Imagining the Butterflies of the Alhambra – Wendy J. Dunn
Posted By Claire on November 28, 2016
A 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
Dońa Beatriz Galindo.
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 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: