Welsh Wednesdays: Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair in the Press

Thanks to the Herald for this lovely write-up:
Link to the original article at the Herald:



Treat for literature fans at Llandeilo Book Fair

Published by

Organised by local author Christoph Fischer, the event attracted a wide range of local authors exhibiting their work and giving readings at several venues.

Since moving to west Wales with his Welsh partner, Mr Fischer has been amazed at the abundance of literary talent on his doorstep.

Over 30 local authors gathered in the Horeb Chapel and in the Shire Hall from 10:30 to 4pm to exhibit their latest books and 14 of them held workshops and readings in shops all over Llandeilo.Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

“Although Llandeilo has the Red Cross Charity Book Shop, the town’s literary appetite is still unsatiated and demand for books and bookish events is high,” Mr Fischer explained.

While the event is smaller than the April Lit Fest the Book Fair managed to capture its spirit by bringing the authors and their readings right into the heart of town.

continue reading here:


Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people sitting and indoor

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and table

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting



Further to my own review yesterday, here’s more praise for Revital and her brave book

P.C. Zick

revital_AMAZONI recently heard from an author friend with whom I’d lost contact over the past few years.  I was happy to receive her email asking me to help format her newest endeavor. I didn’t know much about the project, except it was nonfiction–self-help–unlike her two previous books, both novels, I had read and reviewed.

When she sent me the manuscript, I felt as if I’d entered into Gladys Knight’s world when I saw the title and began reading, Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s book, It’s Just Your Imagination – Growing Up With a Narcissistic Mother Revital was “Killing Me Softly” with her words.

Not literally, of course. But I was struck that despite our different backgrounds, cultures, and details of our lives, we both experienced the same emotional responses to being raised by women who were unable to love us unconditionally because of their own mental condition.

With precise dissection and brutal…

View original post 499 more words

Review: “It’s Just Your Imagination: Growing Up with a Narcissistic Mother – Insights of a Personal Journey” by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

What an incredible journey: Growing up with a mother who doesn’t support you is a really tough challenge and one that many fail to survive. Shiri-Horovitz tells her own story with the intellect and precision of an analytical and reflective person, vulnerable but not a victim; well, clearly a victim of circumstances but not one to merely point the finger and just sit back and feel sorry for herself.
Inspiring at times, painful at others, refreshingly honest, informative and helpful are some of the words that spring to mind. Something that has the potential to help thousands of people and an amazing journey that is compelling to watch.
Having read the author’s other books it’s great to hear her own voice in a biographical context. I had no idea there had been so much pain and struggle in her life. All the more reassuring that people can pull through, as she did.
Whether your own mother was narcissistic or maybe someone else’s was, there is something to learn from this for everyone. Thanks for sharing your story, which can’t have been easy.
Highly recommended.

Buy the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Link to my interview with Revital and review of “The Daughters of Iraq”


I was born and raised in Israel. As the oldest child of a family of three, I was the one who would daydream, I was the one who read like a bookworm, and I was the one who was so influenced by books, that I could act as if I were the main character in the book of real life for weeks…My father owned a small appliance shop and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. Both my parents immigrated to Israel from Iraq in 1950, but met twelve years later and married. As a kid, I remember writing poetry and some short stories. I had a journal I wrote in almost every day since I was nine years old, and up to the time I met my husband, but never imagined that one day I would become a published author in more than one language, and in so many countries, and even continents.I come from a very creative family. Three out of six of my uncles and aunt are published poets, and four of my cousins are well known musicians in Israel, so I don’t really understand why I never thought of myself as a writer (probably because I just did not have the guts…).

In Israel, after I graduated from high school I went to the army. I volunteered for special service with an army unit based in Kibbutz Eilot, located next to the Red Sea port city of Eilat. In that unit I worked in the kibbutz at the laundry, with kids ages three and ten (and loved it!), and even in the kitchen and dining room. It was an experience I will never forget, and influenced me, since this was the first time in my life that I was actually independent and away from my family.

