Q&A With Susan Higginbotham discussion

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
Here's your chance to ask me about my work in progress, my adorable dog Boswell, my three cats, the state of North Carolina, or anything that doesn't require me to disclose my weight or my Social Security number!


message 2: by Robin (new)

Robin | 1 comments I know you have a book in progress about Margaret of Anjou...anything else planned after that? :)


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
I'm not sure yet! It's going to be medieval, I'm fairly sure, but I need to get Margaret a little better underway before I can clear the decks and start thinking of the next one. (After Margaret I think I'm ready for one with a happy ending!)


message 4: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Are you going to stick with English history or do you think you may at some point in the future tackle something different? I know the saying, "It it's not broke, don't fix it," but I seriously think you could take any subject in any country and bring it to life.

Are there any other periods or people in history that fascinate you enough that you have contemplated writing about it?


message 5: by Laura (new)

Laura Susan, what was your major motivation to start to write Historical fiction novels?


message 6: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 1 comments If I'm not mistaken, The Traitor's Wife was first self-published and one of the few *success* stories I've seen in that market. How did you go about *selling yourself* without going OTT as some I've seen on Amazon?


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
Thanks, Tara! If I tried another era in history it would probably be either the French Revolution or the American Civil War. There are some stories there that really fascinate me, though I'd like to avoid those people who have been done to death, and with the Civil War period I'd actually have the ability to drive to some of the sites I'd be writing about!

Laura, I guess it's the history that motivated me more than anything. I became fascinated by the reign of Edward II purely accidentally, after re-reading Marlowe's play, and I started reading everything I could about him. When I read about his niece Eleanor, her story just begged to be told, and no one had done it before.

Misfit, the main thing I did to sell TTW was to create a website full of factual information in the hope that people who did searches would come to the website and become interested in the novel. I also used Google ads, a Squidoo lens, and the list features on Amazon--though when I listed my book I always identified myself as the author, because I hate it when authors are sneaky about that sort of thing. And I entered the ForeWord magazine contest for independently published authors and won a silver award, which helped draw in readers and give me more credibility also.

Thanks for joining and stopping by, all!


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura thanks Susan. Do you have any good reference(s) on the French Revolution which you could share with us? I am particularly interested since I have studied French history a long time ago.


message 9: by Susan (last edited Mar 03, 2010 06:10AM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "thanks Susan. Do you have any good reference(s) on the French Revolution which you could share with us? I am particularly interested since I have studied French history a long time ago."

I haven't researched it extensively enough to be all that helpful, which is one reason I'll probably stick to English history for the time being--I'd have to build a brand new reference library! A friend of mine is reading
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution and says that it's excellent. Sandra Gulland has some excellent information on her website, and Elena Maria Vidal, who's in this group, would likely have some suggestions.


message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura thank you so much Susan, I will give a look!!


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura I just noticed I had already added the first book by Elena...


message 12: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt The American Civil War? I LOVE reading about the Civil War. Would love to see a book by you regarding that time period. Awesome, Susan.

I lived in North Carolina briefly.. Winston Salem to be exact. Nascar is a huge thing there. Are you keeping tabs on Danica Patrick? There hasn't been a woman in Nascar since the 70s. Not a big name anyway.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
Believe it or not, though I was born in NC, I'm not a NASCAR fan! I did catch myself watching the end of a race my husband had on the other day, though. I was speculating what would happen if Kotex decided to sponsor Danica Patrick's car.


message 14: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt LMAO! I would love that. I don't watch it but I been keeping my eyes on her. I think what she is doing is terrific. I want to see her succeed.


message 15: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cheryl_s) | 2 comments Susan --

I'm about 3/4 way through The Traitor's Wife and I know you're waaay into your new book and past this family but I'm curious about an issue. I think there are probably lots of opinions (which agree with yours and disagree with yours) but I'm interested in what your take on it was. If it's explained in the Afterward of the book let me know and you can ignore the question here. So here goes:

I just don't understand Isabelle's reaction to the whole Hugh le Despenser/Eleanor thing. I mean - Piers/Peter Gaveston was supposedly Edward's lover as well and received all sorts of favors, etc. because of it. And Isabelle, while perturbed/irritated, doesn't seem all that enraged. And the lords were all worked up about Gaveston yet seemed a little less worked up over Despenser.

