Today I’d like to welcome author Sarah Morris to The Anne Boleyn Files as part of her virtual book tour for “Le Temps Viendra: A Novel of Anne Boleyn”. Over to Sarah…
My name is Sarah Morris and I recently published my first historical fiction novel; Volume I of “Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn”, (The first of two volumes).
I would like to thank Claire for hosting the sixth and final day of this virtual book tour in which I hope to take you behind-the-scenes of LTV, to learn more about the making of this novel, the ideas developed within it, and a little about my own personal writing journey.
Yesterday, I shared how important location-based research, and the personal ‘rediscovery’ of lost Tudor/Anne related locations, has been to me through the process of penning LTV. Today, I will conclude the tour by speaking about the impact that writing LTV has had me, some of my plans for future related developments (which are being exclusively revealed here), as well as other up-and-coming projects.
Can a book change a life?
Well apparently ‘yes’ and in all sorts of ways that I had never previously envisioned. I had no idea about this when I sat down alone in my living room and scrawled the first few pages of the novel. Yet, I soon sensed something of great significance and impact was taking shape in my life. I was not at this stage thinking about my audience or sales of the book. For at the very beginning, LTV was quite a private affair; no, it was more that I sensed this book was drawing forth from me a whole new, creative dimension that had lain largely untapped. I just knew that in some way, ‘times they were a changing!’
Ultimately, the determination to publish the story only started to really take shape several weeks down the line. Somebody once said to me, ‘write for yourself first, Sarah’. These were excellent words of wisdom and would be one of the first things that I would say to anybody sitting down to write anything. Writing a book demands a good deal of time, commitment and energy – particularly if you are also holding down another full time job. For two years, I virtually lost my weekends and evenings. I finished the book exhausted, and having learnt a lot about how I might practically do things differently if I were ever to tread this particular path again.
I also learnt something about my particular style/approach to writing. I can’t speak for others here, who may see things very differently, but I certainly realised that I need to feel a strong, positive emotional connection with the subject I am focusing on in order to find the determination to keep going when I am tired and there feels like there is no end in sight. (This was particularly true for LTV which is around 1000 pages long, when Volumes I and II are combined together). Anne of course, fitted the bill perfectly. In fact it was hard at times to envision giving so much of myself for any other subject.
Then, six months after I started writing LTV, in February 2011, I tentatively made my first social media foray by launching the LTV Facebook Page. Now, sometimes it is true; I despair of FB’s random changes in policy that affect my being able to communicate with the fans of the page; and sometimes I wonder if I will ever get away from my computer and taste fresh air again! But from day one, I was overwhelmed by the incredible passion for Anne and support for me as a first time writer – and of course, for the emerging novel. I had determined that I wanted to share the writing process in full; its highs and lows. In so many ways, it has turned out to be as rewarding as writing the book itself. It has been an absolute privilege and delight to meet so many like-minded folk and I have truly met (and re-met) some wonderful new friends.
…And of course, as is so often the case, one thing led to another; soon a new joint project was borne and book contract with Amberley Publishing followed (which I spoke about yesterday); a visit from my co-author to do research for the book that took us into all sorts of wonderful, hidden, Tudor nooks and crannies for a fabulous ten days in May of 2012; a visit to the Boleyn Festival at Blickling Hall; a meeting with Alison Weir, whose books I had been reading since I first fell in love with the Tudor world; a chance to talk with the lovely Miss Natalie Dormer about our shared experiences with Anne, all culminating with a glittering launch of LTV on the Thames, which was truly one of the highlights of my year. These name but a few treasured moments of the last two years, as one door opened leading to the next…and in truth, I still do not know exactly where all this will eventually take me.
However, I can say that in the near future, I will continue to be busy completing the manuscript for ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’ – see In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn Facebook page. This is due for completion in early June. Although the publication date is yet to be set, I personally hope that it will be released this year, as 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of when Anne first left Hever, travelling toward the Hapsburg Court. For me, in so many ways, this epitomises the beginning of the long road that would eventually bring her to Henry’s side. So it seems fitting that the guide book should be out there in the world to assist others in remembering her physical journey from one spectacular location to another.
Of course, my intention is also that Volume II of LTV will be released at some point during the course of 2013. Rest assured it is written and now not so patiently awaiting editing and publication! In association with the novel, I also have plans to launch mini book location tours that will fit every budget. This is still in the planning stages, but if you fancy seeing first-hand the locations were the action takes place in the novel, (and with the author as your guide), then sit tight and stay tuned. More information to follow…
Many of you will know that my research trip to the Loire Valley for ‘In the Footsteps’ earlier this year, awakened a whole new level of interest in me about Anne’s early life. I wasn’t sure there would be enough to sustain a novel but now I know exactly what question I would like such a book to address and what I might write. So, a novel covering this period of Anne’s life is certainly a distinct possibility and I wait with as much baited breath as any of you to see what emerges next.
But I learnt something of great value about what inspires me to write this year. Whilst penning LTV, I found myself very attracted to the character of young Mary Howard, the soon-to-be Duchess of Richmond (she is introduced in Volume II). Like Anne she shone out at me like a sparkling diamond and I soon realised why. Mary was a woman of her own mind. She was assertive, determined…and yes, a bit stubborn. Anne’s younger cousin seemed ever present in Anne’s life during the time periods that I was writing about, developing a strong Reformist faith, quite at odds with the rest of her Howard family – I couldn’t help but see Anne’s influence at play! My attraction to her character and story taught me something of merit; I like writing about courageous, spirited women! And certainly, without a shadow of doubt, if you see my name on the bottom of any novel again, you can be sure that when you open it, such a woman is likely to be speaking to you boldly and passionately from within its pages.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have hosted this virtual book tour over the last six days: Claire Ridgway, Sarah Butterfield, Sarah Bryson, Zoe Bramley, Calum McDonald and Natalie Grueninger and to my publishers, Spartan Publishing for helping LTV get out into the world.
Finally, I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all my Facebook fans who have been such an incredible support to me and the novel. You can’t know what a difference your enthusiasm has made, and continues to make. Best wishes for 2013, Sarah.
‘Le Temps Viendra: a novel of Anne Boleyn’ is currently downloadable on e-version here: http://spartan-publishing.com/books/historical-fiction/le-temps-viendra-anne-boleyn/
LTV will soon be available in paperback on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and other major e-tailer sites.
To follow Sarah on FB click here, or to visit the LTV web site follow this link: www.letempsviendra.co.uk
Thank you so much, Sarah, and all the best with “Le Temps Viendra”!
On This Day in History – According to the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, on the 8th January 1536, Henry VIII celebrated Catherine of Aragon’s death by dressing in “yellow, from top to toe, except the white feather he had in his bonnet”. He then paraded to mass with his two year-old daughter, Elizabeth, “with trumpets and other great triumphs”. The chronicler Edward Hall, however, puts Anne Boleyn in yellow, writing that “Quene Anne ware yelowe for the mournyng” and making no mention of the King’s attire.