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****Tony Riches’s Katherine – Tudor Duchess is #195 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt. All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece.
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? Katherine took me a year to write, and was published in October 2019. A lot of time was spent researching primary sources, as well as visiting the actual locations in the book, such as Katherine’s home at Grimsthorpe Castle (Below), and her impressive tomb at Spilsby in Lincolnshire (Above Right).
Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please include a photo? I treated myself to an oak writing desk, and imagined I would do most of my writing there, but soon reverted back to my laptop. For years I struggled with a Windows laptop, which took ages to start – and often wanted to perform a complete system update. Now I have the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro with an I9 processor and a terabyte of storage, and can start writing immediately, as it’s always on.
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I once read that if you can write a page a day that’s a book a year. I’ve made it a habit to write a minimum of 500 words a day, every day. I like to wake early, and ideally have my writing done by lunchtime, leaving afternoons free for research. My MacBook Pro has wonderful sound quality, so I often have music playing while I’m writing.
Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as references. This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. Excerpt from Katherine – Tudor Duchess (p106-7)
May 1539: Katherine sits with her mother, who is now too ill to walk and has to be carried in a litter by two strong grooms. After so many years apart, they were finally together, but now she saw only glimpses of the proud María de Salinas, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, who’d sailed from Spain as a fifteen-year-old girl with Catherine of Aragon.
Katherine turned at the sound of the door opening and saw the elderly priest. ‘Thank you for coming.’ She glanced back at her sleeping mother. ‘I fear we don’t have long.’ Her voice faltered at the words as she admitted the awful reality. She let go of her mother’s hand.
The priest made the sign of the cross. ‘Through this holy unction, and through the great goodness of his mercy, may God pardon thee whatever sins thou hast committed...’
Katherine fought back her tears. She recalled her mother’s stories of her life in Spain as a girl. How proud she’d been at Queen Catherine’s grand coronation. How she’d risked her life to be at the queen’s side when she lay dying. Katherine choked back a sob and tried to focus on the priest’s softly spoken prayers.
Something clattered to the wooden floor, breaking through Katherine’s reverie. Her mother’s rosary beads had fallen from her lifeless fingers, but the priest continued as if he hadn’t noticed.
‘O Holy Lord, Father almighty and eternal God, we pray to thee in faith that the holy body of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy son, may profit our sister as an everlasting remedy for body and soul, who being God, lives and reigns. Amen.’
The priest glanced at Katherine and she read his thoughts in his eyes before he looked away. He must know she was a reformer, and he was only there for her mother. He bowed his head once more and said the Hail Holy Queen in Latin, somehow making the prayer sound like an act of defiance, in defence of his Catholic faith.
‘Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae; vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra salve.’
Katherine stared at her mother, who finally lay at peace. She’d had plenty of time to prepare, yet now the end had come she felt lost. Her mother had always been there for her, holding her hand through the births of both her children. There was still so much she wanted to tell her, so many questions unanswered. She fell to her knees at her mother’s bedside and surrendered to her grief.
(From Katherine – Tudor Duchess, Chapter Ten)
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? Anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent will understand how life-changing it can be. This is a true story, which I’ve ensured is as factually accurate as possible, and as an outspoken Protestant, Katherine had struggled to resolve her differences with her devoutly Catholic mother. I recalled the sudden and unexpected death of my father, who was only one year older than I am now, and the regret at the things we could have done together, and the questions I had which would never now be answered.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked-up rough drafts of this excerpt. As I often do, I wrote this scene as a longer piece and edited it down, before sending the book to a professional editor. I didn’t keep a record of the earlier version, but I do find it fascinating to look back over my handwritten notes, often scribbled during research visits, to see how my ideas developed.
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Tudors. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter. (All links listed below)
Katherine – Tudor Duchess is available in paperback, eBook and audiobook editions from
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YCV3RJV
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YCV3RJV
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07YCV3RJV
Amazon AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07YCV3RJV
Writing blog: https://tonyriches.blogspot.com