theater of Shakespeare’s time had been one of the first things banned by Cromwell’s Puritans, and one of the first that Charles restored.  But he also introduced an innovation Patent from the French theater: the women’s roles were no longer played by men and boys, but by women. (That’s the original patent for the King’s Company, granted by Charles and featuring his portrait.) Overnight there was a demand for actresses, yet it was a rare woman who had the required beauty, talent, and sheer fortitude to withstand the raucous audience interaction that characterized 17th century English theater, particularly the bawdy comic roles.  Most of the new actresses were at least middle-class and literate.  Only Nell made the considerable leap from selling oranges in the pit to leading roles on the stage, but it was a gamble that paid off handsomely for the playhouse’s owners.  Nell was a born comedienne, and while still in her teens she became such a draw that playwrights like John Dryden were writing specific roles for her.  Her presence could make a play a success. She was recognized in the street by her fans, famous artists painted her portrait, and prints of her picture were sold by the score.

Loretta: King Charles had a number of lower-class lovers.  He frequented brothels.  He slept with actresses.  What was it about Nell that made her more than a one-night stand, that raised her to the level of The King’s Favorite?

Susan: While Nell truly believed she was fated to love the king, she was also wise enough not to tumble into his bed at once.  She was already a success in her own right; she could afford to withstand his considerable royal charm.  For a woman who cheerfully called herself a whore all her life, Nell was notOlder_charles promiscuous, especially not for the wanton times in which she lived.  Only four men can be documented as having shared her bed (though many others claimed to have done so), and none of those four were chosen on impulse.

The king was no exception. Nell became Charles’s friend long before she was his lover, and remained his friend until his death.  Charles expected his friends to entertain him; he was a clever, restless man, easily bored and with little patience for tedious company.  Nell’s audacity, humor, and boundless energy captivated him, and they both enjoyed decidedly un-royal pastimes like swimming, fishing, and long walks in the country (though just like many modern city-dwellers who don’t have driver’s licenses, Nell was terrified of riding horses, one of Charles’s great country passions.) While unlike his other mistresses, Nell seldom meddled in politics, she did often say things to him that were so outrageously frank that she would surely have been banished from Court if she’d been a man. Her mimicry and sarcasm could be so sharp that it might have been viewed as subversive, especially coming from a common-born woman. But Charles delighted in her honesty, especially when it was worded to make him laugh, and in many ways, Nell was his perfect match.

To be continued . . . .
Please join us Monday for the second part of this interview, and more about Nell and the extraordinary world in which she lived and loved.

And do please comment:  It’s your chance to win a signed copy of THE KING’S FAVORITE!

135 thoughts on “The King’s Favorite: The Interview, Part One”

  1. Love the interview. I can’t wait to read The Kings Favorite.
    Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?

    Reply
  2. Love the interview. I can’t wait to read The Kings Favorite.
    Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?

    Reply
  3. Love the interview. I can’t wait to read The Kings Favorite.
    Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?

    Reply
  4. Love the interview. I can’t wait to read The Kings Favorite.
    Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?

    Reply
  5. Love the interview. I can’t wait to read The Kings Favorite.
    Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?

    Reply
  6. I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite! The Restoration era seems so incredibly lively, with the eruption of art and science. What do you think the biggest change to society was?

    Reply
  7. I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite! The Restoration era seems so incredibly lively, with the eruption of art and science. What do you think the biggest change to society was?

    Reply
  8. I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite! The Restoration era seems so incredibly lively, with the eruption of art and science. What do you think the biggest change to society was?

    Reply
  9. I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite! The Restoration era seems so incredibly lively, with the eruption of art and science. What do you think the biggest change to society was?

    Reply
  10. I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite! The Restoration era seems so incredibly lively, with the eruption of art and science. What do you think the biggest change to society was?

    Reply
  11. What a great interview! I really know very little of Nell but you brought her to life in just a few short paragraphs and she sounds like she was a wonderful character.
    I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like. A woman who took her circumstances and turned them to her favor, coming out on top. For an uneducated, illiterate, lower-class woman, that’s pretty outstanding!

    Reply
  12. What a great interview! I really know very little of Nell but you brought her to life in just a few short paragraphs and she sounds like she was a wonderful character.
    I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like. A woman who took her circumstances and turned them to her favor, coming out on top. For an uneducated, illiterate, lower-class woman, that’s pretty outstanding!

    Reply
  13. What a great interview! I really know very little of Nell but you brought her to life in just a few short paragraphs and she sounds like she was a wonderful character.
    I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like. A woman who took her circumstances and turned them to her favor, coming out on top. For an uneducated, illiterate, lower-class woman, that’s pretty outstanding!

    Reply
  14. What a great interview! I really know very little of Nell but you brought her to life in just a few short paragraphs and she sounds like she was a wonderful character.
    I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like. A woman who took her circumstances and turned them to her favor, coming out on top. For an uneducated, illiterate, lower-class woman, that’s pretty outstanding!

    Reply
  15. What a great interview! I really know very little of Nell but you brought her to life in just a few short paragraphs and she sounds like she was a wonderful character.
    I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like. A woman who took her circumstances and turned them to her favor, coming out on top. For an uneducated, illiterate, lower-class woman, that’s pretty outstanding!

    Reply
  16. Susan replying here:
    Kimmy L wrote: “Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?”
    For better or worse, I’m very much a fly-by-night writer. I know my first scene, and my last, and everything else in between just kind of evolves. I’ve always been more interested in character rather than plot, and one of the things I enjoy most about writing historical fiction is that the plot already exists, in the form of history. I have to work within that framework, setting up my characters and conflicts around things that actually happened. If a particular conversation or remark was of such significance that it was copied down by a diarist like Samuel Pepys (which, when kings are doing the talking, is often the case), then I tried to incorporate those actual words into the dialogue as well.
    So I guess in a way, my answer to your question isn’t either-or, but yes to both: I follow the plot that history provides, but my characters are the ones leading me. And in the case of Nell, that was sometimes quite a merry chase!

    Reply
  17. Susan replying here:
    Kimmy L wrote: “Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?”
    For better or worse, I’m very much a fly-by-night writer. I know my first scene, and my last, and everything else in between just kind of evolves. I’ve always been more interested in character rather than plot, and one of the things I enjoy most about writing historical fiction is that the plot already exists, in the form of history. I have to work within that framework, setting up my characters and conflicts around things that actually happened. If a particular conversation or remark was of such significance that it was copied down by a diarist like Samuel Pepys (which, when kings are doing the talking, is often the case), then I tried to incorporate those actual words into the dialogue as well.
    So I guess in a way, my answer to your question isn’t either-or, but yes to both: I follow the plot that history provides, but my characters are the ones leading me. And in the case of Nell, that was sometimes quite a merry chase!

    Reply
  18. Susan replying here:
    Kimmy L wrote: “Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?”
    For better or worse, I’m very much a fly-by-night writer. I know my first scene, and my last, and everything else in between just kind of evolves. I’ve always been more interested in character rather than plot, and one of the things I enjoy most about writing historical fiction is that the plot already exists, in the form of history. I have to work within that framework, setting up my characters and conflicts around things that actually happened. If a particular conversation or remark was of such significance that it was copied down by a diarist like Samuel Pepys (which, when kings are doing the talking, is often the case), then I tried to incorporate those actual words into the dialogue as well.
    So I guess in a way, my answer to your question isn’t either-or, but yes to both: I follow the plot that history provides, but my characters are the ones leading me. And in the case of Nell, that was sometimes quite a merry chase!

    Reply
  19. Susan replying here:
    Kimmy L wrote: “Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?”
    For better or worse, I’m very much a fly-by-night writer. I know my first scene, and my last, and everything else in between just kind of evolves. I’ve always been more interested in character rather than plot, and one of the things I enjoy most about writing historical fiction is that the plot already exists, in the form of history. I have to work within that framework, setting up my characters and conflicts around things that actually happened. If a particular conversation or remark was of such significance that it was copied down by a diarist like Samuel Pepys (which, when kings are doing the talking, is often the case), then I tried to incorporate those actual words into the dialogue as well.
    So I guess in a way, my answer to your question isn’t either-or, but yes to both: I follow the plot that history provides, but my characters are the ones leading me. And in the case of Nell, that was sometimes quite a merry chase!

    Reply
  20. Susan replying here:
    Kimmy L wrote: “Do you plot out your stories first or do you let the characters lead you?”
    For better or worse, I’m very much a fly-by-night writer. I know my first scene, and my last, and everything else in between just kind of evolves. I’ve always been more interested in character rather than plot, and one of the things I enjoy most about writing historical fiction is that the plot already exists, in the form of history. I have to work within that framework, setting up my characters and conflicts around things that actually happened. If a particular conversation or remark was of such significance that it was copied down by a diarist like Samuel Pepys (which, when kings are doing the talking, is often the case), then I tried to incorporate those actual words into the dialogue as well.
    So I guess in a way, my answer to your question isn’t either-or, but yes to both: I follow the plot that history provides, but my characters are the ones leading me. And in the case of Nell, that was sometimes quite a merry chase!