After army service of two and a half years I went to Tel Aviv University, where I studied Hebrew Literature and Geography. I loved studying, and this is the reason I hold two Master degrees in both subjects, and a teaching certificate. During my studies I met my husband-to-be, and we moved to London for a year.

The year we spent in London was quite a shock for me. As an Israeli, I was always following the news, checking to see if any catastrophe happened, living life on a very fast track. While in London, I learned that the “hot subject” was usually the cold weather and the rain. After a year we moved back to Israel and I went back to school. A year later we married and after another year I became a very proud mom to a beautiful boy. I was the happiest woman on earth when that happened. I felt that I achieved the most important thing in life – I gave life.

Two years passed and we moved to Washington State. I love this area very much, but as an Israeli, I never got used to the cold weather, so three years (and another boy) later, we moved back to Israel, this time for about three and a half years, and then with a third son returned to the US. During our stay in Israel earned a second degree in Hebrew Literature, where I focused on Women Studies. I remember taking a class that had a discussion on Jewish women in Arab countries. I remember how upset I was to learn about these women were forgotten, weak, and had lives that lacked meaning, while I knew how powerful the women in my family were back then in Iraq. I remember speaking about this with my aunt, and her suggesting that I can write the story of the women in our family.

Am I a writer? I wasn’t very sure, but decided it was worth taking the risk. I started investigating, and taped my aunt, and decided to try and write a novel that would be based on my family’s story. That would be my best chance to reach as many readers as possible, I thought. A character came to my mind, and she was based on a neighbor I once had, who used to be a very good friend of my mom. She was also a mix of my mom and aunts. But where is she located, I wondered, and what was she doing? In my imagination she was living in a small town, and she was for sure proudly cooking I thought, Iraqi dishes. You see, in our Iraqi Jewish family a mom feeds everyone. My mom is still the same way, and food has a central role in our life.

Then came the second character, the sister of this woman whom I named Farina. She was the family intellectual, and was writing the family story because she was sick with cancer. She wanted to leave it for her children to learn later in life about their roots and origin. I named her Violet, since in Iraq they used English names because the British had ruled for many years.

The third main character was Violet’s daughter, Noa, a student in her twenties, trying to find her happiness and herself.

Writing this book took five years. Another boy was added to our family, and the book was first published in Israel. As we moved back and forth, my dream was to publish in English too, which I did.

I am now a mother of four boys, married to same husband for twenty years, writing more poetry, running a blog in “Haaretz”, an Israeli newspaper, and working for the last three years on a second novel.

Mystery Mondays: Feedback for my thriller “The Healer” #amreading

Here is the transcript from a reader’s group on the Internet where my thriller
THE HEALER was being discussed. I don’t think I’ve ever read something about any of my books like it: 

“I’m reading Christoph Fischer’s The Healer right now and it is really powerful. The writing itself is strong but the story – wow. It’s difficult for me to read given that I’m also going through chemotherapy and a host of other things and I’m finding moments where I need to just put it down and think.

I’m barely a third through and already know that this is going to be one of those books that I always remember and think back on. I want to go online to read his other reviews but I’m too afraid to, not wanting to see the reactions of other readers that are going through similar feelings of fear and desperation like myself because, well… it hurts.

Guys, I seriously cannot recommend this book enough … Once I’m finished with this book I’m going to be spamming it around my lame chronic illness groups like confetti.

My God, Christoph, whatever you went through that brought you to write this in a way that so completely speaks to the desperation I feel and the values that change… I just don’t have words. I’m so sorry.


Oh my god. There is a line in Christoph’s book where she lays back and accepts the pain, surrendering to it instead of fighting it, and just letting go- how it’s almost therapeutic to just let your disease wash over you and feel it for what it is for once. No denial, no pushing through. Just letting it loose and going along for the ride.

I’ve done exactly that. The first time was in hospital, and I’ve learned to do it since, kind of recognising when you need to put the barriers down for a minute.

