Imagining the Butterflies of the Alhambra – Wendy J. Dunn

generalifeA big welcome to historical novelist Wendy J. Dunn who is joining us today on the first stop of her book tour for Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters, Book 1 in Katherine of Aragon Story. It’s a wonderful book.

MadeGlobal Publishing is offering a paperback copy to one lucky Anne Boleyn Files follower. Simply comment below saying which historical place linked to Henry VIII’s six wives you’d love to visit. Leave your comment by midnight 2nd December.

By the way, Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters is $0.99/99p today (28th November) on kindle!

Over to Wendy…

What I love about writing is when I experience those truly magical days of complete surrender. On those days, I forget I am typing, I forget I am ‘Wendy’ – I’m soul and heart with my characters, feeling with them, and experiencing their world. Achieving that connection with my characters is vital. Without it, I would fail to connect the reader to the stories I write.

Over my many years of writing, I’ve thought a lot about this connection. For me, the best way I have to describe it is that it feels like being channelled – used as a scribe and witness for those historical people who happen to inhabit my imagination at that time.

Writing Falling Pomegranate Seeds, I remember one occasion when I found myself with Beatriz Galindo in the gardens of The Alhambra. This was long before I went to Spain to see for myself the places important to the early life of Catalina of Aragon. In my imagination, I observed Beatriz dappled by an afternoon sun filtering through pomegranate, orange and cypress trees and the flutter of countless, white butterflies. That vision awoke me from my imaginings. I wondered if white butterflies were well-known in the gardens of The Alhambra. What I knew about the butterflies of The Alhambra added up to nothing. I did what most writers do when they want to find out information quickly. I asked Google and discovered the gardens of The Alhambra are famed for their butterflies, white butterflies amongst them. These moments of serendipity are very much part of a writer’s life.

I am now working on Falling Pomegranate Seeds: All Manner of Things, the sequel to The Duty of Daughters. Catalina is now journeying to England. As yet, she has yet to board the ship that will take her to England. Catalina was still only a girl of fifteen when she left her parents in Granada (her father was putting down a small rebellion of Moors not ready to accept that their battle was well and truly lost), and it took her three months to reach the Corunna, where ships waited to take Catalina on her sea journey.

Years ago, I once drew up a map of her journey. The map really brought it home to me how far she travelled – and of course, she still had a sea crossing – a terrible, terrible sea crossing – in front of her.

Catalina’s mother, Isabel of Castile, usually accompanied her daughters when they went to their marriages. But with Catalina, her youngest child, it was as if she just couldn’t bear to do it. The years before Catalina’s departure were filled with sorrow. Her brother Juan, her parents’ only son, died, cut down by a fever at nineteen. Months later, his widow miscarried their only child. The widowed eldest daughter of Queen Isabel, also named Isabel, went to a marriage she didn’t want after her parents arranged for her to marry her dead husband’s cousin. She died in childbirth. Two years later her little son died in the queen’s arms.

Writing the first book of Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters brought me very close to Catalina, her sisters, and, surprisingly, her mother. My research revealed a different Isabel of Castile to what I had expected to discover when I first started writing this work. Her biographies showed a mother who loved her children – a mother cut down by grief, over and over.

I spent a lot of time with this family – scribing down their conversations as they sat together in courtyards of water fountains and sunlight, the light and butterflies dancing in gardens that wafted with the perfume of flowers. Beatriz and the royal family of Castile lived and breathed in my imagination, and I am hoping my readers will also think they live and breathe off the page.

Enjoy an extract from Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters and photos of the Alhambra…

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters, Book 1 in the Katherine of Aragon Story

falling_pomegranate_seedsDońa Beatriz Galindo.

Respected scholar.

Tutor to royalty.

Friend and advisor to Queen Isabel of Castile.

Beatriz is an uneasy witness to the Holy War of Queen Isabel and her husband, Ferdinand, King of Aragon. A Holy War seeing the Moors pushed out of territories ruled by them for centuries.

The road for women is a hard one. Beatriz must tutor the queen’s youngest child, Catalina, and equip her for a very different future life. She must teach her how to survive exile, an existence outside the protection of her mother. She must prepare Catalina to be England’s queen.

A tale of mothers and daughters, power, intrigue, death, love, and redemption. In the end, Falling Pomegranate Seeds sings a song of friendship and life.

“Wendy J. Dunn is an exceptional voice for Tudor fiction, and has a deep understanding of the era. Her words ring true and touch the heart, plunging the reader into a fascinating, dangerous and emotionally touching new world.” ~ Barbara Gaskell Denvil

“Dunn deftly weaves a heartrending story about the bonds between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. Each character is beautifully crafted with a compassionate touch to draw the reader into every raw emotion, from triumph to tragedy.” ~ Adrienne Dillard, Author of Cor Rotto

Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters, can be purchased via Amazon UK – click here or Amazon US – click here.

wendy_dunnWendy J. Dunn has been obsessed by Anne Boleyn and Tudor History since she was ten-years-old. She is the author of three historical novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This?, the winner of the 2003 Glyph Fiction Award and 2004 runner up in the Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction, The Light in the Labyrinth, her first young adult novel, and Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters.