    Reply
  21. Susan replies:
    Thanks to all for the comments on the interview! Loretta and I always have fun interviewing each other; we’re definitely on the same wave-length (whatever frequency that may be. *g*)
    Maggie wrote: “I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite!”
    Ahh, then you will be in the right frame of mind for more! It’s fascinating to read about the same historical figures as “fictionalized” by different authors; everybody sees the past through their own particular glasses. In addition to Karleen Koen, Diane Haegar also recently wrote a Restoration book, and of course there are the oldies-but-goodies by Jean Plaidy and Kathleen Windsor, and I can pretty much guarantee that all of us will have written different versions of the people at Charles’s court. As I heard one reader say when asked why she kept reading books about Anne Boleyn, “It’s like hearing about a party the next day from all the different people who were there.”
    Theo wrote: “I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like to me.”
    That’s what Nell sounded like to me, too, Theo, and why I wanted to write about her. Most novelists only concentrate on her story after she has become the king’s mistress, but I thought her earlier life was just as interesting. The choices and decisions she faced (especially at such a young age) weren’t always easy to write, but I felt they were important to show just how strong and unusual a woman she was. That she was able to maintain her joyful optimism and sense of humor no matter what obstacles she faced is also rare, and was an aspect of her character that I tried hard to capture.

    Reply
  22. Susan replies:
    Thanks to all for the comments on the interview! Loretta and I always have fun interviewing each other; we’re definitely on the same wave-length (whatever frequency that may be. *g*)
    Maggie wrote: “I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite!”
    Ahh, then you will be in the right frame of mind for more! It’s fascinating to read about the same historical figures as “fictionalized” by different authors; everybody sees the past through their own particular glasses. In addition to Karleen Koen, Diane Haegar also recently wrote a Restoration book, and of course there are the oldies-but-goodies by Jean Plaidy and Kathleen Windsor, and I can pretty much guarantee that all of us will have written different versions of the people at Charles’s court. As I heard one reader say when asked why she kept reading books about Anne Boleyn, “It’s like hearing about a party the next day from all the different people who were there.”
    Theo wrote: “I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like to me.”
    That’s what Nell sounded like to me, too, Theo, and why I wanted to write about her. Most novelists only concentrate on her story after she has become the king’s mistress, but I thought her earlier life was just as interesting. The choices and decisions she faced (especially at such a young age) weren’t always easy to write, but I felt they were important to show just how strong and unusual a woman she was. That she was able to maintain her joyful optimism and sense of humor no matter what obstacles she faced is also rare, and was an aspect of her character that I tried hard to capture.

    Reply
  23. Susan replies:
    Thanks to all for the comments on the interview! Loretta and I always have fun interviewing each other; we’re definitely on the same wave-length (whatever frequency that may be. *g*)
    Maggie wrote: “I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite!”
    Ahh, then you will be in the right frame of mind for more! It’s fascinating to read about the same historical figures as “fictionalized” by different authors; everybody sees the past through their own particular glasses. In addition to Karleen Koen, Diane Haegar also recently wrote a Restoration book, and of course there are the oldies-but-goodies by Jean Plaidy and Kathleen Windsor, and I can pretty much guarantee that all of us will have written different versions of the people at Charles’s court. As I heard one reader say when asked why she kept reading books about Anne Boleyn, “It’s like hearing about a party the next day from all the different people who were there.”
    Theo wrote: “I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like to me.”
    That’s what Nell sounded like to me, too, Theo, and why I wanted to write about her. Most novelists only concentrate on her story after she has become the king’s mistress, but I thought her earlier life was just as interesting. The choices and decisions she faced (especially at such a young age) weren’t always easy to write, but I felt they were important to show just how strong and unusual a woman she was. That she was able to maintain her joyful optimism and sense of humor no matter what obstacles she faced is also rare, and was an aspect of her character that I tried hard to capture.

    Reply
  24. Susan replies:
    Thanks to all for the comments on the interview! Loretta and I always have fun interviewing each other; we’re definitely on the same wave-length (whatever frequency that may be. *g*)
    Maggie wrote: “I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite!”
    Ahh, then you will be in the right frame of mind for more! It’s fascinating to read about the same historical figures as “fictionalized” by different authors; everybody sees the past through their own particular glasses. In addition to Karleen Koen, Diane Haegar also recently wrote a Restoration book, and of course there are the oldies-but-goodies by Jean Plaidy and Kathleen Windsor, and I can pretty much guarantee that all of us will have written different versions of the people at Charles’s court. As I heard one reader say when asked why she kept reading books about Anne Boleyn, “It’s like hearing about a party the next day from all the different people who were there.”
    Theo wrote: “I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like to me.”
    That’s what Nell sounded like to me, too, Theo, and why I wanted to write about her. Most novelists only concentrate on her story after she has become the king’s mistress, but I thought her earlier life was just as interesting. The choices and decisions she faced (especially at such a young age) weren’t always easy to write, but I felt they were important to show just how strong and unusual a woman she was. That she was able to maintain her joyful optimism and sense of humor no matter what obstacles she faced is also rare, and was an aspect of her character that I tried hard to capture.

    Reply
  25. Susan replies:
    Thanks to all for the comments on the interview! Loretta and I always have fun interviewing each other; we’re definitely on the same wave-length (whatever frequency that may be. *g*)
    Maggie wrote: “I’ve just emerged from a Karleen Koen readfest, so I am the perfect target for The King’s Favorite!”
    Ahh, then you will be in the right frame of mind for more! It’s fascinating to read about the same historical figures as “fictionalized” by different authors; everybody sees the past through their own particular glasses. In addition to Karleen Koen, Diane Haegar also recently wrote a Restoration book, and of course there are the oldies-but-goodies by Jean Plaidy and Kathleen Windsor, and I can pretty much guarantee that all of us will have written different versions of the people at Charles’s court. As I heard one reader say when asked why she kept reading books about Anne Boleyn, “It’s like hearing about a party the next day from all the different people who were there.”
    Theo wrote: “I wonder how many of us could have risen above our misfortunes to not only accept what we’d been given but rejoice in it, which to me, is what Nell sounds like to me.”
    That’s what Nell sounded like to me, too, Theo, and why I wanted to write about her. Most novelists only concentrate on her story after she has become the king’s mistress, but I thought her earlier life was just as interesting. The choices and decisions she faced (especially at such a young age) weren’t always easy to write, but I felt they were important to show just how strong and unusual a woman she was. That she was able to maintain her joyful optimism and sense of humor no matter what obstacles she faced is also rare, and was an aspect of her character that I tried hard to capture.

    Reply
  26. Sounds like you did another great character study. Can’t wait! 🙂
    And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!! LOL! I have the first line and the ending and everything else in between is always a surprise for me, though I do keep a long list of things as I go so I don’t hit any plotholes (I HATE plotholes because they’re so easy to avoid with a bit of care) but it makes me feel so much better to know I’m not alone 😀

    Reply
  27. Sounds like you did another great character study. Can’t wait! 🙂
    And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!! LOL! I have the first line and the ending and everything else in between is always a surprise for me, though I do keep a long list of things as I go so I don’t hit any plotholes (I HATE plotholes because they’re so easy to avoid with a bit of care) but it makes me feel so much better to know I’m not alone 😀

    Reply
  28. Sounds like you did another great character study. Can’t wait! 🙂
    And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!! LOL! I have the first line and the ending and everything else in between is always a surprise for me, though I do keep a long list of things as I go so I don’t hit any plotholes (I HATE plotholes because they’re so easy to avoid with a bit of care) but it makes me feel so much better to know I’m not alone 😀

    Reply
  29. Sounds like you did another great character study. Can’t wait! 🙂
    And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!! LOL! I have the first line and the ending and everything else in between is always a surprise for me, though I do keep a long list of things as I go so I don’t hit any plotholes (I HATE plotholes because they’re so easy to avoid with a bit of care) but it makes me feel so much better to know I’m not alone 😀

    Reply
  30. Sounds like you did another great character study. Can’t wait! 🙂
    And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!! LOL! I have the first line and the ending and everything else in between is always a surprise for me, though I do keep a long list of things as I go so I don’t hit any plotholes (I HATE plotholes because they’re so easy to avoid with a bit of care) but it makes me feel so much better to know I’m not alone 😀

    Reply
  31. Nell certainly sounds like a fascinating character, as does Charles. It’s easy to understand why people said he was fascinating and why women fell at his feet: he was the king, after all. But Charles truly seems to have been fascinating and charismatic. When one looks at his portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty, in addition to the fact that those standards change over time (as was noted in the earlier conversation about “Royal Harlot” and Lady Castlemaine). If Charles were a woman he might be a jolie-laide. I don’t know if there’s a similar term for men, but I did think of Gerard Depardieu, who definitely has a similar nose but nevertheless managed to win the girl most of the time.

    Reply
  32. Nell certainly sounds like a fascinating character, as does Charles. It’s easy to understand why people said he was fascinating and why women fell at his feet: he was the king, after all. But Charles truly seems to have been fascinating and charismatic. When one looks at his portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty, in addition to the fact that those standards change over time (as was noted in the earlier conversation about “Royal Harlot” and Lady Castlemaine). If Charles were a woman he might be a jolie-laide. I don’t know if there’s a similar term for men, but I did think of Gerard Depardieu, who definitely has a similar nose but nevertheless managed to win the girl most of the time.