Omg. I read that and started sobbing.

AND IM ON THE FREAKING CENTRAL LINE at rush hour!!! FML. People are starting. I’ve been offered tissue and this is a really big deal because you’re not allowed make eye contact on public transport.

Oh man. This book is going to be a freaking anthem in some of my groups. Yeesh.

thank-you-407397__180This has stopped me in my tracks yesterday. I hope the book isn’t causing any upset but I thank this woman from the bottom of my heart for her kind words, and thank you for listening!

The Healer

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. Prayer-can-Heal-2She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller 


It gives me great pleasure to announce that “The Sanctuary on Cayman Brac: Key to the Truth” is now available here: 



This is not only a sequel to “The Healer” but also an ending to “The Gamblers”.

In “The Sanctuary on Cayman Brac: Key to the truth”” Arpan has set up a training school and spiritual retreat on the small island in the Caribbean. Yet, the peaceful and quiet existence he has sought soon comes to an end. The arrival of Erica teaches him that lose ends won’t stop until they’re truly healed and dealt with. Erica, out to seek revenge for past wrongs soon begins to fall under the Caribbean spell and the magic of Arpan. Torn between her desire for justice and her own longing for peace, what she discovers at the school sets her again on the path of confusion and distrust. Set in a beautiful location and spiked with a crossover from the cast of Fischer’s other mystery novel, “The Gamblers” this is another fast-paced psychological thriller about faith and deceit. Erica will finally find out the full truth about who tricked whom and we’ll all get an answer as to who will walk away with the last laugh.

All three books can be bought together in a box set under the title “Fraud or Miracle Trilogy”. – in paperback and on pre-order. (also to be delivered by Nov 1st) 

Christoph Fischer

Short Biography:

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015.

He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

Mystery Mondays Review: “What about Barnum?” by Joss Landry

What About Barnum? (Binary Bounty) by [Landry, Joss]“What About Barnum (Binary Bounty)?” by Joss Landry is a wonderful story and the beginning of a promising series.
It is the story of a divorced single mother by the beach with her best friend. An Adonis like stranger saves her child from drowning, but when she sees him again he doesn’t recognise her. Then there is a business partner/ ex, who’s becoming a suspect in a police investigation, complicating matters more.
Now if you know Joss Landry and her writing then you will suspect that something of the spiritual and mystical will come into play as well, and you are right.
You’ll discover in this book that the Universe works in mysterious ways and people don’t always see it because they are looking at it the wrong way. Landry has created not only unforgettable characters but also successfully combines mystery with inspiring and uplifting themes.
The novel has suspense, romance, depth and seriousness, all in good measures. A wonderful read.



To Millicent Brewer, Barnum may as well be Poseidon when he walks out of a rip current’s swell in the Pacific Ocean to save her five-year-old son from drowning. Jonah is her whole world. However, Millie’s divorce taught her to avoid tall, gorgeous men—badasses her sister Denny calls them. And the glow in Barnum’s eyes stirs her. No. Not merely gratitude. More like an emotional alarm prompting her to remain on her guard.

Trouble emerges in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with two murders at their hotel. To prevent retribution from the Jalisco Drug Cartel, Barnum fetches Millie, Denny, and Jonah in the middle of the night to board his yacht.

One evening while walking on the beach, Barnum gathers Millie in his arms in a passionate kiss that turns black clouds into white linen, and Millie senses the two of them floating far above the ground. While the man provides for all their needs with charm and kindness, through unfathomable occurrences, Millie considers Barnum might not be human.

Get the book here:


Joss has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers. She is presently working on honing three other novels for publication.Joss Landry

Blessed with four children and six grandchildren, she resides in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, a staunch supporter, and enjoys spending time biking, rollerblading, playing tennis, and swimming. She loves creating stories as she says they fulfill her need to think outside the box.

