Interview with Olivia Longueville, author of Between Two Kings, and giveaway
Posted By Claire on January 14, 2016
I’m delighted to be the final stop on author Olivia Longueville’s book/blog tour for her Anne Boleyn alternative history novel Between Two Kings: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. Today I am ‘grilling’ Olivia with a few question.
By the way, MadeGlobal Publishing is offering a paperback copy of Between Two King to one lucky Anne Boleyn Files visitor. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is comment below this post saying what ending you’d give Anne Boleyn if you wrote an alternative history of her life. Comment by midnight Friday 22nd January. One comment will be picked at random and the winner contacted by email. Good luck!
How did you first become interested in Anne Boleyn’s story?
My interest in Tudor England and the Tudor dynasty was awakened by the movie Anne of the Thousand Days, which I watched with my mother when I was in high school. I was hooked from the start, fascinated by Geneviève Bujold, who starred as Anne Boleyn. Her petite size and dark charm created an air of fragility about her, although her demeanour, energy, and actions painted her as a strong, wilful, and intelligent woman. Bujold created an exquisite amalgamation of steel and passion, and I think that she was an ideal choice of the role of Anne in this movie. Later, I fell in love with Natalie Dormer as Anne in Showtime’s The Tudors.
Watching that movie for the first time, I was filled with trepidation and exhilaration: would Anne give Henry a son? I remember sitting in front of the screen and trembling all over as I anxiously wondered whether Henry would spare Anne’s life after her arrest. My heart was seized with fear when the king screamed: “She cannot give me a living son! Very well then, if she cannot give me a male heir, I shall rid myself of her!” Tears were trickling down my cheeks when Anne climbed to the scaffold, and my heart was broken when she died at the hands of a French swordsman.
This is how my interest in Anne Boleyn was born. I began to devour historical books about the Tudors, Henry VIII, and Anne Boleyn. Over time, I realized that the movie wasn’t historically accurate and that the real Anne might have been different from Bujold’s portrayal. The discovery that the life and image of the real Anne Boleyn were shrouded in the mist of mystery made me eager to research Anne’s life. Anne’s story is a tragedy set against the backdrop of increasing danger and unfolding intrigues, and I’ve always loved tragedy more than romance or any other genre in literature. That’s why I have always gravitated towards Anne more than any of Henry’s other wives.
What made you write an alternative history novel rather than a “normal” one?
I love “normal” history, but I often feel an overwhelming compulsion to re-imagine history. What if certain events had never happened? How would history have been altered if events had unfolded in a different way? It is a real challenge to imagine the consequences of such alterations, but it is even more challenging to write this “alternate world”. If you like imagining alternate historical outcomes, you will definitely like reading and writing them too, which is my case.
When Anne caught the king’s eye, she rejected his advances, but it wasn’t a ruse to inflame his passion: being a pious woman, she behaved in this manner because she didn’t want to give her maidenhead to a lover, especially a king who would discard her as soon as he became bored with her. This is what King Henry had done to her sister, Mary. Of course, Anne was an ambitious woman who could be cruel to her enemies, and I have no doubt that she wanted to be queen, but I like thinking that, with all her faults, Anne was not a calculating seductress who craved only the crown.
Anne Boleyn was a tragic queen who died on trumped-up charges of adultery, incest, and high treason. This wronged queen deserved a much better end than being murdered by her own homicidal husband in his quest for a male heir, which is why I chose to re-imagine Anne’s story and write an alternate history novel.
How did you go about researching your novel? What resources did you use?
A historical fiction writer doesn’t just research history – they research a real world and then filter the results to fit a story. To write a good alternate history novel requires changing the actual course of history from a certain moment, and a writer has to rigorously research the time period in order to understand the implications of the twists and turns of their story within the framework of the true historical timeline. The author must take special care to keep their story plausible and logical. It’s difficult, but not impossible.
I’m passionate about historical research and genealogy, and I’ve read many works written by well-known scholars. I bought many books, spent much time in libraries, and did a lot of online reading as I researched the history of the Valois dynasty, the French Renaissance, the Tudors, and the Plantagenets.
Many years ago, I was drawn into the world of Valois and Tudor ancestor hunting. It was thrilling to trace my family back through my great-grandparents – both paternal and maternal – and beyond. My research into English and French history became even more meaningful to me.