    Reply
  33. Nell certainly sounds like a fascinating character, as does Charles. It’s easy to understand why people said he was fascinating and why women fell at his feet: he was the king, after all. But Charles truly seems to have been fascinating and charismatic. When one looks at his portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty, in addition to the fact that those standards change over time (as was noted in the earlier conversation about “Royal Harlot” and Lady Castlemaine). If Charles were a woman he might be a jolie-laide. I don’t know if there’s a similar term for men, but I did think of Gerard Depardieu, who definitely has a similar nose but nevertheless managed to win the girl most of the time.

    Reply
  34. Nell certainly sounds like a fascinating character, as does Charles. It’s easy to understand why people said he was fascinating and why women fell at his feet: he was the king, after all. But Charles truly seems to have been fascinating and charismatic. When one looks at his portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty, in addition to the fact that those standards change over time (as was noted in the earlier conversation about “Royal Harlot” and Lady Castlemaine). If Charles were a woman he might be a jolie-laide. I don’t know if there’s a similar term for men, but I did think of Gerard Depardieu, who definitely has a similar nose but nevertheless managed to win the girl most of the time.

    Reply
  35. Nell certainly sounds like a fascinating character, as does Charles. It’s easy to understand why people said he was fascinating and why women fell at his feet: he was the king, after all. But Charles truly seems to have been fascinating and charismatic. When one looks at his portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty, in addition to the fact that those standards change over time (as was noted in the earlier conversation about “Royal Harlot” and Lady Castlemaine). If Charles were a woman he might be a jolie-laide. I don’t know if there’s a similar term for men, but I did think of Gerard Depardieu, who definitely has a similar nose but nevertheless managed to win the girl most of the time.

    Reply
  36. I think I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time! Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury. I had seen photos of it, but the original is like a magnet that draws and holds the viewer to Nell. No one would say, “Wow, what a terrific painter!”, even though he is. But a viewer can’t help but think, “Wow, what an incredible woman!”
    Part of what I find so interesting is how she has fascinated so many people, including the portraitists who have gone to such lengths to portray her and her personality on canvas.
    From what I read here, I think you’ve captured the charismatic personality of the woman who has fascinated so many people over such a long period.

    Reply
  37. I think I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time! Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury. I had seen photos of it, but the original is like a magnet that draws and holds the viewer to Nell. No one would say, “Wow, what a terrific painter!”, even though he is. But a viewer can’t help but think, “Wow, what an incredible woman!”
    Part of what I find so interesting is how she has fascinated so many people, including the portraitists who have gone to such lengths to portray her and her personality on canvas.
    From what I read here, I think you’ve captured the charismatic personality of the woman who has fascinated so many people over such a long period.

    Reply
  38. I think I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time! Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury. I had seen photos of it, but the original is like a magnet that draws and holds the viewer to Nell. No one would say, “Wow, what a terrific painter!”, even though he is. But a viewer can’t help but think, “Wow, what an incredible woman!”
    Part of what I find so interesting is how she has fascinated so many people, including the portraitists who have gone to such lengths to portray her and her personality on canvas.
    From what I read here, I think you’ve captured the charismatic personality of the woman who has fascinated so many people over such a long period.

    Reply
  39. I think I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time! Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury. I had seen photos of it, but the original is like a magnet that draws and holds the viewer to Nell. No one would say, “Wow, what a terrific painter!”, even though he is. But a viewer can’t help but think, “Wow, what an incredible woman!”
    Part of what I find so interesting is how she has fascinated so many people, including the portraitists who have gone to such lengths to portray her and her personality on canvas.
    From what I read here, I think you’ve captured the charismatic personality of the woman who has fascinated so many people over such a long period.

    Reply
  40. I think I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time! Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury. I had seen photos of it, but the original is like a magnet that draws and holds the viewer to Nell. No one would say, “Wow, what a terrific painter!”, even though he is. But a viewer can’t help but think, “Wow, what an incredible woman!”
    Part of what I find so interesting is how she has fascinated so many people, including the portraitists who have gone to such lengths to portray her and her personality on canvas.
    From what I read here, I think you’ve captured the charismatic personality of the woman who has fascinated so many people over such a long period.

    Reply
  41. Having been fortunate enough to read an ARC of The King’s Favorite, I can vouch for the fact that Nell is an amazing character, and Susan did an amazing job in portraying her!
    Nell is powerfully appealing for her joie de vivre, and I think her rags to riches stories particularly resonates to Americans, with our Horatio Alger ideals.
    As for Charles II–he was certainly the most interesting of the royal Stuarts but really, as a dynasty they were a waste of oxygen.
    Mary Jo, ducking in case Susan sends a flying hairbrush in my direction. 🙂

    Reply
  42. Having been fortunate enough to read an ARC of The King’s Favorite, I can vouch for the fact that Nell is an amazing character, and Susan did an amazing job in portraying her!
    Nell is powerfully appealing for her joie de vivre, and I think her rags to riches stories particularly resonates to Americans, with our Horatio Alger ideals.
    As for Charles II–he was certainly the most interesting of the royal Stuarts but really, as a dynasty they were a waste of oxygen.
    Mary Jo, ducking in case Susan sends a flying hairbrush in my direction. 🙂

    Reply
  43. Having been fortunate enough to read an ARC of The King’s Favorite, I can vouch for the fact that Nell is an amazing character, and Susan did an amazing job in portraying her!
    Nell is powerfully appealing for her joie de vivre, and I think her rags to riches stories particularly resonates to Americans, with our Horatio Alger ideals.
    As for Charles II–he was certainly the most interesting of the royal Stuarts but really, as a dynasty they were a waste of oxygen.
    Mary Jo, ducking in case Susan sends a flying hairbrush in my direction. 🙂

    Reply
  44. Having been fortunate enough to read an ARC of The King’s Favorite, I can vouch for the fact that Nell is an amazing character, and Susan did an amazing job in portraying her!
    Nell is powerfully appealing for her joie de vivre, and I think her rags to riches stories particularly resonates to Americans, with our Horatio Alger ideals.
    As for Charles II–he was certainly the most interesting of the royal Stuarts but really, as a dynasty they were a waste of oxygen.
    Mary Jo, ducking in case Susan sends a flying hairbrush in my direction. 🙂

    Reply
  45. Having been fortunate enough to read an ARC of The King’s Favorite, I can vouch for the fact that Nell is an amazing character, and Susan did an amazing job in portraying her!
    Nell is powerfully appealing for her joie de vivre, and I think her rags to riches stories particularly resonates to Americans, with our Horatio Alger ideals.
    As for Charles II–he was certainly the most interesting of the royal Stuarts but really, as a dynasty they were a waste of oxygen.
    Mary Jo, ducking in case Susan sends a flying hairbrush in my direction. 🙂

    Reply
  46. Most excellent interview, Susan and Loretta! I’ve also had the privilege of reading The King’s Favorite, and I think it may be my favorite of Susan’s historicals — there is something so compelling and fascinating about Nell Gwyn, and Susan has written a cracking story that barrels the reader along in the adventures of a dynamic young 17th century woman.
    I gotta say, I’m rather partial to the Stuart monarchs myself — a passionate bunch, always brilliant, sometimes rowdy, idealistic or misguided, but never, ever boring (which cannot be said of all royal British dynasties!). It’s worth remembering how very long that line is, descending originally from Robert the Bruce and a rebel age, through several kings (and pretenders) named James and Charles … And the gates of Traquair House, btw, are still shut, waiting for a rightful Stuart king to claim the throne of Scotland. *g* Ain’t gonna happen, but as I said, they’ve never been a boring bunch!
    Susan K

    Reply
  47. Most excellent interview, Susan and Loretta! I’ve also had the privilege of reading The King’s Favorite, and I think it may be my favorite of Susan’s historicals — there is something so compelling and fascinating about Nell Gwyn, and Susan has written a cracking story that barrels the reader along in the adventures of a dynamic young 17th century woman.
    I gotta say, I’m rather partial to the Stuart monarchs myself — a passionate bunch, always brilliant, sometimes rowdy, idealistic or misguided, but never, ever boring (which cannot be said of all royal British dynasties!). It’s worth remembering how very long that line is, descending originally from Robert the Bruce and a rebel age, through several kings (and pretenders) named James and Charles … And the gates of Traquair House, btw, are still shut, waiting for a rightful Stuart king to claim the throne of Scotland. *g* Ain’t gonna happen, but as I said, they’ve never been a boring bunch!
    Susan K

    Reply
  48. Most excellent interview, Susan and Loretta! I’ve also had the privilege of reading The King’s Favorite, and I think it may be my favorite of Susan’s historicals — there is something so compelling and fascinating about Nell Gwyn, and Susan has written a cracking story that barrels the reader along in the adventures of a dynamic young 17th century woman.
    I gotta say, I’m rather partial to the Stuart monarchs myself — a passionate bunch, always brilliant, sometimes rowdy, idealistic or misguided, but never, ever boring (which cannot be said of all royal British dynasties!). It’s worth remembering how very long that line is, descending originally from Robert the Bruce and a rebel age, through several kings (and pretenders) named James and Charles … And the gates of Traquair House, btw, are still shut, waiting for a rightful Stuart king to claim the throne of Scotland. *g* Ain’t gonna happen, but as I said, they’ve never been a boring bunch!
    Susan K