Introducing the authors and speakers of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair Dec 9th: Illustration Workshop with William Scott Artus

On the day of the book fair Scott will be around the Shire Hall to promote Anne Signol’s book “Norris and Gertie Gobstopper on the Gwili Railway”, which he illustrated. But he will also hold a talk and illustration workshop at The Flying Goose at 1:45.
William Scott Artus 

– publishing and commercial illustrator talks about his career…

William will be holding a illustration talk and draw session at the Flying Goose. Bring your children and learn how to draw cartoons the quick way. He will also talk about how you can break into to this lucrative career and the highs and lows of being a book illustrator.

Scott is a writer and illustrator working and living in Bonllwyn, Carmarthenshire. Scott splits his time between illustrating for Anne Signol and doing his own projects as well as running the Gwili Steam Railways events. Scott is trying to keep the heritage of the railway alive using events and fundraising activities such as the book. All the funds raised will be used towards a new heritage railway shed at Abergwili and new track laying on the railway. The book is sold in the shop and will be available for sale at the book fair and on the Santa’s Magical Steam trains. The new Halloween books that Scott has written will be available at the Carmarthen and Ammanford library book fairs and on the railway at half term. Signed book prizes are awarded for best costume on Halloween.

Introducing the authors of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair: Interview with Graham Watkins



You can meet Carmarthenshire author Graham Watkins with his splendid books on Saturday Dec 9th in the Shire Hall, Llandeilo.
Graham is certainly no stranger to this blog. Here’s the latest interview with him. 

What do you love most about the writing process?

One of the things about writing I particularly enjoy is doing the research. It’s an excuse to have some fun. For example, before writing my historical novel A White Man’s War, which is about the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War, I took my wife and myself off to South Africa. My wife and I negotiated a deal. She agreed to accompany me exploring the battlefields of the Zulu and Boer Wars in return for a visit to Kruger Game Reserve to see the big five, a tasting tour of the Southern Cape vineyards, a trip up Table Mountain, Oh! and a day shopping in Cape Town. It was a good arrangement. I got plenty of material for the book and we both had a great time.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

That’s a difficult question. It’s tempting to answer Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ I first read his book when I began my business career in the 1970s and it helped me a lot. More recently I discovered two books by David Howarth ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Trafalgar.’ Howarth is a superb writer and a great narrator.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Creating key characters is one of the first thing I do when planning a book. I write out a profile. Name, age, sex, physical appearance, mannerisms, hates and passions and so on. Some, like Nye Vaughn in The Iron Masters, are a composite of different real historical people, others pure invention. Writing historical fiction also enables me to include real people. Again, in The Iron Masters there are cameo appearances by Admiral Lord Nelson, Thomas Telford and others.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I came to writing late in life, when I retired in 2003. My first book Exit Strategy was a business self help tome written to explain how to sell a company; an experience I had just gone through. These days I write mainly for my own enjoyment rather than the money and I still regard myself as a journeyman, an apprentice wordsmith, learning the craft. I don’t think we ever stop learning.

What do you think makes a good story?

What makes a good story? A strong beginning, characters that readers can believe in, a problem and a solution reached after overcoming a series of obstacles. I detest ending where everything is left in the air and the reader abandoned like a ghost ship swinging on its moorings.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Yes I have. I write in a variety of genres including historical fiction, nonfiction and short stories. More recently I’ve started writing thrillers. My first attempt was The Sicilian Defence a novel about a young American heiress lured to Sicily to be defrauded. Right now, I’m working on a novel with the working title Protocol 5 set in Britain involving murder, adoption, terrorism and corrupt politicians.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

An impoverished Italian Count, an American beauty, mafia money lenders, treachery and Sicilian guile all are in The Sicilian Defence; a story of good intentions and evil plans where the past and the present collide.

What was the inspiration behind The Sicilian Defence?

In the same way that a trip to South Africa inspired A White Man’s War, it was a holiday in Sicily which gave me the idea of The Sicilian Defence. The title of the book is a chess strategy but the idea for the plot came from reading about a real American woman lured to Italy and swindled out of her fortune by a fake count. Touring the island; seeing the squalid slums of Palermo, the breathtaking beauty of Mount Etna, the sad mass of African refugees at Catania and the romance of Taormina was a story in itself. The rest, as they say, is history.

How long did it take you to write The Iron Masters?

My historical novel The Iron Masters is the biggest project I’ve undertaken so far. It’s a fifty year family saga set in the cannon foundries of the South Wales during the Napoleonic Wars. Researching the history, crafting the plot, writing and editing took two years.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

That’s a good question and the answer is yes. While reading a draft of The Iron Masters to my wife she observed that villain’s wife was a bit dull. As a result I did some rewriting and the character, Delyth was her name, sprang to life. Murder, adultery and much more. She was great fun and totally unexpected. In fact I had trouble keeping up with her antics.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

It certainly would not be Delyth. She’s the sort of woman who entrances, seduces, uses and devours. I think I would spend time with Themba Jabulani from A White Man’s War. He’s a Baralong warrior at Mafeking, armed by Baden Powell – that name might ring a bell. Themba’s back story about what really happened during those 217 days when the town was besieged would be fascinating. Themba is, of course, my creation but to meet and talk with a man like him from that time would great.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I’m told I like the sound of my own voice which must be true because I’m sometimes invited to give talks to different audiences. How good I am is debatable and I confess I once put a listener to sleep at a black tie Rotary event where I was the after dinner speaker. The poor chap almost fell off his chair. It might have been what I was saying but I suspect his wine consumption was the real culprit.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m a butterfly and flit from one idea to another. It’s a bad habit and I have to concentrate so I don’t lose track of what I’m writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

We have an old farmhouse high in the Brecon Beacons with six acres which I call as our green gymnasium. There is always something that needs doing. Aside from looking after the house and garden, I like walking and have a wood turning lathe in the barn.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing.

Newly married, my wife and I went camping to Coniston. We pitched our tent in a nice grassy spot beside a pretty little stream and walked into the village for a couple of drinks.  It was late when we came back to the campsite and had started to rain. The rain got heavier; stair rods would be a good description. We woke in the early hours in total darkness and soaking wet. The stream had burst its banks and overflowed. Our airbed had submerged under six inches of water and the tent had collapsed around us. Everything – shoes, clothes, torch was underwater. We spent the rest of the night shivering in the car. It didn’t seem funny at the time.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

After leaving school I trained to be a marine engineer.



Links to find Graham:
Buying Links:
The Iron Masters; Amazon.co.uk: http://getbook.at/iron_masters
A White Man’s WarAmazon.co.uk: http://viewbook.at/AWMW

Exit Strategy: Amazon.co.uk: http://viewbook.at/ExitStrategy

Welsh Wednesdays: Introducing the authors and speakers of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair Dec 9th: Sally Spedding


Sally Spedding, Author 001.jpg

This year’s book fair will be a bit like a Mini Lit Fest with readings accompanying the book fair. Sally Spedding (no stranger to Llandeilo and its festivals) will be showcasing her books at the Horeb Chapel on the day of the book fair, Sat Dec 9th, but she will also be reading in the Red Cross Book Shop at 1:00 from “Behold a Pale Horse”.

This is a literary thriller, set mainly in docklands London and Collioure in Roussillon in 1983, with a tragic, historical backstory involving the purge of the Knights Templar in 1307. Clement and Catherine’s new marriage is a sham, and her one, reckless false move will change their lives for ever.