Even though my novel is about re-imagining history, I still tried to portray Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII, King François I of France, and other characters as close to historical reality as I could.
I’m in awe of you writing a novel in a language that’s not your mother tongue – how difficult was that? What problems/challenges did you encounter?
My relative comfort with the English language made it natural for me to write my novel in English. Reading many historical fiction novels and studying writing styles enriched my vocabulary, which greatly helped me in my own writings. Yet, sometimes I knew what word I wanted to use in my mother tongue and several other languages I speak, but I couldn’t immediately remember the equivalent word in English. This occasionally slowed my writing.
My mother tongue is intensely lyrical, and a sentence can go on and on, becoming really long. However, in English, it’s not advisable to create very long sentences, simultaneously making them properly structured and grammatically correct. The more you practise writing in a foreign language, the more comfortable you feel with it.
What is your view of Anne Boleyn’s fall? Who do you believe was responsible for it?
Henry VIII ordered Anne’s death, but we don’t know for certain whether he himself believed in her adultery. It is possible that Cromwell, who became Anne’s enemy, fed Henry lies about her and fabricated charges against her; after all, he led the interrogation of all the witnesses, and it was easy for him to collect the necessary proof of her guilt. But it is difficult for me to believe that Henry was such an utter fool that he couldn’t differentiate between lies and truth, and I don’t rule out the possibility that he personally commanded Cromwell to get rid of Anne no matter the cost. We don’t know for certain where Henry VIII fits into the conspiracy against Anne.
If Henry truly believed that she had betrayed him with her alleged paramours, then he considered her a traitor to England and to him – such a selfish and narcissistic man as Henry wouldn’t have ever forgiven her. If Henry assigned Cromwell the task of finding a way out of his marriage, and if he didn’t realize how far his chief minister would go to satisfy his liege’s whims, then Henry might have been amazed to learn about Anne’s adultery, but after her arrest he wouldn’t have changed anything because it was already too late, and he was so close to obtaining his freedom. Unfortunately, there is a chance that Henry knew about Anne’s innocence and patiently waited for her execution.
Regardless of whether Henry believed the accusations, or whether he planned her downfall, Anne had no chance to survive – her failure to bear a healthy son doomed her.
What are you working on at the moment and what are your writing plans for the future?
Currently, I am working on the sequel to “Between Two Kings”. The title of the sequel is “Queen’s Revenge.” My dream is to create the Anne Boleyn alternate history collection, and I am going to see my dream come true.
Which other historical characters interest you?
As I am very passionate about Tudor England, and there are many historical personalities who fascinate me. Among them, I am particularly fond of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, one of the few royal couples who, to the best of my knowledge, found genuine happiness in their marriage. There are many outrageous myths surrounding their marriage, like the one that he kept her impoverished and raped her on their wedding night, but research shows that this is not true. I’m thinking of writing a novel about Henry and Elizabeth after finishing my alternate history series about Anne.
Which other historical character would you like to give an alternative ending?
I would like to give an alternative ending to the conflict between Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary had such a bright future in France, but everything went terribly wrong for her after the death of her first husband, King François II of France, and eventually she lost all her kingdoms. Even though Mary spent many years imprisoned in England, she continued to pose an imminent threat to Elizabeth: she was a staunch Catholic with a strong claim to the throne, she had many powerful Catholic supporters (including Philippe II of Spain and the pope), and she herself could have been involved in the plots against Elizabeth.
I believe that Elizabeth might have hesitated to have Mary executed, but she would have gotten rid of her troublesome cousin in the end; it was just a matter of time. When I look at these two cousins, various what-if scenarios begin to form in my head, for I feel sympathetic to both of them and wish there was another way to cut this Gordian knot.
What’s your favourite historical novel?
Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, my favourite novel since my early youth, is set amid the pageantry of medieval Paris; it is a tragic romance that is brimming with intrigue, deceit, violence, and danger.
The story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the young, beautiful gypsy Esmeralda is a heartrending tale of unrequited love which ends with the death of both characters, and the conveyed emotions were real, deep, and heartfelt. It was so very intense that some scenes took my breath away and made my heart thump harder. Being a fan of French history, culture, and art, I was happy to be injected with a huge dose of verisimilitude as I made my virtual journey through medieval Paris.