    Reply
  49. Most excellent interview, Susan and Loretta! I’ve also had the privilege of reading The King’s Favorite, and I think it may be my favorite of Susan’s historicals — there is something so compelling and fascinating about Nell Gwyn, and Susan has written a cracking story that barrels the reader along in the adventures of a dynamic young 17th century woman.
    I gotta say, I’m rather partial to the Stuart monarchs myself — a passionate bunch, always brilliant, sometimes rowdy, idealistic or misguided, but never, ever boring (which cannot be said of all royal British dynasties!). It’s worth remembering how very long that line is, descending originally from Robert the Bruce and a rebel age, through several kings (and pretenders) named James and Charles … And the gates of Traquair House, btw, are still shut, waiting for a rightful Stuart king to claim the throne of Scotland. *g* Ain’t gonna happen, but as I said, they’ve never been a boring bunch!
    Susan K

    Reply
  50. Most excellent interview, Susan and Loretta! I’ve also had the privilege of reading The King’s Favorite, and I think it may be my favorite of Susan’s historicals — there is something so compelling and fascinating about Nell Gwyn, and Susan has written a cracking story that barrels the reader along in the adventures of a dynamic young 17th century woman.
    I gotta say, I’m rather partial to the Stuart monarchs myself — a passionate bunch, always brilliant, sometimes rowdy, idealistic or misguided, but never, ever boring (which cannot be said of all royal British dynasties!). It’s worth remembering how very long that line is, descending originally from Robert the Bruce and a rebel age, through several kings (and pretenders) named James and Charles … And the gates of Traquair House, btw, are still shut, waiting for a rightful Stuart king to claim the throne of Scotland. *g* Ain’t gonna happen, but as I said, they’ve never been a boring bunch!
    Susan K

    Reply
  51. I’m not throwing any hairbrushes at Mary Jo–she’s too far away, for one thing–but I have to stick up for Charles II. He was definitely NOT a boring monarch. Theater, arts, science flourished in his reign, and he managed to keep the vast religious divide from tearing the country apart. Keeping his head, too, in such a time, was no small accomplishment. I’m not the Stuarts’ biggest fan, and he did have his faults, but I think he did quite a bit of good. The only frustration is that he might have done more–but then, it’s so easy to second-guess, centuries later. And there certainly were monarchs who did less good as well as more damage.

    Reply
  52. I’m not throwing any hairbrushes at Mary Jo–she’s too far away, for one thing–but I have to stick up for Charles II. He was definitely NOT a boring monarch. Theater, arts, science flourished in his reign, and he managed to keep the vast religious divide from tearing the country apart. Keeping his head, too, in such a time, was no small accomplishment. I’m not the Stuarts’ biggest fan, and he did have his faults, but I think he did quite a bit of good. The only frustration is that he might have done more–but then, it’s so easy to second-guess, centuries later. And there certainly were monarchs who did less good as well as more damage.

    Reply
  53. I’m not throwing any hairbrushes at Mary Jo–she’s too far away, for one thing–but I have to stick up for Charles II. He was definitely NOT a boring monarch. Theater, arts, science flourished in his reign, and he managed to keep the vast religious divide from tearing the country apart. Keeping his head, too, in such a time, was no small accomplishment. I’m not the Stuarts’ biggest fan, and he did have his faults, but I think he did quite a bit of good. The only frustration is that he might have done more–but then, it’s so easy to second-guess, centuries later. And there certainly were monarchs who did less good as well as more damage.

    Reply
  54. I’m not throwing any hairbrushes at Mary Jo–she’s too far away, for one thing–but I have to stick up for Charles II. He was definitely NOT a boring monarch. Theater, arts, science flourished in his reign, and he managed to keep the vast religious divide from tearing the country apart. Keeping his head, too, in such a time, was no small accomplishment. I’m not the Stuarts’ biggest fan, and he did have his faults, but I think he did quite a bit of good. The only frustration is that he might have done more–but then, it’s so easy to second-guess, centuries later. And there certainly were monarchs who did less good as well as more damage.

    Reply
  55. I’m not throwing any hairbrushes at Mary Jo–she’s too far away, for one thing–but I have to stick up for Charles II. He was definitely NOT a boring monarch. Theater, arts, science flourished in his reign, and he managed to keep the vast religious divide from tearing the country apart. Keeping his head, too, in such a time, was no small accomplishment. I’m not the Stuarts’ biggest fan, and he did have his faults, but I think he did quite a bit of good. The only frustration is that he might have done more–but then, it’s so easy to second-guess, centuries later. And there certainly were monarchs who did less good as well as more damage.

    Reply
  56. I love the Restoration period and have been looking forward to your new book for some time! Really enjoyed this interview, which is full of information, and will be checking in to read the next part too!

    Reply
  57. I love the Restoration period and have been looking forward to your new book for some time! Really enjoyed this interview, which is full of information, and will be checking in to read the next part too!

    Reply
  58. I love the Restoration period and have been looking forward to your new book for some time! Really enjoyed this interview, which is full of information, and will be checking in to read the next part too!

    Reply
  59. I love the Restoration period and have been looking forward to your new book for some time! Really enjoyed this interview, which is full of information, and will be checking in to read the next part too!

    Reply
  60. I love the Restoration period and have been looking forward to your new book for some time! Really enjoyed this interview, which is full of information, and will be checking in to read the next part too!

    Reply
  61. Exceptionally interesting, and everything I have read about Nell and the King rings true with your comments. Nell was loveable, never forgot (nor would she ever let anyone else forget) her humble beginnings, and this too, added to her appeal. She enjoyed remarkable success but never grew proud or haughty. The book sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  62. Exceptionally interesting, and everything I have read about Nell and the King rings true with your comments. Nell was loveable, never forgot (nor would she ever let anyone else forget) her humble beginnings, and this too, added to her appeal. She enjoyed remarkable success but never grew proud or haughty. The book sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  63. Exceptionally interesting, and everything I have read about Nell and the King rings true with your comments. Nell was loveable, never forgot (nor would she ever let anyone else forget) her humble beginnings, and this too, added to her appeal. She enjoyed remarkable success but never grew proud or haughty. The book sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  64. Exceptionally interesting, and everything I have read about Nell and the King rings true with your comments. Nell was loveable, never forgot (nor would she ever let anyone else forget) her humble beginnings, and this too, added to her appeal. She enjoyed remarkable success but never grew proud or haughty. The book sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  65. Exceptionally interesting, and everything I have read about Nell and the King rings true with your comments. Nell was loveable, never forgot (nor would she ever let anyone else forget) her humble beginnings, and this too, added to her appeal. She enjoyed remarkable success but never grew proud or haughty. The book sounds wonderful!

    Reply
  66. Susan replying, on a hot, humid Saturday:
    Theo wrote: “And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!”
    Theo, I know some writers who plot every last detail of the WIP, others who rely on complicated story-arcs and hero’s journeys and systems of colored file cards, and then there’s writers like…us. The bottom line is, whatever works! There’s no right or wrong way, and as many ways as there are writers and books.
    Susan/DC wrote: “When one looks at (Charles’s) portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty.”
    I think this is very much the case, Susan. Charles certainly wasn’t handsome by our standards, or even by the standards of 17th century England. His French/Italian heritage made him seem so swarthy to English eyes that there are constant references to him as being a “tall black man.” But there was no denying his charm. He wasn’t imperious or haughty. He was noted for being exceptionally kind to everyone, regardless of their rank, and listened with equal gravity to a quavering old petitioner as to another foreign prince. He was extraordinarily athletic and proud of being lean and muscular, riding, swimming in the sea and the Thames, playing tennis, and dragging his hung-over courtiers with him on long, brisk pre-dawn walks across the park outside the palace each day. He loved animals and children, which is always a good sign. He seemed to have had that rare gift of focussing all his attention whomever he was addressing, a quality that makes anyone seem attractive. He had an excellent sense of humor and liked to laugh, yet likely because of the suffering of his youth, there was also a brooding melancholy to him that women found romantic and very appealing. Add to all that the fact that he wore the crown, and no wonder everyone was dazzled into thinking he was handsome!
    Delle wrote: “Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury.”
    It’s hard to get a sense of Nell from many of her portraits, partly because it seems that because she was such a popular figure, just about any portrait of a 17th century lady was renamed “Nell Gwyn” by later generations. It’s hard to sift through all the faux-Nells to find the real ones. Also, because she wasn’t a lady, she didn’t always get the best painters for her portraits, or even the best work from the painters of notes, the way that Lady Castlemaine did. But as you note, in the handful of “true” portraits of Nell, her personality does come through across the centuries. Not only can you sense her joie de vivre, but there’s also a certain underlying sadness in her eyes, a quality that’s often found in those who’ll do anything to make others laugh.
    Loretta, Susan K., and Mary Jo: Many thanks for your kind words! J