    FINAL PART OF A REVIEW OF ‘BEHOLD A PALE HORSE’ frontcover_ver8_900.jpeg

Sally Spedding’s carefully constructed novel successfully straddles time and space.  The mood becomes increasingly chilling as the two narratives relentlessly swirl together and create a turbulent gothic vortex into which the protagonists are irresistibly pulled.  The book explores the fragility of love and humanity as medieval Europe’s apocalyptic mindset gallops into the twentieth century with brutal and destructive consequences.  Having previously read Spedding’s The Yellowhammer’s Cradle I expected Behold A Pale Horse to be a thought-provoking journey into the macabre.  I was not disappointed and this book will appeal to readers who, like me, enjoy haunting thrillers in dystopian settings.


Reviewer: Dorothy Marshall-Gent  MYSTERY PEOPLE


Sally Spedding is the author of ten crime novels, also ‘Strangers Waiting,’ a short story collection and ‘How to Write a Chiller Thriller.’ Her latest crime chiller, ‘Behold a Pale Horse,’ set in France and London, is out now. Her backlist, ‘Wringland,’ Cloven,’ ‘A Night With No Stars,’ ‘Prey Silence ’ and ‘Come and be Killed’ will be published by Endeavour Press as paperbacks and e-bks. ‘Cut to the Bone’ (2015) has been optioned for film, and will be shot in Jamaica in 2018.

She is also an award-winning poet.


Introducing the authors of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair Dec 9th: Judith Arnopp

Judith will be presenting her books at the Christmas Book Fair in the Shire Hall. Here is an interview to introduce you to her amazing work:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

I am very lucky to live on the Welsh coast where I enjoy walking on the beach and cliff path, gardening with my husband and working in my study with the stunning sea view. I have four grown-up birth children, three step children whom I regard as my own, two grandsons (so far) and three step grandchildren. I love my family, Wales and the environment, all of which has a positive impact on my career as a historical novelist.

Why did you choose to write historical fiction?

I was interested in history long before I became an author. A class project in (drops her voice to a whisper) 1970s was about the way history has maligned Richard the Third so I was on to that topic well  before they dug him up and the hysteria began. When I was little I wrote stories and read them to my dolls, when I was a teenager I poured my angst onto paper and when I was a young mother I wrote stories with my children as protagonists. So I think I was born to write, there is nothing else I would consider doing; it is an instinct and if I haven’t written for a week or so I become very grumpy.

After I graduated writing seemed the natural choice. I don’t think it was a decision but more of a progression. I began my first (and never to be published) novel at university. When I finished it the sense of achievement was immense; I was astounded that I had actually done it. At the time I didn’t realise the hard work was only just beginning. I have just completed my tenth historical novel and, although I doubt I will ever be a household name, I am doing very nicely, with a steadily growing fan base. My email box is always full of messages from readers saying how much they enjoyed the last and asking for the next.

When I write it isn’t a matter of dates or records although I do try to get them right. I am interested in perspective, how it felt to be in a certain situation in a particular political climate. There are many books about Anne Boleyn but when I wrote The Kiss of the Concubine I climbed inside Anne’s head and wrote from her perspective, exploring possible reasons behind some of her actions. I am very careful to be as accurate as possible and look at things from all angles. My readers seem to like that aspect of my work – I don’t just recount events but try to explain why they happened.

What in particular fascinates you about the era(s) you write about?

Tudor history has always fascinated me but when I began writing I mistakenly believed the Tudor era had been done to death so I concentrated on Anglo-Saxon and Medieval period. The early books, Peaceweaver, The Forest Dwellers and The Song of Heledd did quite well and set the foundations of my fan base but I constantly asked to write a novel set in Tudor England, so I did. The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII is the story of a prostitute working in Southwark during Henry VIII’s marriages to Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. This one shot up the charts very quickly, becoming Amazon best seller for some time, so I decided to stay in the  Tudor period and see where it would take me. I am very glad I did.

Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?