If you could travel back in time to the Tudor court for just a day, which day would you choose to go back to and what would you do?
Someone should have dissuaded Anne from marrying Henry. There are no contemporary records about the day when Anne accepted Henry’s marriage proposal. We don’t know when she decided to go along with his plans to annul his marriage to Catherine and marry her.
If I could go back in time, I would have chosen this date: I would have spoken to Anne and would have enlightened her that she would be killed at her husband’s behest. It would have sounded outrageous to her ears, and she would have been downhearted, but maybe, just maybe, something could have turned differently for her.
You can catch up with the other stops on Olivia’s book/blog tour, and enter all the giveaways, by using the following schedule:
- 11 January – The Doomed romance of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII at ThroughTheEyesofAnneBoleyn
- 12 January – Why are the Tudors so captivating? at QueentoHistory.com/
- 13 January – Anne Boleyn and King François I of France at QueenAnneBoleyn.com
- 14 January – Interview here!
Anne Boleyn is accused of adultery and imprisoned in the Tower. The very next day she is due to be executed at the hand of a swordsman. Nothing can change the tragic outcome. England will have a new queen before the month is out. And yet…
What if events conspired against Henry VIII and his plans to take a new wife? What if there were things that even Thomas Cromwell couldn’t control, things which would make it impossible for history to go to plan?
The year is 1536.
History is about to be changed forever.
The old Anne Boleyn is dead.
The new Anne is a cold and calculating woman.
Between Two Kings.
Olivia Longueville, author of Between Two Kings, has degrees in finance and general management from London Business School and currently helps her father run the family business. Olivia loves historical fiction and is passionate about historical research, genealogy, and art. She has undertaken in-depth research into the history of the Valois dynasty, the French Renaissance and the Tudors and Plantagenets. As an amateur historian, Olivia has chosen to explore her interests through fiction. Her most cherished dream has always been to re-imagine Anne Boleyn’s life, leading her to recreate the story of Anne with a twist – Anne taking revenge against those who wronged her and caused her downfall.
Between Two Kings is available as a paperback and kindle from Amazon.com, Amazon UK and to order from your usual bookshop (ISBN 978-8494457494).
45 thoughts on “Interview with Olivia Longueville, author of Between Two Kings, and giveaway”
Congratulations with publishing your book, Madame Longueville! I have heard a lot about your achievements in the last two years, since you left us! A creative soul… Well done!
Hello, Andrey! Thank you for your congratulations!
If I wrote an alternative history of Anne Boleyn’s life, the ending would be Anne living with Henry as King and Queen without a male heir but with Elizabeth. They would have a happy, love filled marriage until Henry passes away and Anne watches her precious jewel Elizabeth reign and make a happy, peaceful England.
I have always wanted to imagine Anne and her parents going to another country to live out their lives. Anne would get remarried to someone who loved her for who she was. Of course that’s the happier side of things. I’m sure she would’ve also made her father pay emotionally if not physically for all the wrongs he brought onto their household. My alternate ending would have her happy though!! Thanks for this awesome post!! 🙂
I would have Anne and Henry staying together like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward V111 was like his famous predecessor besotted with Wallis Simpson, but his love never died unlike Henrys, however I would have Henry and Anne settling down into a comfortable old age and Anne seeing her daughter become Queen and so Anne herself would be Queen Dowager, but after Henrys death I would see her marrying her old love Harry Percy and returning with him to his castle in Northumberland, and being with the man she truly loved, being Countess of Northumberland and flirting with the male servants as Anne after all was much admired for her wit and courtly ways so I doubt she would ever live quietly in the country.
I have already purchased and read my copy of Between Two Kings and I couldn’t get enough of it – really hope you finish the sequel soon, Olivia! I’m dying to know what happens!
The book sounds very intriguing! It would have been a wonderful ending to see Anne live to witness her daughter as a queen.
I would have Anne being sent to a nunnery and in time ruling it as the Abbess!
My alternate ending would have Anne outsmart Henry by being allowed to provide proof of the ludicrous accusations and be found innocent. The people’s sympathy would be with her and would not allow Henry to execute or prosecute her. She would break free of Henry, reclaim Elizabeth and marry Harry Percy. She would also seek revenge on her father, uncle, Charles Brandon and Cromwell individually and where it would hurt them the most.