    Reply
  67. Susan replying, on a hot, humid Saturday:
    Theo wrote: “And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!”
    Theo, I know some writers who plot every last detail of the WIP, others who rely on complicated story-arcs and hero’s journeys and systems of colored file cards, and then there’s writers like…us. The bottom line is, whatever works! There’s no right or wrong way, and as many ways as there are writers and books.
    Susan/DC wrote: “When one looks at (Charles’s) portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty.”
    I think this is very much the case, Susan. Charles certainly wasn’t handsome by our standards, or even by the standards of 17th century England. His French/Italian heritage made him seem so swarthy to English eyes that there are constant references to him as being a “tall black man.” But there was no denying his charm. He wasn’t imperious or haughty. He was noted for being exceptionally kind to everyone, regardless of their rank, and listened with equal gravity to a quavering old petitioner as to another foreign prince. He was extraordinarily athletic and proud of being lean and muscular, riding, swimming in the sea and the Thames, playing tennis, and dragging his hung-over courtiers with him on long, brisk pre-dawn walks across the park outside the palace each day. He loved animals and children, which is always a good sign. He seemed to have had that rare gift of focussing all his attention whomever he was addressing, a quality that makes anyone seem attractive. He had an excellent sense of humor and liked to laugh, yet likely because of the suffering of his youth, there was also a brooding melancholy to him that women found romantic and very appealing. Add to all that the fact that he wore the crown, and no wonder everyone was dazzled into thinking he was handsome!
    Delle wrote: “Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury.”
    It’s hard to get a sense of Nell from many of her portraits, partly because it seems that because she was such a popular figure, just about any portrait of a 17th century lady was renamed “Nell Gwyn” by later generations. It’s hard to sift through all the faux-Nells to find the real ones. Also, because she wasn’t a lady, she didn’t always get the best painters for her portraits, or even the best work from the painters of notes, the way that Lady Castlemaine did. But as you note, in the handful of “true” portraits of Nell, her personality does come through across the centuries. Not only can you sense her joie de vivre, but there’s also a certain underlying sadness in her eyes, a quality that’s often found in those who’ll do anything to make others laugh.
    Loretta, Susan K., and Mary Jo: Many thanks for your kind words! J

    Reply
  68. Susan replying, on a hot, humid Saturday:
    Theo wrote: “And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!”
    Theo, I know some writers who plot every last detail of the WIP, others who rely on complicated story-arcs and hero’s journeys and systems of colored file cards, and then there’s writers like…us. The bottom line is, whatever works! There’s no right or wrong way, and as many ways as there are writers and books.
    Susan/DC wrote: “When one looks at (Charles’s) portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty.”
    I think this is very much the case, Susan. Charles certainly wasn’t handsome by our standards, or even by the standards of 17th century England. His French/Italian heritage made him seem so swarthy to English eyes that there are constant references to him as being a “tall black man.” But there was no denying his charm. He wasn’t imperious or haughty. He was noted for being exceptionally kind to everyone, regardless of their rank, and listened with equal gravity to a quavering old petitioner as to another foreign prince. He was extraordinarily athletic and proud of being lean and muscular, riding, swimming in the sea and the Thames, playing tennis, and dragging his hung-over courtiers with him on long, brisk pre-dawn walks across the park outside the palace each day. He loved animals and children, which is always a good sign. He seemed to have had that rare gift of focussing all his attention whomever he was addressing, a quality that makes anyone seem attractive. He had an excellent sense of humor and liked to laugh, yet likely because of the suffering of his youth, there was also a brooding melancholy to him that women found romantic and very appealing. Add to all that the fact that he wore the crown, and no wonder everyone was dazzled into thinking he was handsome!
    Delle wrote: “Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury.”
    It’s hard to get a sense of Nell from many of her portraits, partly because it seems that because she was such a popular figure, just about any portrait of a 17th century lady was renamed “Nell Gwyn” by later generations. It’s hard to sift through all the faux-Nells to find the real ones. Also, because she wasn’t a lady, she didn’t always get the best painters for her portraits, or even the best work from the painters of notes, the way that Lady Castlemaine did. But as you note, in the handful of “true” portraits of Nell, her personality does come through across the centuries. Not only can you sense her joie de vivre, but there’s also a certain underlying sadness in her eyes, a quality that’s often found in those who’ll do anything to make others laugh.
    Loretta, Susan K., and Mary Jo: Many thanks for your kind words! J

    Reply
  69. Susan replying, on a hot, humid Saturday:
    Theo wrote: “And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!”
    Theo, I know some writers who plot every last detail of the WIP, others who rely on complicated story-arcs and hero’s journeys and systems of colored file cards, and then there’s writers like…us. The bottom line is, whatever works! There’s no right or wrong way, and as many ways as there are writers and books.
    Susan/DC wrote: “When one looks at (Charles’s) portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty.”
    I think this is very much the case, Susan. Charles certainly wasn’t handsome by our standards, or even by the standards of 17th century England. His French/Italian heritage made him seem so swarthy to English eyes that there are constant references to him as being a “tall black man.” But there was no denying his charm. He wasn’t imperious or haughty. He was noted for being exceptionally kind to everyone, regardless of their rank, and listened with equal gravity to a quavering old petitioner as to another foreign prince. He was extraordinarily athletic and proud of being lean and muscular, riding, swimming in the sea and the Thames, playing tennis, and dragging his hung-over courtiers with him on long, brisk pre-dawn walks across the park outside the palace each day. He loved animals and children, which is always a good sign. He seemed to have had that rare gift of focussing all his attention whomever he was addressing, a quality that makes anyone seem attractive. He had an excellent sense of humor and liked to laugh, yet likely because of the suffering of his youth, there was also a brooding melancholy to him that women found romantic and very appealing. Add to all that the fact that he wore the crown, and no wonder everyone was dazzled into thinking he was handsome!
    Delle wrote: “Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury.”
    It’s hard to get a sense of Nell from many of her portraits, partly because it seems that because she was such a popular figure, just about any portrait of a 17th century lady was renamed “Nell Gwyn” by later generations. It’s hard to sift through all the faux-Nells to find the real ones. Also, because she wasn’t a lady, she didn’t always get the best painters for her portraits, or even the best work from the painters of notes, the way that Lady Castlemaine did. But as you note, in the handful of “true” portraits of Nell, her personality does come through across the centuries. Not only can you sense her joie de vivre, but there’s also a certain underlying sadness in her eyes, a quality that’s often found in those who’ll do anything to make others laugh.
    Loretta, Susan K., and Mary Jo: Many thanks for your kind words! J

    Reply
  70. Susan replying, on a hot, humid Saturday:
    Theo wrote: “And I wanted to make a quick comment on your ‘fly-by-night’ writing style…thank GOODNESS someone else writes like I do!!”
    Theo, I know some writers who plot every last detail of the WIP, others who rely on complicated story-arcs and hero’s journeys and systems of colored file cards, and then there’s writers like…us. The bottom line is, whatever works! There’s no right or wrong way, and as many ways as there are writers and books.
    Susan/DC wrote: “When one looks at (Charles’s) portraits he doesn’t meet 21st C standards for good looks, but in all ages there have been people whose force of personality more than compensated for any deviations from contemporary standards of beauty.”
    I think this is very much the case, Susan. Charles certainly wasn’t handsome by our standards, or even by the standards of 17th century England. His French/Italian heritage made him seem so swarthy to English eyes that there are constant references to him as being a “tall black man.” But there was no denying his charm. He wasn’t imperious or haughty. He was noted for being exceptionally kind to everyone, regardless of their rank, and listened with equal gravity to a quavering old petitioner as to another foreign prince. He was extraordinarily athletic and proud of being lean and muscular, riding, swimming in the sea and the Thames, playing tennis, and dragging his hung-over courtiers with him on long, brisk pre-dawn walks across the park outside the palace each day. He loved animals and children, which is always a good sign. He seemed to have had that rare gift of focussing all his attention whomever he was addressing, a quality that makes anyone seem attractive. He had an excellent sense of humor and liked to laugh, yet likely because of the suffering of his youth, there was also a brooding melancholy to him that women found romantic and very appealing. Add to all that the fact that he wore the crown, and no wonder everyone was dazzled into thinking he was handsome!
    Delle wrote: “Nell has always fascinated me, and even more so after I saw her portrait at Sudbury.”
    It’s hard to get a sense of Nell from many of her portraits, partly because it seems that because she was such a popular figure, just about any portrait of a 17th century lady was renamed “Nell Gwyn” by later generations. It’s hard to sift through all the faux-Nells to find the real ones. Also, because she wasn’t a lady, she didn’t always get the best painters for her portraits, or even the best work from the painters of notes, the way that Lady Castlemaine did. But as you note, in the handful of “true” portraits of Nell, her personality does come through across the centuries. Not only can you sense her joie de vivre, but there’s also a certain underlying sadness in her eyes, a quality that’s often found in those who’ll do anything to make others laugh.
    Loretta, Susan K., and Mary Jo: Many thanks for your kind words! J

    Reply
  71. Fantastic interview. I don’t buy historical fiction, but I am going to look for this one.
    Thanks! I’m looking forward to part 2 on Monday.