Everyone is searching for the truth in history. Was Richard the third a murderer of innocents or a nice guy? Was Anne Boleyn guilty or framed? What turned Henry VIII from the prince of chivalry into a megalomaniac? We will never know the answers but it is fun to speculate and of course the first question that needs to be answered is: What is truth anyway? As far as I am concerned, there is no truth. That is why I never become involved in hot-headed on-line debates; truth is variable and dependent upon the witness. Every event, every recorded instance has another story behind it, another perspective, or another possible explanation. Researching the past is like being in a tall building with a hundred windows, each showing a different aspect of the invents, or an alternative route I can take. I wrote a blog some time ago about this that you can read here.

What makes you laugh?

I am very fortunate to have a very witty and amusing husband. We’ve been together for thirty-six years yet he still makes me laugh out loud every day. After so long together he knows exactly how to tickle my sense of humour and as a result our day is peppered with constant banter. It is something I am extremely grateful for because if you can laugh, life can never become too bad.

What are you working on now? 

I have just finished The King’s Mother the last book in a trilogy called The Beaufort Chronicles. The novels follow the life of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII. She was married at an extraordinarily young age to Edmund Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke, and spent the first years of her marriage in South Wales. The Beaufort Bride takes place at fabulous Welsh locations like Caldicot Castle, Lamphey Palace, Carmarthen and of course, Pembroke where Henry was born. I always make sure I visit the locations prior to writing so I can get a feel of the place and perhaps a glimpse of how my characters might have lived there.

Book Two, The Beaufort Woman, takes place in the reign of King Edward IV when Margaret needed all her wits to survive at the Yorkist court. Married to Henry Stafford, a younger son of the Duke of Buckingham, she comes to terms with the new regime and forms a tentative friendship with Queen Elizabeth Woodville. But after the king’s sudden death and Richard of Gloucester’s acquisition of the throne, Margaret and Elizabeth work together to bring the new king down and replace him with their children, Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York.

The third and final book in the trilogy is The King’s Mother in which Margaret, having achieved her goal, takes her place as one of the chief advisors to the king. She soon discovers that life at the top is not the bed of roses she had imagined.

Blurb for The Beaufort Bride

As King Henry VI slips into insanity and the realm of England teeters on the brink of civil war, a young girl is married to the mad king’s brother. Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, takes his child bride into Wales where she discovers a land of strife and strangers.

At Caldicot Castle and Lamphey Palace Margaret must put aside childhood, acquire the dignity of a Countess and, despite her tender years, produce Richmond with a son and heir.

While Edmund battles to restore the king’s peace Margaret quietly supports his quest; but it is a quest that ultimately results in his untimely death.

As the friction between York and Lancaster intensifies 14-year-old Margaret, now widowed, turns for protection to her brother-in-law, Jasper Tudor.  At his stronghold in Pembroke, two months after her husband’s death, Margaret gives birth to a son whom she names Henry, after her cousin the king.

Margaret is small of stature but her tiny frame conceals a fierce and loyal heart and a determination that will not falter until her son’s destiny as the king of England is secured.

The Beaufort Bride traces Margaret’s early years from her nursery days at Bletsoe Castle to the birth of her only son in 1457 at Pembroke Castle.

Blurb for The Beaufort Woman

As the struggle between York and Lancaster continues, Margaret Beaufort fights for admittance to the court of the victorious Edward IV of York and his unpopular queen, Elizabeth Woodville.

The old king and his heir are dead, leaving only Margaret’s son, the exiled Henry Tudor, with a tenuous claim to the throne. The royal nursery is full, with two small princes securing York’s continuing rule.

But Edward and Elizabeth’s magnificent court hides a dark secret, a deception that threatens the security of the English throne … and all who lust after it.

In 1483, with the untimely death of the King, Margaret finds herself at the heart of chain of events that threaten the supremacy of York, and will change England forever.

The Beaufort Woman: One woman’s selfless struggle for the rights of her son.

Blurb for The King’s Mother

With the English crown finally in his possession, Henry Tudor’s endeavours to restore order to the realm are hindered by continuing unrest. While the king is plagued with uprisings and pretenders to his throne, Margaret in her capacity as The King’s Mother oversees the running of his court.