I’d love to see Anne end up with Henry Percy, and for his life to have been longer than it was. But the more likely, if less fortuitous, ending, would have been Henry commuting her sentence to either exile or a convent. Perhaps, there, Henry Percy might have visited her from time to time, but they probably wouldn’t end up together completely. Their love, while still burning as an ember, was destroyed by circumstances. And of course, Elizabeth would have become Queen after Henry’s death.
I agree that Henry was in control of Anne’s execution; it was Henry who wanted to shut down the monasteries for their wealth. If I wrote an alternative history, I would have Henry be satisfied with annulling the marriage, rather than feeling the need to execute Anne … I’m trying to figure out routes to my desired ending of an adult Elizabeth taking the place of Wolsey or Cromwell and acting. as political advisor to queen Mary (which is probably so unrealistic that this will only be a Tudors/Harry Potter cross-over fan fiction!)
I would love to see Henry VIII stay with Anne and when Henry passes away, Anne would get to see how much Elizabeth had done for the country and how strong she was when women were viewed as weak.
I would have Anne Boleyn realize that her king will dispatch her with a tear being shed;
so the rebel in her sees this and will not go quietly .
So with the help of other trusted rebels around her in and out of court she escapes to
France where she has a happy; remorse free life . .
That is my Alternative life for Anne Boleyn . . .
I’d have Anne providing a son for henry, but id have Henry loving her regardless of whether it was a boy or girl.
I absolutely loved Between Two Kings, I have read it a few times and have been keeping an eye out for the sequel. I was so thrilled to read this interview. Great work ladies.
I am looking forward to reading this book. I am intrigued. I have to say, how you became interested in Anne Boleyn echos exactly how my interest was piqued. After seeing “Anne of the Thousand Days.” I went to my history teacher and asked if she knew of any books I could read. “Brief Gaudy Hour,” was her recommendation. I still have that book.
My alternative story for Anne. Anne stands firm against the kings advances and wears down his resistance towards her marriage to Henry Percy and they finally marry, but Henry banishes the Northumberlands from court. When Percy dies in 1537, Henry VIII a widower himself renews his pursuit of Anne. Their marriage produces Elizabeth and Edward.
Oh wow nice to see someone from the fanfiction site being published. She’s a good author…albeit she does have the odd psychotic meltdown on there from time to time aha 😀
In my alternative scenario, Anne marries Henry Percy and becomes the Duchess of Northumberland. She does shy away from court life, but rather devotes herself to furthering the careers of her husband and brother who also survive and prosper in this version. Catherine of Aragon gives Henry a healthy son and heir, who grows up to be Henry IX of course. Mary Tudor is married and goes to live in Spain. Catherine and Henry’s son, Henry IX, marries the daughter of Anne Boleyn and Percy, also called Anne. Elizabeth I is their daughter. Anne has orchestrated this marriage and lives to see her granddaughter crowned queen.
My alternate reality is that Henry dies from the injuries suffered in his jousting accident but Anne is pregnant with a male heir who is born healthy. She is an excellent Regent. The temptation is to have that son die before having an heir, and have Mary die as well, so that Elizabeth can still be Queen.
in my alternate ending, Anne would go into a Convent and start up an education foundation for girls. One of her pupils would be Katherine Howard. She would be kept up to date with Elizabeth’s progress and lives to see her daughter become Queen.
I would like to think that Henry would have pardoned Anne and her and Elizabeth went to live in another country where she remarries and lives to a ripe old age happy.
Well done Olivia, what an interesting premise for a story.
In my alternative reality, Henry would threaten to disinherit and disown Elizabeth if Anne doesn’t agree to an annulment. For the sake of her daughter she complies and is banished to live quietly in the Low Countries until 1547 when Henry dies. Upon hearing of his death, she returns to England to support her daughter and plots to put Elizabeth on the throne whilst simultaneously planning to eradicate all those who took part in her downfall e.g the Seymours, Richard Rich etc. She and Elizabeth becomes confidantes to Edward who values their council, and Elizabeth is named heir after his death. This leads to the ultimate showdown between Elizabeth, Anne and Mary as they fight for the English throne.