    Reply
  72. Fantastic interview. I don’t buy historical fiction, but I am going to look for this one.
    Thanks! I’m looking forward to part 2 on Monday.

    Reply
  73. Fantastic interview. I don’t buy historical fiction, but I am going to look for this one.
    Thanks! I’m looking forward to part 2 on Monday.

    Reply
  74. Fantastic interview. I don’t buy historical fiction, but I am going to look for this one.
    Thanks! I’m looking forward to part 2 on Monday.

    Reply
  75. Fantastic interview. I don’t buy historical fiction, but I am going to look for this one.
    Thanks! I’m looking forward to part 2 on Monday.

    Reply
  76. From MJP:
    I never said Charles II was boring. 🙂 I suppose that if one goes all the way back to Robert the Bruce, the level rises, but from Charles I on–a waste of oxygen.
    Frankly, I thought that Chuck I deserved to get chopped. I find the whole “Divine right of kings” thing deeply repellent, particularly since most of the Stuarts were pig selfish and lousy rulers.
    I’ll make a partial exception for Chuck II, who was certainly interesting and moderately decent, but a man who will lavish money on mistresses while not paying the legitimate bills of people who saved his bacon when he was a pretender is pretty scummy. To wit, this recent AP story:
    ******The debt was incurred in 1651 when King Charles II – at the time recognized only as the king of Scotland – was preparing for the Battle of Worcester. He asked the Clothiers Company in Worcester to prepare uniforms for his soldiers and pledged to pay afterward, but his forces were defeated and Charles fled to mainland Europe.
    He left behind the unpaid bill, and never got around to paying it after he returned from exile in 1660 to claim his throne as king of England.****
    Ie, lying, selfish scum.
    To his credit, Prince Charles just paid the debt off, though being no fool, he didn’t pay the acrued interest. 🙂
    I suppose William and Mary had some good points, too, but as a dynasty, the English Stuarts did a lot of damage because of their selfishness and narrow minded. Given me a boring, blodgy Hanover any day.
    Not that I’m opinionated or anything. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  77. From MJP:
    I never said Charles II was boring. 🙂 I suppose that if one goes all the way back to Robert the Bruce, the level rises, but from Charles I on–a waste of oxygen.
    Frankly, I thought that Chuck I deserved to get chopped. I find the whole “Divine right of kings” thing deeply repellent, particularly since most of the Stuarts were pig selfish and lousy rulers.
    I’ll make a partial exception for Chuck II, who was certainly interesting and moderately decent, but a man who will lavish money on mistresses while not paying the legitimate bills of people who saved his bacon when he was a pretender is pretty scummy. To wit, this recent AP story:
    ******The debt was incurred in 1651 when King Charles II – at the time recognized only as the king of Scotland – was preparing for the Battle of Worcester. He asked the Clothiers Company in Worcester to prepare uniforms for his soldiers and pledged to pay afterward, but his forces were defeated and Charles fled to mainland Europe.
    He left behind the unpaid bill, and never got around to paying it after he returned from exile in 1660 to claim his throne as king of England.****
    Ie, lying, selfish scum.
    To his credit, Prince Charles just paid the debt off, though being no fool, he didn’t pay the acrued interest. 🙂
    I suppose William and Mary had some good points, too, but as a dynasty, the English Stuarts did a lot of damage because of their selfishness and narrow minded. Given me a boring, blodgy Hanover any day.
    Not that I’m opinionated or anything. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  78. From MJP:
    I never said Charles II was boring. 🙂 I suppose that if one goes all the way back to Robert the Bruce, the level rises, but from Charles I on–a waste of oxygen.
    Frankly, I thought that Chuck I deserved to get chopped. I find the whole “Divine right of kings” thing deeply repellent, particularly since most of the Stuarts were pig selfish and lousy rulers.
    I’ll make a partial exception for Chuck II, who was certainly interesting and moderately decent, but a man who will lavish money on mistresses while not paying the legitimate bills of people who saved his bacon when he was a pretender is pretty scummy. To wit, this recent AP story:
    ******The debt was incurred in 1651 when King Charles II – at the time recognized only as the king of Scotland – was preparing for the Battle of Worcester. He asked the Clothiers Company in Worcester to prepare uniforms for his soldiers and pledged to pay afterward, but his forces were defeated and Charles fled to mainland Europe.
    He left behind the unpaid bill, and never got around to paying it after he returned from exile in 1660 to claim his throne as king of England.****
    Ie, lying, selfish scum.
    To his credit, Prince Charles just paid the debt off, though being no fool, he didn’t pay the acrued interest. 🙂
    I suppose William and Mary had some good points, too, but as a dynasty, the English Stuarts did a lot of damage because of their selfishness and narrow minded. Given me a boring, blodgy Hanover any day.
    Not that I’m opinionated or anything. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  79. From MJP:
    I never said Charles II was boring. 🙂 I suppose that if one goes all the way back to Robert the Bruce, the level rises, but from Charles I on–a waste of oxygen.
    Frankly, I thought that Chuck I deserved to get chopped. I find the whole “Divine right of kings” thing deeply repellent, particularly since most of the Stuarts were pig selfish and lousy rulers.
    I’ll make a partial exception for Chuck II, who was certainly interesting and moderately decent, but a man who will lavish money on mistresses while not paying the legitimate bills of people who saved his bacon when he was a pretender is pretty scummy. To wit, this recent AP story:
    ******The debt was incurred in 1651 when King Charles II – at the time recognized only as the king of Scotland – was preparing for the Battle of Worcester. He asked the Clothiers Company in Worcester to prepare uniforms for his soldiers and pledged to pay afterward, but his forces were defeated and Charles fled to mainland Europe.
    He left behind the unpaid bill, and never got around to paying it after he returned from exile in 1660 to claim his throne as king of England.****
    Ie, lying, selfish scum.
    To his credit, Prince Charles just paid the debt off, though being no fool, he didn’t pay the acrued interest. 🙂
    I suppose William and Mary had some good points, too, but as a dynasty, the English Stuarts did a lot of damage because of their selfishness and narrow minded. Given me a boring, blodgy Hanover any day.
    Not that I’m opinionated or anything. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  80. From MJP:
    I never said Charles II was boring. 🙂 I suppose that if one goes all the way back to Robert the Bruce, the level rises, but from Charles I on–a waste of oxygen.
    Frankly, I thought that Chuck I deserved to get chopped. I find the whole “Divine right of kings” thing deeply repellent, particularly since most of the Stuarts were pig selfish and lousy rulers.
    I’ll make a partial exception for Chuck II, who was certainly interesting and moderately decent, but a man who will lavish money on mistresses while not paying the legitimate bills of people who saved his bacon when he was a pretender is pretty scummy. To wit, this recent AP story:
    ******The debt was incurred in 1651 when King Charles II – at the time recognized only as the king of Scotland – was preparing for the Battle of Worcester. He asked the Clothiers Company in Worcester to prepare uniforms for his soldiers and pledged to pay afterward, but his forces were defeated and Charles fled to mainland Europe.
    He left behind the unpaid bill, and never got around to paying it after he returned from exile in 1660 to claim his throne as king of England.****
    Ie, lying, selfish scum.
    To his credit, Prince Charles just paid the debt off, though being no fool, he didn’t pay the acrued interest. 🙂
    I suppose William and Mary had some good points, too, but as a dynasty, the English Stuarts did a lot of damage because of their selfishness and narrow minded. Given me a boring, blodgy Hanover any day.
    Not that I’m opinionated or anything. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  81. Mary Jo!
    Tell us how you really feel! LOL!!
    Seriously, I did read that recent article about paying off that debt. I was a bit shocked that he would have bothered, to be honest but better to pay the original at least I suppose, than to ignore it into perpetuity….
    I formed a nasty opinion of them with Bonnie Prince Charley but am not entirely familiar with the earlier Stuart line, however, after doing a bit more reading, I can see where Charley got his attitude from…

    Reply
  82. Mary Jo!
    Tell us how you really feel! LOL!!
    Seriously, I did read that recent article about paying off that debt. I was a bit shocked that he would have bothered, to be honest but better to pay the original at least I suppose, than to ignore it into perpetuity….
    I formed a nasty opinion of them with Bonnie Prince Charley but am not entirely familiar with the earlier Stuart line, however, after doing a bit more reading, I can see where Charley got his attitude from…

    Reply
  83. Mary Jo!
    Tell us how you really feel! LOL!!
    Seriously, I did read that recent article about paying off that debt. I was a bit shocked that he would have bothered, to be honest but better to pay the original at least I suppose, than to ignore it into perpetuity….
    I formed a nasty opinion of them with Bonnie Prince Charley but am not entirely familiar with the earlier Stuart line, however, after doing a bit more reading, I can see where Charley got his attitude from…

    Reply
  84. Mary Jo!
    Tell us how you really feel! LOL!!
    Seriously, I did read that recent article about paying off that debt. I was a bit shocked that he would have bothered, to be honest but better to pay the original at least I suppose, than to ignore it into perpetuity….
    I formed a nasty opinion of them with Bonnie Prince Charley but am not entirely familiar with the earlier Stuart line, however, after doing a bit more reading, I can see where Charley got his attitude from…