The warring houses of York and Lancaster are united, the years of civil strife are at an end but, as the royal nursery fills with children, the threats to Henry’s throne persist and Margaret’s expectation of perfect harmony begins to disintegrate.

As quickly as Henry dispatches those whose move against him, new conflicts arise and, dogged by deceit and the harrowing shadow of death, Margaret realises that her time for peace has not yet come.

Intrigue, treason and distrust blights the new Tudor dynasty, challenging Margaret’s strength of character and her steadfast faith in God

The King’s Mother is the third and final book in The Beaufort Chronicles, tracing the life of Margaret Beaufort.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

Lots of people think I am odd but I prefer to see it as ‘individual’. Years ago, when I first turned vegetarian, we were a bit of a rarity, and I think that is when the label ‘odd’ was first applied to me. It stuck even more when I started banging on about climate change and the anti-hunting ban, and protested about animal testing etc. etc. etc.

In a posh town north of London, I was the strange woman with goats and chickens in her back garden. I was the odd woman who put a lead on her goats and took them for walks to the park. Strangely, once I moved to West Wales I became less eccentric but whether that is to do with the Welsh being less judgemental or as ‘odd’ as me I wouldn’t like to stay.

Despite all that though most people say I am kind and genuine. I will help people if they ask me but I am very shy and often hesitate to offer for fear of rejection. I tend to hang on to the people who understand me, people who don’t like me, don’t matter.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

I went to university as a mature student and had grave misgivings that I’d not be up to the challenge. After twenty years of being a mother my confidence was at a low ebb. Surprisingly I did very well. My tutors always remarked that my essays were well written, even when they were ill-conceived. My history tutors, Professors William Marx and Janet Burton, persuaded me history was the way to go. My creative writing tutor, playwright Dic Edwards was also encouraging, urging me to write ‘something long.’ When I produced my first novel he urged me to try to get it published but I didn’t; I knew it wasn’t good enough but his enthusiasm encouraged me to sit straight down and write another. My first decent novel, Peaceweaver, was published in 2009. I can never give enough thanks to Lampeter University and the people who taught me there and opened my mind and got me thinking again. They changed my life.

Who are your favourite authors?

There are so many. Hilary Mantel is my current favourite; I love the way she breaks rules, is not afraid to speak out or deal with public adversity. Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies are a superb journey into the Tudor court; I can never even hope to emulate her. Many people disliked her portrayal of Anne Boleyn and it was very different to my own but she was showing us Anne through Cromwell’s eyes, and she did it magnificently.

I love the classics of course; Shakespeare and Chaucer and Dickens for their characters and drama. For easy reading I tend to stick to historical but the genre is very mixed, some of it is dreadful, some fabulous; you have to seek out the good authors and quietly ignore the not so good. I never write bad reviews. One of my favourite modern day historical authors is M. M. Bennetts who sadly passed way a short time ago. Her books Of Honest Fame and May 1812 are outstanding. I also loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. For me, the thing that makes a good book is the journey to another time. If an author can make me forget I live in the 21st century and introduce me to solid, three dimensional historical characters and make me care about their lives, then they can count me as a fan.

What is your advice to new writers?

Write. Being an author is about getting words on a page and crafting them into art. Don’t waste time on social media, don’t worry about writing like other people. Join a class, polish your skills and write, write, write. If you don’t you aren’t a writer just a wannabe.

Bio: Judith Arnopp is the author of historical fiction set in the  Tudor period. Her novels include The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIIIThe Kiss of the Concubine: a story of Anne BoleynIntractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr: A Song of Sixpence: the story of Elizabeth or York and Perkin Warbeck and her latest project The Beaufort Chronicles which traces the life of Margaret Beaufort in three volumes The Beaufort Bride, The Beaufort Woman and The King’s Mother. Book One and two are available now and Book three is due for publication in December 2017.

For more information about Judith’s work click on the links below.




Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-fiction-by-Judith-Arnopp–124828370880823/