Very dramatic haha.
Thank you for your interest in my novel.
I have to confess that your twist is my favourite one among all the other alternate scenarios shared with us on this page. I hope that one day someone will write a novel with this plot; I will definitely buy this book.
What an intriguing interview! Even though I am a more avid fan of non-fiction writing, this interview has peaked my interest in the book! I too became aware of Anne and Henry when I saw Anne of a Thousand Days. I also enjoyed The Tudors and the movie, The Other Boleyn Girl. I think the only alternative ending that I would have liked to see is that Anne is banished from court, Henry divorces her and she live in exile in another country. At least she could have possibly lived to see her daughter become Queen!
In my alternate ending, Anne would have sons and lived happily as a Queen and then as a Queenmother! How I wish that would be true!
I would let her live and let her talk to the king about letting her live but that is just me
I am happy to hear you enjoyed Anne of a Thousand Days. I have that movie and still play it every so often. I am excited to read your book. My alternate ending would be Henry passing from an injury connected to his fall. Then Anne having go force alliances and deal with those wanting to get rid of her.
Congratulations, Lisa, your comment is the winning one! I have emailed you for your details.
I just bought your book on my Kindle and look forward to reading it. I love historical novels, especially of this period, and yours sounds amazing.
I would have Anne’s marriage declared void because of her pre-contract with Henry Percy who sweeps her off to Northumberland where they marry and live a long happy life with several sons whilst King Henry realises that he acted too rashly and threw away his one chance of happiness.
I first was introduced to Anne Boleyn when i was 14 years old by my Mother. She had bought a book and i cannot remember the name of it but she shared it with me and from then on i was fascinated with Henry the VIII `s court and Anne Boleyn and all of the people at court. If i could end the chapter in Anne’s life it would be one of two ways. First she would never have married him and lived a long happy life. The second is she would have been allowed to retire as Anne of Cleves was and been able to raise Elizabeth but said and done it happened just as it was supposed to. Her daughter became one of the most loved and strong leader of England. Despite Henry and everyone else. She survived what must have been a very lonely childhood and tumultious life.
I would have had Anne remain married to Henry Percy, and Henry VIII turn back to Mary Boleyn and marry her and have the sons he desired.
Since King Henry was bound and determined to get rid of Anne no matter what – I would have liked to have seen her shut away in a convent rather than killed. And then all those years later, Elizabeth, after becoming Queen, would release her mother from the convent and Anne would know that Elizabeth actually did become Queen and could share her Queendom (is that a word?) with her.
I liked the question posed about if you could back to Tudor England for one day which day would you pick. I would choose the day right before Anne had to die so I could tell her how history was now remembering her differently than her supposed crimes made her appear and also tell her that Elizabeth would outlive Henry, Edward and Mary to become one of England’s greatest monarchs. Thanks!
Henry has been stricken with a grave illness & can no longer rule. So Anne is in the position of being King & Queen. Henry having been derailed by a stroke the afternoon before Anne’s scheduled execution, all plans were put on hold. The timing of Henry’ illness & subsequent failure to be able to reign, may in some ways be looked at as fate or a higher, greater power (greater even than a king). to step in. This would be my alternate ending.
I was lucky enough to read Olivia’s work when it was fanfic and her novel is great. She really does give an interesting twist to what if, have to admit Louis is probably my favorite character in her stories.
Hello! Thank you for interest in my novel.
However, I have to say that I don’t know what you mean by reading the whole fiction, which was never fully in public (more outlines and rough drafts, and a long time ago) and which never had Louis, whom you are referring to, as a character. There is no Louis in these series of the novels, and this character never appeared there even in first grafts. The first drafts of the first and the second novel were largely re-written, so even if you remember the outline, it means that you don’t know many things.
I encourage you to wait for the release of other novels in the series. Thank you for your interest.