While she continues to have a very close and spooky relationship with Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder, serendipity of life now leaves her no longer wondering if she has been channelling Anne Boleyn and Sir Tom for years in her writing, but considering the possibility of ancestral memory. Her own family tree reveals the intriguing fact that her ancestors – possibly over three generations – had purchased land from both the Boleyn and Wyatt families to build up their own holdings. It seems very likely Wendy’s ancestors knew the Wyatts and Boleyns personally.
Wendy gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2014, and is the Co-Editor in Chief of Backstory and Other Terrain, Swinburne University two new peer-reviewed writing journals.

You can find out more about Wendy at:

You can catch Wendy at her other book tour stops and enter the giveaways too! Here’s the schedule:


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33 thoughts on “Imagining the Butterflies of the Alhambra – Wendy J. Dunn”
  1. Thank you, Claire, for your lovely welcome to your wonderful blog and very kind words. I’m delighted and honoured to be here, sharing my love of Katherine of Aragon. I Just thought I’d let your readers know that the kindle book of Falling Pomegranate Seeds is still on sale at and uk for the next 14 hours:

  2. I would like to visit the magnificent Hampton Court….I live in the South US and I dream of one day visiting England specifically for the historic sites. I am quite an Anglophile and spend my free time reading and researching the Tudor monarchs and their courts.

  3. The Palace of Mechelen, Belgium. I would love to visit there and imagine Anne as a young girl, learning all the lessons that were necessary for a maid of honour to master. She must have been full of excitement and hope with a future of promise ahead of her. Oh the possibilities that lay before young Anne !

  4. Beautiful extract and video. I visited the Alhambra and the Cathedral and royal tombs several years ago, in fact we were so taken with the beautiful, stunning gardens and Islamic architecture that we went back on our own. Absolutely stunning, felt back there for a moment. Would love to return.

  5. I’d love to go to Ludlow Castle, the place where Catherine’s troubles really started. Such a short time to be a young bride and Princess of Wales. I can’t think of anywhere more unlike Spain than the Welsh Marches and wonder how she coped with her new position and country.

  6. I was fortunate enough to visit the Alhambra once. I greatly enjoyed the site. It was one of the highlights of my visit to Spain. But ar the time, I didn’t know that Catherine of Aragon had lived there.

    I have visited Hampton Court and Hatfield House. I would love to go to Heuer Castle somerime.

  7. I would love to read Wendy’s book. My daughter and I were in Spain and Portugal during the summer. We visited the Alhambra Palace. It is truly beautiful and the gardens stunning. While there I discussed Catherine of Aragon with my daughter as we toured the palace and the gardens. History comes alive at such times at least for me and so it did there. I know what Wendy is speaking of when she describes it. Maybe one day I will return there I would certainly be delighted to see it again. In England I would like to visit Hampton Court one of the few places I missed when visiting years ago.

  8. I have always wanted to visit Hever Castle and see if I could feel Anne Boleyn’s spirit. I wonder if Anne of Clever found anything belonging to Anne when she lived there.

  9. I would like to visit the Alhambra and Hever Castle. The Alhambra seems so magical. Hever Castle had always been on my bucket list too. I wish Wolf Hall still existed 🙁

  10. I would love to visit Anne Boleyn’s home, Hever Castle.

    I have already visited the Tower of London (twice) and Hampton Court Palace and I enjoyed every moment!

  11. I hope to make a trip to England someday and most certainly Hever Castle would be on top of my list of Tudor tour stops.

  12. I have visiting London and particularly Hampton Court on my bucket list. Coming from Canada, getting close to retirement age and having a disability that makes air travel over 3 hours painful – a trip to the UK (and Hampton Court) must be very well planned but would definitely be worth the discomfort!

  13. Of all the places connected to Henry VIII’s wives, I would most love to visit Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. However, I’m also fascinated by reading about the other wives including Catherine of Aragon in ‘Falling Pomegranate Seeds’.

  14. All of them…everyone of Henry’s wives had their way about them but all of them were fascinating in their own way. I would love to see every place that were special to each one of them…maybe it would help to give me an understanding of them and their times…why they did what they did and why they fell in the end…..your book sounds right up my alley…love history but Tudor is special…

  15. I would love to visit all of the locations Henry’s six wives often visited. It is on my bucket list to visit England as half of my family is from there. Seems like a lovely story and I would love a copy.

  16. Nonsuch — if it only still existed! I loved Karen Harper’s descriptions of it in “The Fyre Mirror.”

  17. I am thoroughly excited to have found this blog and read this book! I am obsessed with everything Tudor but especially the Boleyn family. I would probably visit Hever Castle because that was the seat of the Boleyn family. Would love to see it. Thank you for the lovely giveaway!!!!

  18. I have long dreamed of visiting the Alhambra. It was the scene of triumph for the Trastamara family, and a place loved by them.

  19. Kimbolton Castle where she spent her last years, although it is now a school, and wouldn’t be recognisable to Katherine being altered many times since, it would still be lovely to go there. She is said to ‘haunt’ the Castle.

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