I am feeling a little bit antsy today. Do you know that feeling where you have a lot of work to do and you have this big dealie coming up soon (my book launch party this Thursday) and you should really sit down at your little desk and get stuff done like a real grown up person, but all you want to do is just sort of…wiggle around the house, listen to Bowie a touch too loud, and generally fritter away time? I’ve been a horrible time-fritter-er today–I’ve even managed to subvert Tom’s best intentions by distracting him with Youtube videos of Beaker. Yes, you read that right.
Well, now that I’ve confessed my wayward tendencies, I thought I would share a bit about the journey of this book which will be officially released in a mere two days.
I first got the idea to write about Catherine Howard when I was nearly done with my first book, The Blood Confession. I was a little sad knowing the book would be done soon, and nothing helps me let go of one project like finding another one to obsess about. Yes, like a rebound. I can’t remember how I first came across her, but I recall watching a documentary about Henry and his six wives on PBS, and when Catherine came on the screen I said to Tom “That’s her, that’s my girl.” On my lunch break at Simmons I scurried to the library to look her up on wikipedia. I was all furtive about it, like a girl with a brand new crush.
But all of this excitement aside, I wasn’t immediately certain that this would be my next book. I had just spent years writing in the point of view of a murderess, and now I had stumbled on the story of this foolish girl who had a secret affair while married to King Henry VIII. Would this be enough? Was she enough of a character? If she did what she did out of sheer idiocy, is that really very interesting?
Somewhere along the way, I decided that there was a whole lot more to it than idiocy, and that it would be interesting. Further, I couldn’t resist telling her story. By the time I emailed my literary agent with this idea, I realized that I would be crushed and disappointed if he told me it was no good. Lucky for me, he liked it. I started writing the first words in December 2004 on my big old computer. I remember this pretty clearly because we moved to a new apartment in January 2005 and I really should have been packing, but I couldn’t resist writing about that young girl–a naive, sweet thing, not overly educated, very eager for attention. I had to do a whole lot more research, but I was starting, very slowly, to develop a character. Those initial pages were eventually cut, but that’s a story for my next post.