Isabelle's whole treatment of both Hugh and Eleanor and the entire Despenser family seems so full of unbridled rage and out of proportion to her issues with Piers that I kind of don't understand it. From the beginning she seems to dislike both Despensers. It seems like the type of jealous rage of "a woman scorned" and by Hugh not Edward. Or maybe she was furious about Edward all along and Hugh was the straw that broke the camel's back? Maybe it was boiling below the surface all along and Mortimer stoked the flames (pun intended)? I know Despenser was supposed to be this horrible creature and I admit to not knowing huge amounts about this period but I'm curious.

I can't wait to go to bed tonight so I can finish this....

Thanks,
Cheryl


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
Thanks for the question, Cheryl! I admit that this isn't entirely fresh in my mind, since I've been in the 15th century lately, but I think that Isabella reacted more strongly to the Edward/Hugh entanglement than to the Edward/Piers entanglement primarily because she saw Hugh as a threat to her own position and status. In fairness to Isabella, I think she also was motivated in part by the fact that she saw the Despensers (especially Hugh the younger) as more of a threat to the kingdom than she did Gaveston--Piers was content with what Edward gave him, whereas Despenser actively tried to increase his landholdings at the expense of others. Unfortunately, Isabella and Mortimer proved themselves no less greedy than Hugh the younger, although they might have had good intentions at the beginning.

Hope this helped!


message 17: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cheryl_s) | 2 comments Ahhh... okay that's true. Makes a little more sense. And we all know about good intentions and where they lead :-) Funny, how often it proves true. Thanks for the response.


message 18: by Christy (new)

Christy English (christy_english) | 2 comments I am excited to read The Traitor's Wife...I adored Susan's novel, The Stolen Crown, so I know I have a lot to look forward to...


message 19: by Jemidar (last edited Jun 22, 2010 05:59AM) (new)

Jemidar All three of Susan's novels are excellent, but I think The Stolen Crown is probably my favourite :-).


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
Thanks, Christy and Jemidar!


message 21: by Jemidar (last edited Jul 07, 2010 08:03AM) (new)

Jemidar Susan wrote: "Thanks for the question, Cheryl! I admit that this isn't entirely fresh in my mind, since I've been in the 15th century lately, but I think that Isabella reacted more strongly to the Edward/Hugh en..."

I'm currently reading Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II by Paul Doherty and one of his theories on why Isabella reacted to Hugh more than Piers was that Hugh more than likely sexually harassed her. Because there was a rumour that Eleanor had had an affair with her uncle, the King (which you dealt with in your novel) he implied there might have been a bit of (forced?) wife swapping going on.

What's your take on this? Is there any evidence to support this theory?

Thanks :-).



message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
As far as I know, there's no evidence to support the wife-swapping or sexual harassment theories, other than the fact that Isabella intensely disliked Hugh and the comment that Doherty quotes about her being "dishonoured" (I don't have the book in front of me, but I think that's the comment Doherty relies on), and I find them unlikely. Edward II was unconventional, but I don't think he would have tolerated even Hugh making sexual overtures, or worse, toward his queen. It would have been a slur on his royal dignity and would have called the legitimacy of his children into question.


message 23: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar Thanks Susan :-). I kind of thought that, but it does make a great story!


message 24: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar Speaking of the Doherty book, he ends it with a convoluted theory that Edward II escaped and wasn't murdered at Berkley Castle, but doesn't give any credence to the Italian priests later letter to Ed III. After dismissing that, he then proposes events that sound suspiciously like a conspiracy theory complete with government cover ups etc that left me quite skeptical.

What's your opinion? Did Edward die at Berkley?


message 25: by Susan (last edited Jul 08, 2010 12:48PM) (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
I think he did die at Berkeley in 1327, though I try to keep an open mind because some people whose opinions I highly respect believe that he survived. Ian Mortimer has laid out the survival theory more convincingly than Doherty does, and on somewhat different grounds, but even so, I'm highly skeptical of it. Where it goes south for me is in the detail that Edward's body was displayed--even if one assumes that the face was covered, I find it unlikely that the conspirators would have risked displaying the corpse at all if the body didn't belong to Edward.

Ian Mortimer's theory in his books about Roger Mortimer and Edward III is well worth reading, though, as is Seymour Phillips' recent biography of Edward II.


message 26: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar I have Ian Mortimer's Ed III here, and the others are on my wishlist :-).


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan (boswellbaxter) | 36 comments Mod
I haven't been able to read the Phillips straight through yet--it's a long book--but from what I've read here and there, it's very good.


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