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History Buff is a site for history lovers everywhere. It is also a site very interested in women of the past. Although I (sadly) no longer have time to continue these interviews, here is an archive of Q&As about women's lives in history. And please feel free to stop by History Buff's sister site for archaeological discoveries making news today. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at or contact me at authormichellemoran at hotmail dot com.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Q&A With Historical Fiction Author Sandra Worth
Lady of the Roses book cover

* In your novel LADY OF THE ROSES: A NOVEL OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES, an ardent Yorkist named John Neville meets and falls in love with Isobel, the Lancastrian ward of Queen Marguerite. What compelled you to tell John and Isobel's story?
John had been a secondary character in my debut novel of the Rose of York trilogy and touched so many hearts that readers kept writing me asking if I were going to do a book on him. I wasn't at the time, since I was involved with the trilogy, but eventually I realized his story needed to be told.

* How much of your novel is based on fact and how much is fiction?
I try hard not to stray from the historical record and only create to fill in the blanks to keep my stories as close to fact as possible.

* Tell us something surprising about women in 15th century England.
We all think of medieval women as being helpless and subjugated by men. But the truth is very different. All during the Wars of the Roses, history was driven almost entirely by women! To put it sadly, men fought the battles created by women. Here I have in mind two famous queens whose destinies ran strangely parallel: Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville, both of whom are hugely important characters in LADY OF THE ROSES.

* Your novel is told through Isobel's eyes. What made you choose her as the narrator, versus making LADY OF THE ROSES a third person narrative?
I had written the earlier books of my trilogy in the third person so I could take my readers far afield to experience battles, exiles, and the hatreds of the personalities whose decisions fueled the Wars of the Roses. For this novel, I wanted a change of pace and more of a love story. I also didn't want to cover all the battles -- there were so many of them! Though Isobel plays an active role in some, she doesn't have to put on the armor and slash her way through the carnage. The reader is spared the horror of the battlefield, and bonds with Isobel through the tumultupous experiences of her life, and of the man she loves.

* How did you research LADY OF THE ROSES, which draws heavily on events that occurred during the wars raging between the Lancastrians and the Yorks?
Thanks to my trilogy I had spent ten years researching the period and already knew much of the general background. During that time I visited many of the castles and battlefields associated with John Neville in England. I also examined the few personal items that had once belonged to him and which are kept at the British Museum, where I had privileges. So I already had a good grasp of John, and the era. What holes remained I filled by reading biographies of the personalities that shaped this earlier period of LADY OF THE ROSES, and by revisiting some of my earlier research.

photograph of author Sandra WorthThank you, Sandra! And feel free to visit Sandra Worth online for more information about Lady of the Roses!