Thursday, June 7, 2012

Q&A W/ Claire Ridgway, Author of "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown"

I had a Q&A by email with Claire Ridgway, Author of the new book, "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown". Claire has also written "The Anne Boleyn Collection".  I would like to congratulate Claire Ridgway and wish her all the best with her future endeavors. Below is the Q&A, including pictures & a prize offered by Claire Ridgway:

Claire Ridgway
 A prize offered by Claire Ridgway to one lucky person who comments on the Q&A. It's a pewter bookmark with Anne Boleyn's Falcon badge.

Question: What is “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown” about?
Answer: It is a non-fiction book about the events leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn in May 1536. I had two aims with the book: to let the primary sources (the evidence ) tell Anne's story and to make it easily digestible. It is written in a diary format, taking the events a day at a time, and is fully referenced so that readers can check the sources and do their own research

Question:Is this a continuation from another book that you wrote? If so, what was the name of that book and what was it about?
Answer: No. My first book, The Anne Boleyn Collection, is a compilation of the most popular articles from The Anne Boleyn  Files website – covering Henry VIII, his six wives, the Boleyn family and other Tudor characters - so is very different to this one. The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown focuses on Anne Boleyn and her fall in 1536, and the factors and characters involved. Both books are non-fiction.

Question: Is there a third book in the works?
Answer: I've been working on quite a few book projects over the past three years, so yes! The third book is non-Tudor and is a joint project with my husband, Tim, but my fourth book is about Tudor history. I will give more details nearer to the release dates.

Question: What inspired you to write “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown”?
Answer: I wanted to set the record straight and tell Anne's true story. Fiction, TV and movies have given people rather warped ideas about Anne's fall. For example, some people believe that Anne was charged with witchcraft, some believe that Jane Boleyn definitely betrayed her husband and sister-in-law and others believe that Anne and George committed incest. I like to challenge misconceptions or things that are not set in stone. I don't tell people what to think; I present the evidence and share my own thoughts and then people can come to their own conclusions. There are so many 'unknowns' with the events of 1536 and we can argue over who was responsible for Anne's fall, why she fell etc. for ever.

Question: How could an individual purchase “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown”?
Answer: It's available as a paperback or as a Kindle book on, Amazon UK and Amazon international sites. It should also be rolling out to other booksellers.

Question: How do you name your novels?
Answer: There used to be an advert in the UK for a brand of wood-stain that went “It does exactly what it says on the tin” and that's what I wanted for my books. The Anne Boleyn Collection is a collection of articles and The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown is a countdown day-by-day to Anne's execution. I didn't want there to be any confusion about what they were about.

Question: When did you become an author and why did you become one?
Answer: I've always been an author. I can't remember ever not writing. When I was a child and teenager I wrote fiction, when I was older I started writing crime stories and then, more recently, I've done freelance non-fiction writing. Before I started The Anne Boleyn Files website, I was ghost-writing non-fiction books; writing travel guides, web content, product descriptions... you name it! Researching and writing are my passions and I cannot see there ever being a time when I don't do them.

Question: What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Answer: Personally, it has to be having my three gorgeous children, but if you mean in a career way then it has to be The Anne Boleyn Files. I love the way that it has become not only an information site but also a community of Tudor history lovers. I love running it. I obviously felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I published my books, but it was The Anne Boleyn Files and the encouragement of its followers that led me to write them.

Question: How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Answer: I've learned perseverance in life, so that helps me to keep at my writing, as does motivation. When I decide to go for something then I put my heart and soul into it. We only live once (I believe!) and we have to live this life to the full and fulfil our purpose. I don't want to have regrets.
As I'm writing non-fiction at the moment, my own personal life experiences don't really affect what I write, as it's Anne Boleyn's story I'm telling and her life was very different to mine. Fortunately, my husband is not at all like Henry VIII!

Question: What would you tell someone who wants to become an Author; either can answer generally or specially about the Tudor time period?
Answer: To go for it and to stick at it. It's so easy to become disillusioned and to get put off by people who tell you that you can't do it. If you are a real writer then you won't let anything stand in your way because writing is your passion and you just cannot stop.
Motivation is a key factor. Lots of people say that they want to write a book or that they have started a book, but they never finish it. You have to be focused and out your all into it. Success isn't about luck, it's about hard work and focus, in my opinion.
You'll also need a thick skin. You can't please everyone and there will always be people who don't like what you do and they can be ever so vocal about it! If their feedback is critical, but valid, then you need to pay attention to it, but if it's downright nasty or not at all relevant then it's best to let it go over your head and move on. Easy to say, but not so easy to do!