Monday, April 7, 2014

New Release Queen Elizabeth's Daughter - Author Interview- Anne Clinard Barnhill

I'm so happy to introduce an author whose talking today about her newest release Queen Elizabeth's Daughter which not only tells a story of the Tudors but also of her own ancestors The Sheltons. Please enjoy our conversation and feel free to comment below!


  • ISBN-13: 9781250043795
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Edition description: (2 volume set)
  • Pages: 384

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.  But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery.

 Read an Excerpt:


After eleven years under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, the England of 1569 found itself prospering, due mainly to the peace brought by the queen’s foreign policies. Through cunning use of her status as an eligible young woman seemingly eager to be wed, the queen had been able to walk a thin line between maidenhood and marriage, leading to the security and, for the most part, happiness of her people. When France threatened, she pretended to entertain the possibility of marriage to the Duke of Anjou. When Spain became menacing, she turned her romantic attentions to her former brother-in-law, King Philip. She pleased the Protestants by flirting with the royalty of the German states. By balancing her numerous suitors, Queen Elizabeth kept the rich jewel that England had become from the entanglements of war. As a result, she was able to refill the coffers of the crown, which had been emptied by her sister’s previous reign when Queen Mary I had supported her foreign husband’s fruitless war efforts. Elizabeth took great care not to fall into a similar trap. She refused to make war and she refused to make a domestic match.
Though she had kept her country safe from foreign entanglements, there were still problems on English soil. The religious struggles between the Catholics, who lived mostly in the rural, northern parts of the land, and the stronghold of Protestants around London continued, though the queen was lenient in her dealings with recusants as long as they kept quiet and obeyed English law. However, this delicate balance was now beginning to teeter because Mary, Queen of Scots, had been deposed by her Scottish lords due to the mysterious death of her husband, Lord Darnley, a death in which Mary herself had been implicated. Then Mary had been carried away by the Earl of Bothwell, who, it was said, kidnapped and raped her. In response to this gross insult to her person and dignity, and much to Elizabeth’s horror, the Scottish queen married the man.
Such events proved too much for the lords of Scotland to endure, and Queen Mary lost her crown. In desperation, she turned to her cousin Elizabeth for shelter. Elizabeth quickly recognized the threat posed by this Catholic queen, who had as much right to the English throne as did Elizabeth, in the minds of many. Elizabeth immediately placed Mary under guard and limited her access to the outside world. However, this did nothing to stop Catholic conspiracies from springing up, intricate plans to place Mary on the throne, thereby returning the country to the rule of Rome. These plots gave Elizabeth and her guardians many sleepless nights. But few were aware of the threat, except the queen herself, Master Cecil, and Robert Dudley.
For Mistress Mary Shelton, now fifteen, the world seemed safe and secure; she attended to her studies, danced and played the virginals, embroidered clothing for the poor, chattered with the queen in the royal bedchamber, and ate as many gooseberry tarts as she could sneak past Mistress Blanche Parry.
Mary had lived at court since her parents’ deaths within a fortnight of each other in November 1558. Elizabeth had become queen that very month, a young, vibrant woman of twenty-five. At that moment, she had met the three-year-old orphan and taken the child into her care. Because Mary’s father had received his knighthood from King Henry VIII, any of his offspring underage at the time of his death would become royal wards. But Mary was the only one of his children under the age of fourteen; the rest had reached their majority. Mary’s future was at the queen’s disposal.
Mary was not only a ward, she was also Elizabeth’s cousin. Mary’s grandfather, Sir John Shelton, had married Anne Boleyn, sister of Sir Thomas Boleyn, Elizabeth’s grandfather. They were tied by bonds of kinship and, because of their long association, bonds of love.
Mary had not yet blossomed into the promised prettiness of her childhood. Her dark hair, thick and lustrous, was her best feature, along with her eyes, the same shade. Her mouth was set too primly and her nose was too long and sharp to make her breathtakingly beautiful. Though she had not fulfilled the high hopes the queen had had for her looks, she had that fresh allure reserved for the young. With her deep brown eyes and the smile that played around her mouth, she was beginning to feel her power as a woman. Her figure was shapely and she saw how the courtiers watched her taking delicate steps in the galliard on the rare occasions she consented to dance. She could see how her smile brought the same, answering response to the lips of even stodgy old men like Master Cecil.
Being brought up as the queen’s favorite had given Mary an imperious air, and when she spoke, it was to command. She was the queen’s cousin and royal ward. She was no shy flower waiting to be plucked. Rather, she was almost as forceful as the queen and often at odds with Her Majesty—they argued about the low cut of Mary’s gowns, the bit of rouge she put on her cheeks, and the way she flounced into a room. Few people at court had the courage to disagree with the queen. Mary Shelton was one who dared.

Anne welcome to The Reading Frenzy—
Thank you so much—I’m thrilled to be here.

Tell my readers about your new release Queen Elizabeths Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth 1. 
This book tells the story of another of my ancestors, Mary Shelton Scudamore, who was Elizabeth’s second cousin on her maternal side.  In the real world, Mary is somewhat famous for her broken finger, which Elizabeth splintered in a fit of rage when she discovered Mary had wed without royal permission.  In the novel, Mary is a royal ward and comes to court as a young child.  Elizabeth has strong maternal feelings for her and Mary becomes something like a surrogate daughter for the queen.  And, like any good mother, Elizabeth wants what’s best for her child, grooming Mary for a grand marriage.  Mary has other ideas.