    Reply
  85. Mary Jo!
    Tell us how you really feel! LOL!!
    Seriously, I did read that recent article about paying off that debt. I was a bit shocked that he would have bothered, to be honest but better to pay the original at least I suppose, than to ignore it into perpetuity….
    I formed a nasty opinion of them with Bonnie Prince Charley but am not entirely familiar with the earlier Stuart line, however, after doing a bit more reading, I can see where Charley got his attitude from…

    Reply
  86. Susan replying again here, ready to pick up the gauntlet in defense of Charles II:
    Oh, Mary Jo, Mary Jo, Mary Jo. To dismiss King Charles as “lying, selfish scum”!
    Or, as Theo wrote, “Tell us how you really feel!” LOL, indeed.
    Most historians now judge Charles II as one of the better kings that England has had, and hardly worthy of being lumped in wholesale with the disasterous likes of James II and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I could write another blog entirely in his defense –– and I will, later in July.
    As for that recent AP story about Charles’s debt: pulling scraps of history out of context p for the amusement of the present is a pretty pointless exercise, and an inaccurate one, too. In this instance, all it proves is that the current Prince Charles can be a good sport about his namesake ancestor, and that he also has a very cagey public relations staff.
    But more to come next month . . . .

    Reply
  87. Susan replying again here, ready to pick up the gauntlet in defense of Charles II:
    Oh, Mary Jo, Mary Jo, Mary Jo. To dismiss King Charles as “lying, selfish scum”!
    Or, as Theo wrote, “Tell us how you really feel!” LOL, indeed.
    Most historians now judge Charles II as one of the better kings that England has had, and hardly worthy of being lumped in wholesale with the disasterous likes of James II and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I could write another blog entirely in his defense –– and I will, later in July.
    As for that recent AP story about Charles’s debt: pulling scraps of history out of context p for the amusement of the present is a pretty pointless exercise, and an inaccurate one, too. In this instance, all it proves is that the current Prince Charles can be a good sport about his namesake ancestor, and that he also has a very cagey public relations staff.
    But more to come next month . . . .

    Reply
  88. Susan replying again here, ready to pick up the gauntlet in defense of Charles II:
    Oh, Mary Jo, Mary Jo, Mary Jo. To dismiss King Charles as “lying, selfish scum”!
    Or, as Theo wrote, “Tell us how you really feel!” LOL, indeed.
    Most historians now judge Charles II as one of the better kings that England has had, and hardly worthy of being lumped in wholesale with the disasterous likes of James II and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I could write another blog entirely in his defense –– and I will, later in July.
    As for that recent AP story about Charles’s debt: pulling scraps of history out of context p for the amusement of the present is a pretty pointless exercise, and an inaccurate one, too. In this instance, all it proves is that the current Prince Charles can be a good sport about his namesake ancestor, and that he also has a very cagey public relations staff.
    But more to come next month . . . .

    Reply
  89. Susan replying again here, ready to pick up the gauntlet in defense of Charles II:
    Oh, Mary Jo, Mary Jo, Mary Jo. To dismiss King Charles as “lying, selfish scum”!
    Or, as Theo wrote, “Tell us how you really feel!” LOL, indeed.
    Most historians now judge Charles II as one of the better kings that England has had, and hardly worthy of being lumped in wholesale with the disasterous likes of James II and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I could write another blog entirely in his defense –– and I will, later in July.
    As for that recent AP story about Charles’s debt: pulling scraps of history out of context p for the amusement of the present is a pretty pointless exercise, and an inaccurate one, too. In this instance, all it proves is that the current Prince Charles can be a good sport about his namesake ancestor, and that he also has a very cagey public relations staff.
    But more to come next month . . . .

    Reply
  90. Susan replying again here, ready to pick up the gauntlet in defense of Charles II:
    Oh, Mary Jo, Mary Jo, Mary Jo. To dismiss King Charles as “lying, selfish scum”!
    Or, as Theo wrote, “Tell us how you really feel!” LOL, indeed.
    Most historians now judge Charles II as one of the better kings that England has had, and hardly worthy of being lumped in wholesale with the disasterous likes of James II and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I could write another blog entirely in his defense –– and I will, later in July.
    As for that recent AP story about Charles’s debt: pulling scraps of history out of context p for the amusement of the present is a pretty pointless exercise, and an inaccurate one, too. In this instance, all it proves is that the current Prince Charles can be a good sport about his namesake ancestor, and that he also has a very cagey public relations staff.
    But more to come next month . . . .

    Reply
  91. Susan, I’ll agree that Charles II is the best of the Stuarts (starting with James I, not going back to Robert the Bruce. :)) And he could be pretty capable. I’ll also grant that of course he’s the product of his times, divine right of kings and all.
    But he really didn’t treat Nell as well as she deserved–and I learned that from your own book. 🙂 And there were other things about him that grate.
    Still, it’s Bonny Prince Charles that REALLY put me off the Stuarts. The Old and Young Pretenders destroyed Scotland for their own greed and ambition.
    James I of England and VI of Scotland–Okay, one must cut him some slack, too, if only for the King James edition of the Bible. The best writing by committee in the English language. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  92. Susan, I’ll agree that Charles II is the best of the Stuarts (starting with James I, not going back to Robert the Bruce. :)) And he could be pretty capable. I’ll also grant that of course he’s the product of his times, divine right of kings and all.
    But he really didn’t treat Nell as well as she deserved–and I learned that from your own book. 🙂 And there were other things about him that grate.
    Still, it’s Bonny Prince Charles that REALLY put me off the Stuarts. The Old and Young Pretenders destroyed Scotland for their own greed and ambition.
    James I of England and VI of Scotland–Okay, one must cut him some slack, too, if only for the King James edition of the Bible. The best writing by committee in the English language. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  93. Susan, I’ll agree that Charles II is the best of the Stuarts (starting with James I, not going back to Robert the Bruce. :)) And he could be pretty capable. I’ll also grant that of course he’s the product of his times, divine right of kings and all.
    But he really didn’t treat Nell as well as she deserved–and I learned that from your own book. 🙂 And there were other things about him that grate.
    Still, it’s Bonny Prince Charles that REALLY put me off the Stuarts. The Old and Young Pretenders destroyed Scotland for their own greed and ambition.
    James I of England and VI of Scotland–Okay, one must cut him some slack, too, if only for the King James edition of the Bible. The best writing by committee in the English language. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  94. Susan, I’ll agree that Charles II is the best of the Stuarts (starting with James I, not going back to Robert the Bruce. :)) And he could be pretty capable. I’ll also grant that of course he’s the product of his times, divine right of kings and all.
    But he really didn’t treat Nell as well as she deserved–and I learned that from your own book. 🙂 And there were other things about him that grate.
    Still, it’s Bonny Prince Charles that REALLY put me off the Stuarts. The Old and Young Pretenders destroyed Scotland for their own greed and ambition.
    James I of England and VI of Scotland–Okay, one must cut him some slack, too, if only for the King James edition of the Bible. The best writing by committee in the English language. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  95. Susan, I’ll agree that Charles II is the best of the Stuarts (starting with James I, not going back to Robert the Bruce. :)) And he could be pretty capable. I’ll also grant that of course he’s the product of his times, divine right of kings and all.
    But he really didn’t treat Nell as well as she deserved–and I learned that from your own book. 🙂 And there were other things about him that grate.
    Still, it’s Bonny Prince Charles that REALLY put me off the Stuarts. The Old and Young Pretenders destroyed Scotland for their own greed and ambition.
    James I of England and VI of Scotland–Okay, one must cut him some slack, too, if only for the King James edition of the Bible. The best writing by committee in the English language. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  96. Wow!
    Hot words for 17th/18th century politics! A refreshing break from our current scene.
    I always felt bad for Charles II’s Portuguese wife. All of those mistresses…
    He did treat her better than some of the royals of his time treated their wives, I guess. Especially since she didn’t provide him an heir. That all important heir.

    Reply
  97. Wow!
    Hot words for 17th/18th century politics! A refreshing break from our current scene.
    I always felt bad for Charles II’s Portuguese wife. All of those mistresses…
    He did treat her better than some of the royals of his time treated their wives, I guess. Especially since she didn’t provide him an heir. That all important heir.

    Reply
  98. Wow!
    Hot words for 17th/18th century politics! A refreshing break from our current scene.
    I always felt bad for Charles II’s Portuguese wife. All of those mistresses…
    He did treat her better than some of the royals of his time treated their wives, I guess. Especially since she didn’t provide him an heir. That all important heir.

    Reply
  99. Wow!
    Hot words for 17th/18th century politics! A refreshing break from our current scene.
    I always felt bad for Charles II’s Portuguese wife. All of those mistresses…
    He did treat her better than some of the royals of his time treated their wives, I guess. Especially since she didn’t provide him an heir. That all important heir.

    Reply
  100. Wow!
    Hot words for 17th/18th century politics! A refreshing break from our current scene.
    I always felt bad for Charles II’s Portuguese wife. All of those mistresses…
    He did treat her better than some of the royals of his time treated their wives, I guess. Especially since she didn’t provide him an heir. That all important heir.

