I would like to welcome author Victoria Lamb to Jera’s Jamboree today.
The middle daughter of bestselling novelist Charlotte Lamb, Victoria grew up in the peaceful Isle of Man, benefiting from a vast library of books and a family of writers from which to take inspiration. She now lives with her own family in a three-hundred year old farmhouse on the fringes of Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor, where she walks every day and writes in a study overlooking fields of moorland ponies.
Her new paranormal Tudor series for Young Adult readers launches with “Witchstruck” which is published today by Corgi Childrens.
Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a witch from early childhood, concocting spells from herbs and bones is as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the punishment for any woman branded a witch is death.
Sent to the isolated palace of Woodstock, Meg discovers her magic is of interest to the banished princess Elizabeth, who is desperate to claim the throne. But Meg’s life is soon thrown into turmoil by the ruthless witchfinder, Marcus Dent – and the arrival of a smouldering young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo.
The first pulse-quickening book in a bewitching new series.
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
The Tudor period of English history appears to be a passion for you. What is the inspiration behind your new paranormal Tudor series for Young Adults?
The reign of ‘Bloody’ Mary Tudor is one of the most turbulent eras in England’s history, which makes it a very exciting time for historical writers. I felt instinctively that Meg’s story called for a dark dystopian setting, a time when witches were persecuted and hanged for their craft, so started researching Mary’s reign. Reading about her half-sister Elizabeth’s imprisonment in the spooky ruins of Woodstock Palace inspired me to set Meg’s story there, and when I discovered the princess had promised to accept Catholic priests into her household, it was a short leap from that idea to the creation of my Spanish hero, Alejandro.
Researching must have been very interesting. Did you have access to any archives?
Luckily, most of the information I need for my Tudor Witch series is freely available to anyone with a reasonable range of non-fiction accounts of Tudor England. That said, I am lucky enough to have a Bodleian Library Reader’s Card, so if I ever run into a stumblng-block during my research, I am able to call on their resources.
Was there a bizarre fact that stayed in your memory that you can share with us?
My most interesting research was probably about the select Catholic priesthood, the Order of Santiago, to which my hero belongs. Not only were the priests of that order all noblemen and highly trained as soldiers, but they were permitted to marry – though only allowed to spend certain times of the year with their wives! Fascinatingly, the order still exists today.
Are there any real ‘commoner’ characters from history in the series?
No, for the basic reason that history tends to record the lives of famous or noble people – and members of their entourage – rather than commoners. Though of course it would be impossible to have my main character as a ‘real’ person, given that a Tudor witch serving the Lady Elizabeth is clearly fantasy. However, it is historically documented that Elizabeth agreed to play host to any priests who came to instruct her in the Catholic faith – a faith she famously refused to fully embrace – so although my two priests are fictional characters, it’s perfectly possible that Elizabeth had Spanish priests about her household during her sister’s reign.
How easy did you find it to change your writing to target a Young Adult audience? What are the differences?
I don’t think I ‘change’ my writing for my YA books, and I don’t consider that I’m targeting a particular audience as I write. It’s probably more accurate to say that I write in a similar way but leave out things that I might include in an adult novel. As I see it, a narrative voice should come from the character narrating the story, not the writer.
Can you tell us where the series takes us after Meg and her magic?
The series is entirely concerned with Meg and her magic, against the backdrop of her relationship with the Lady Elizabeth. In Witchstruck, Meg is still learning her ‘craft’. As the series progresses, we see her grow into a fully-fledged witch whose powers are required to protect and serve Elizabeth … and ultimately England itself.
You’re also currently writing a new novel centred around Lucy Morgan from The Queen’s Secret. Does this mean you have finished the series or do you have more than one WIP? Do you have a writing schedule?
I haven’t finished the Tudor Witch series. I aim to write one book at a time, but because of publishing schedules there is often overlap with revisions. So although I’m writing the sequel to Witchstruck at the moment, I’m also revising ‘His Dark Lady’, the second book in my Lucy Morgan trilogy which began with ‘The Queen’s Secret’. My main objective is to write two books a year, with a few months off for good behaviour!
Thank you for an interesting interview Victoria, it’s been great hosting you today.
Many thanks for having me on the blog, Sharon!
I’m sure all my readers will join in wishing Victoria success. I’ve pre-ordered my copy of Witchstruck (and waiting for the sound of the postman as you are reading this!)
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