Since Anne’s mother grandparents both sides are my several greats grandparents, alos the Percy’s and Tudors. i would perfer the Henry had divorced her not killed her and she would then be allowed to marry her true love and would gone on to have more children and to live a long and happy life. and that when Elizabeth came to the throne that Anne would be a good help to her in her rule and that really Elizabeth had married and given Anne grandchildren
My alternate ending for Anne:
Since Henry probably infected Anne with an STD causing her miscarriages, Anne finds a way to have a type of “surrogate” to secretly bear an “adopted” son for her. She would save her own life this way by pretending the baby boy is hers. After all, she could stuff herself to look pregnant– Henry stayed away from his wives when they were pregnant so as not to harm the child. He would never know it was a ruse. She would save her own life and the kingdom would be ignorantly happy about the male heir. Later Katherine Howard wouldn’t be killed either because everyone would live happily ever after with Anne as Queen indefinately.Oh, also Kathryn Parr would survive too, because she would get with Thomas Seymour earlier and not be as old when she bore his child and wouldn’t die either because she never had to marry Henry.
Loved reading this interview. Just got your book on kindle and cannot wait to read it.
I would have Anne proven innocent some way, somehow and Henry take her back into court. There he would resent her for a time. Then, slowly fall back in love with her, with twists and turns along the way.
I would be so interested to read an alternative ending for Anne. I don’t know that Anne would have listened to someone trying to change her mind about marrying Henry as I remember reading that she was shown a book of prophecies in which someone had drawn her with her head cut off and she replied “I am resolved to have him no matter what should become of me”.
I would have Anne pardoned by a messenger as she knelt down after her speech after Henry came to his senses . She would go back to Hever, with Elizabeth on the understanding that she accepts her annulment and that Elizabeth is illegitimate. Anne seeing the opportunity here to recuperate and raise her child, agrees. And from the side lines watches Henry become ‘bored’ with his new pale and insipid queen, Jane, who survived the birth of a sickly prince, and shows no sign of becoming pregnant again. Anne turns her life around, getting involved in business, rises to her former attractive, fashionable and vibrant self, educates Elizabeth in every way possible, and both become accepted into high social circles…on occasion in the company of Henry, though be it at a distance. Henry eye then begins to notice once again the reincarnation of the Anne he once knew and loved, but this time she has an air of Knowledge about her she didn’t have before. She knows she has once again become an interest with her king, and he begins to court her once again, but not a lust filled desire, but an admiration and respectful deeper love. Anne excepts his attentions in an undemanding, cautious way, and builds his relationship with Elizabeth. Jane becomes scared after poor little Edward dies. Jane ends up in a convent through some trumped up reason for annulment of their marriage…and Anne finds herself once more Queen of England,and Elizabeth a named heir. The question is…has Anne duped the King to reap revenge on those that rallied against her? or for the sake of her daughters inheritance, or just love of Henry? And who is that young, study red headed young lad she says is her ward? Were the rumours true that she was with child when she was condemned to death, what secrets does Anne, Elizabeth, this young boy and her closest confidante and lady in waiting hold close to their chest….oh how heads will roll.
Congrats on publishing this amazing book!!! I am very close to the end, and wishing I wasn’t:) the whole time I read it, I ache sadly, wishing her life could have been spared. I can hardly wait to see how it ends!!!!
I love that this is a thought !! I think that if I could rewrite history, I would have Anne accused as she was but able to turn things back against Cromwell and have him in the tower awaiting his execution. Meanwhile Henry VIII still madly in love with Anne although Anne can not bear a son she convinces her king to bring young Fitzroy into the castle and groom him to take the throne. Now we have Mary, Elizabeth, young Henry all strolling about court.
As the king ages and nears death his once illegitimate son prepares to take the throne but is unexpectedly killed on a hunting expedition, the king now finds himself without a male heir and his Queen finds a way to have Mary arrested for treason. The charge is that Mary was the one that had the stray arrow pierce the heart of young Henry simply because she wants to see her daughter on the throne vs that of Katherine of Aragon’s daughter. When Anne goes to the tower to confront Mary there is a scuffle and they both fall out of the tower window to their deaths.
Upon hearing all the devastating news Henry finds the strength to have a final heart warming conversation with Elizabeth and lets her know she is loved. he passes in the night and she is made Queen
I think I would give Anne the ending of a divorce where perhaps she was supported in such a way as Anne of Cleeves.I think I also would have liked to see her happily married down the line perhaps with more siblings for Elizabeth and who knows they could have also stood in line behind her to inherent the throne.
Where is part 2?
I don’t know when the second book is being released I’m afraid.