    Reply
  101. Oh, la, Mary Jo, you make me laugh! 🙂 And, I must say, I agree with your take on the Stuarts. However, I would be happy to judge Chuck II on his own merits, and perhaps could, if I got to read a Certain Book which is to be given away…(hint,hint) 😉
    Fascinating stuff. I look forward to more of the interview!

    Reply
  102. Oh, la, Mary Jo, you make me laugh! 🙂 And, I must say, I agree with your take on the Stuarts. However, I would be happy to judge Chuck II on his own merits, and perhaps could, if I got to read a Certain Book which is to be given away…(hint,hint) 😉
    Fascinating stuff. I look forward to more of the interview!

    Reply
  103. Oh, la, Mary Jo, you make me laugh! 🙂 And, I must say, I agree with your take on the Stuarts. However, I would be happy to judge Chuck II on his own merits, and perhaps could, if I got to read a Certain Book which is to be given away…(hint,hint) 😉
    Fascinating stuff. I look forward to more of the interview!

    Reply
  104. Oh, la, Mary Jo, you make me laugh! 🙂 And, I must say, I agree with your take on the Stuarts. However, I would be happy to judge Chuck II on his own merits, and perhaps could, if I got to read a Certain Book which is to be given away…(hint,hint) 😉
    Fascinating stuff. I look forward to more of the interview!

    Reply
  105. Oh, la, Mary Jo, you make me laugh! 🙂 And, I must say, I agree with your take on the Stuarts. However, I would be happy to judge Chuck II on his own merits, and perhaps could, if I got to read a Certain Book which is to be given away…(hint,hint) 😉
    Fascinating stuff. I look forward to more of the interview!

    Reply
  106. Susan again…
    Oh, I know — political CONTROVERSY rages at the WordWenches!! *ggg*
    The bottom line is that whether they believed in divine right or not, kings are mortal men, and like other lowly mortals, they don’t always do what they should.
    Suzy & Anne, since I don’t want your comments lost, I’m going to answer them over on today’s half of the interview.

    Reply
  107. Susan again…
    Oh, I know — political CONTROVERSY rages at the WordWenches!! *ggg*
    The bottom line is that whether they believed in divine right or not, kings are mortal men, and like other lowly mortals, they don’t always do what they should.
    Suzy & Anne, since I don’t want your comments lost, I’m going to answer them over on today’s half of the interview.

    Reply
  108. Susan again…
    Oh, I know — political CONTROVERSY rages at the WordWenches!! *ggg*
    The bottom line is that whether they believed in divine right or not, kings are mortal men, and like other lowly mortals, they don’t always do what they should.
    Suzy & Anne, since I don’t want your comments lost, I’m going to answer them over on today’s half of the interview.

    Reply
  109. Susan again…
    Oh, I know — political CONTROVERSY rages at the WordWenches!! *ggg*
    The bottom line is that whether they believed in divine right or not, kings are mortal men, and like other lowly mortals, they don’t always do what they should.
    Suzy & Anne, since I don’t want your comments lost, I’m going to answer them over on today’s half of the interview.

    Reply
  110. Susan again…
    Oh, I know — political CONTROVERSY rages at the WordWenches!! *ggg*
    The bottom line is that whether they believed in divine right or not, kings are mortal men, and like other lowly mortals, they don’t always do what they should.
    Suzy & Anne, since I don’t want your comments lost, I’m going to answer them over on today’s half of the interview.

    Reply
  111. +JMJ+
    I’m with Suzy. I feel for Catherine of Braganza so deeply that it’s hard for me to see Nell in a purely positive light. Yes, I can admit that Nell was an admirable woman–but so was Catherine. Nell is the more interesting figure of the two, I agree . . .
    And now I wonder why we tend to be much more fascinated by mistresses than by wives? =P

    Reply
  112. +JMJ+
    I’m with Suzy. I feel for Catherine of Braganza so deeply that it’s hard for me to see Nell in a purely positive light. Yes, I can admit that Nell was an admirable woman–but so was Catherine. Nell is the more interesting figure of the two, I agree . . .
    And now I wonder why we tend to be much more fascinated by mistresses than by wives? =P

    Reply
  113. +JMJ+
    I’m with Suzy. I feel for Catherine of Braganza so deeply that it’s hard for me to see Nell in a purely positive light. Yes, I can admit that Nell was an admirable woman–but so was Catherine. Nell is the more interesting figure of the two, I agree . . .
    And now I wonder why we tend to be much more fascinated by mistresses than by wives? =P

    Reply
  114. +JMJ+
    I’m with Suzy. I feel for Catherine of Braganza so deeply that it’s hard for me to see Nell in a purely positive light. Yes, I can admit that Nell was an admirable woman–but so was Catherine. Nell is the more interesting figure of the two, I agree . . .
    And now I wonder why we tend to be much more fascinated by mistresses than by wives? =P

    Reply
  115. +JMJ+
    I’m with Suzy. I feel for Catherine of Braganza so deeply that it’s hard for me to see Nell in a purely positive light. Yes, I can admit that Nell was an admirable woman–but so was Catherine. Nell is the more interesting figure of the two, I agree . . .
    And now I wonder why we tend to be much more fascinated by mistresses than by wives? =P

    Reply
  116. Susan, Ive only recently been famiiar with your novels and already I cant seem to get enough of them ha! Reading one right after the other I cannot resist the enticing times of the Restoration in England. Although all times are not perfect I think you pin pointed alot of the good of this time which made every character seem attractive and interesting in their own ways.
    Although what Charles did freely with women is considered now, terrible and wretched, you show that although Charles did really like to have different (and many!) women he did respect and take care of those whom he felt a little more for. When I read your novels I really feel he is the “Merry Monarch” as he is labeled throughout English History.
    Ive quite enjoyed your last three novels and am on the edge of my seat for July to role around. 🙂
    Now for an interesting question:
    Of the last four ladies you’ve written about (including Lousie) whom did you find the most interesting, or more so who was “your” favorite?

    Reply
  117. Susan, Ive only recently been famiiar with your novels and already I cant seem to get enough of them ha! Reading one right after the other I cannot resist the enticing times of the Restoration in England. Although all times are not perfect I think you pin pointed alot of the good of this time which made every character seem attractive and interesting in their own ways.
    Although what Charles did freely with women is considered now, terrible and wretched, you show that although Charles did really like to have different (and many!) women he did respect and take care of those whom he felt a little more for. When I read your novels I really feel he is the “Merry Monarch” as he is labeled throughout English History.
    Ive quite enjoyed your last three novels and am on the edge of my seat for July to role around. 🙂
    Now for an interesting question:
    Of the last four ladies you’ve written about (including Lousie) whom did you find the most interesting, or more so who was “your” favorite?

    Reply
  118. Susan, Ive only recently been famiiar with your novels and already I cant seem to get enough of them ha! Reading one right after the other I cannot resist the enticing times of the Restoration in England. Although all times are not perfect I think you pin pointed alot of the good of this time which made every character seem attractive and interesting in their own ways.
    Although what Charles did freely with women is considered now, terrible and wretched, you show that although Charles did really like to have different (and many!) women he did respect and take care of those whom he felt a little more for. When I read your novels I really feel he is the “Merry Monarch” as he is labeled throughout English History.
    Ive quite enjoyed your last three novels and am on the edge of my seat for July to role around. 🙂
    Now for an interesting question:
    Of the last four ladies you’ve written about (including Lousie) whom did you find the most interesting, or more so who was “your” favorite?

    Reply
  119. Susan, Ive only recently been famiiar with your novels and already I cant seem to get enough of them ha! Reading one right after the other I cannot resist the enticing times of the Restoration in England. Although all times are not perfect I think you pin pointed alot of the good of this time which made every character seem attractive and interesting in their own ways.
    Although what Charles did freely with women is considered now, terrible and wretched, you show that although Charles did really like to have different (and many!) women he did respect and take care of those whom he felt a little more for. When I read your novels I really feel he is the “Merry Monarch” as he is labeled throughout English History.
    Ive quite enjoyed your last three novels and am on the edge of my seat for July to role around. 🙂
    Now for an interesting question:
    Of the last four ladies you’ve written about (including Lousie) whom did you find the most interesting, or more so who was “your” favorite?

    Reply
  120. Susan, Ive only recently been famiiar with your novels and already I cant seem to get enough of them ha! Reading one right after the other I cannot resist the enticing times of the Restoration in England. Although all times are not perfect I think you pin pointed alot of the good of this time which made every character seem attractive and interesting in their own ways.
    Although what Charles did freely with women is considered now, terrible and wretched, you show that although Charles did really like to have different (and many!) women he did respect and take care of those whom he felt a little more for. When I read your novels I really feel he is the “Merry Monarch” as he is labeled throughout English History.
    Ive quite enjoyed your last three novels and am on the edge of my seat for July to role around. 🙂
    Now for an interesting question:
    Of the last four ladies you’ve written about (including Lousie) whom did you find the most interesting, or more so who was “your” favorite?

    Reply

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