Is this a sequel to At The Mercy of the Queen
No, not really.  Both are about Shelton women, ancestors.  At The Mercy of the Queen was about Margaret Shelton, one of three names mistresses of Henry VIII, and why she would have carried on with the king, when the queen, Anne Boleyn, was Margaret’s first cousin.  It’s really about how far one will go for friendship.

Anne your English ancestors The Shelton’s were active in Tudor times, are these the same Sheltons in your novels?
  Yes, they are.  Though to be honest, there are some people who don’t believe the American Sheltons are connected at all to the British Sheltons.  But I think they are and my grandmother gave me a book, printed in the 1940s, all about the Sheltons.
Is this where your love for historical fiction came from?  Partly.  I’ve always love history—I was a history minor in college and even taught American history years ago when I taught high school.  And of course, what I love about history is the stories—especially the stories that aren’t told.

Do you do novel research in the UK? 
Oh, I can only dream of travelling there—spending several months in England is on my bucket-list. 

If not how do you accomplish such intensive fact-finding?
 I’ve been reading about the Tudors for about 25 years and I own over 200 books about them, mostly nonfiction.  I’ve taken several graduate classes in Shakespeare and other playwrights of the day and the Jacobeans as well.  I love it all!  Plus, the internet allows a lot of armchair travelling, too.  And I think the power of the human imagination can take us anywhere.   Oh, and I lived there in another life!  LOL!

Anne your bio says youve been writing for most of your life, this however is only your second novel.
Tell us your
how I came to write fiction story please.
Though Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter is my second novel, it’s my fourth book. I also have a memoir, At Home in the Land of Oz: Autism, My Sister and Me and a book of short stories, What You Long For.  I started writing short stories years ago and slowly began publishing them, mostly in literary magazines and anthologies.  I just kept plugging along until I got lucky with these novels.  I do have a couple of unpublished novels under the bed!  I’ve always loved telling stories—even my cousins talk about when we were kids, how I’d scare the pants off them with ghost stories.

Anne your memoir At Home in the Land of Oz is about growing up in the 60s with an autistic sister.
How different do you think your memories would be had she been born with the advances of today?
  When my sister and I came along, anyone who didn’t behave ‘normally’ was really stared at and often made fun of—I don’t think that has changed much, unfortunately.  However, I do think many children and adults are sensitive to the issues.  In my day, my whole family was isolated, made to feel like outsiders.  Now, there are so many cases of autism, it’s not as unusual.  Some years ago, I went to a dinner with moms of autistic kids; there were about twenty women there, all laughing and letting off a little steam.  The camaraderie was delightful, everyone swapping strategies and names of doctors.  I ended up in the bathroom in tears, thinking what it would have meant to my mother to have had even one person understand.

Anne youve also published books of poetry.
Do you still write and publish poetry? 
Yes, I write it for myself mostly, though I did just have one accepted in the Appalachian Writers anthology.  I love poetry and wish I were better at it.

What are you working on now?
 I have two projects going on, sort of concurrently.  I’m revising a novel set in 1960, in the WV mountains—it’s very different from the Tudor novels but I think readers will like it…it’s about women helping each other, those bonds of female friendship.  And it’s also about a guy who wins a young girl in a poker game…The second project is deeply personal and I’m not talking about it yet.

Anne you also teach writing workshops so Im sure that new and aspiring authors ask you for advice.
s the first thing you tell them
First, I tell them to read everything they can get their hands on—novels, short stories, the classics, experimental stuff—and yes, poetry!  Then, I tell them to write from the heart those stories they care about, the stories that mean something to them.  And finally, I tell them to keep at it.  Writing is as much about the journey as the arrival at any supposed destination.

Anne thank you for chatting with me today. I cant wait to read your novel (it may be a while but I will do it) Good luck with it and all your future endeavors!
Do you have author events listed on your website
Yes, and thank you!

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Anne Clinard Barnhill has published short stories, poetry, a memoir, and hundreds of articles and book reviews over the past twenty years. She has taught writing in a variety of venues and has been a keynote speaker for numerous events. Her first novel, At the Mercy of the Queen, was published by St. Martin's Press in 2012. She lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Anne's other works-



  1. What an interesting interview Debbie! It must be an extraordinary experience to write about one's ancestors.
    I can't even imagine what it was like back then to have a member of the family suffering from autism. I'm so glad we had made so many advances in society when it comes to these disabilities, and we have a better understanding of them; although I agree, we still have a long way to go.
    I happen to indulge once in a while in Historical Fiction, I will keep this in mind for when the mood strikes next.
    Thank you!

    1. Loupe, thanks for the comment. I know it seems like we all think of all these afflictions as modern, it's so interesting learning about them historically.
      Historical fiction is my favorite way to learn history :)

  2. I love tales wrapped in actual history where we get the untold stories. This sounds delightful, thank you so much for the wonderful and fascinating interview!

  3. Oh how interesting they're based on family! That's so neat. I've been eyeing this one. It really does sound amazing. And oh I so like the bucket list of spending months in England researching. That would be incredible!