Please welcome the wonderful Anne Easter Smith...
An Interview with Jane Shore
AES: How would you describe yourself?
JANE: Much too short, unfortunately. I wish I had some of your inches! I’m told I am pretty, and I know my sister envied my blonde hair, but I think my breasts are too big (can I talk about that or is it impolite--not that I particularly care about that sort of thing) and my neck isn’t long enough for the gorgeous necklaces Edward used to hang on it. I do like the color of my eyes, though. It is very changeable and it gives men a really hard time when they are asked to describe it. They are sea-green--and you know how many different colors the sea can turn.
JANE: Ha! Is that what they say? Well, then, let me see if I can make you laugh. Do you want to hear about my most embarrassing moment? Yes? It happened when Edward took me to Windsor for the first time and the queen was there, too. One morning, while I was dabbling my feet in the river, a little dog bounded up to me, and I picked her up and cuddled her. Suddenly, I heard a woman calling “Ficelle,” and I guessed it was the dog’s mistress. Addle-pate that I am, I jumped up to return the creature when I realized it was the queen. Have you ever gone as red as kermes dye? Well, I did right then when Elizabeth recognized me. She was not very nice, I remember. But then she wasn’t often nice to anyone except Edward.
AES: Weren’t you awestruck when you were summoned to the the palace and met King Edward alone for the first time?
JANE: By all that is holy, I was terrified. He ended up laughing at me when I demanded to go home and was not to be so easily taken. He was so charming and, honestly, so disarming, I could not resist him, I’m sorry to say. Nay, I’m not sorry--I had a wonderful eight years with him.
AES: But then you lost him unexpectedly.
JANE: Aye, sadly he died -- we don’t know of what -- and I realized how alone I was in the world. You see, my family had disowned me when I had my marriage to that bore William Shore--oh, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it--annulled and became the king’s concubine. You are fortunate in the 21st century, because a woman can support herself without the need of a man. I was expected to obey my father, marry whomever he chose for me, and then obey my husband. I chafed at that, let me tell you! But back to Edward’s death. I’m immodest to admit this but Edward’s good friend and chamberlain had been in love with me all through my time with Edward, and when he offered me his protection, I’m afraid I took it.
AES: As you say, you really had no choice. But Will Hastings was good to you, was he not?
JANE: He was the best friend anyone could ever have. I loved him dearly, but we were not destined to be together for long.
AES: I don’t want to give away the story too much or my readers won’t read the book. I think your story is fascinating, although I wouldn’t have liked to be you when Richard III turned his attention on you. But then Richard was on a mission to avenge what he saw as your and Will’s bad influence on his brother. He thought the two of you, with your dissolute lifestyles, dragged Edward down.
JANE: Pah! Richard was too serious for his own good. If he had laughed a little more and treated some of us better, perhaps he would not have ended up under a car park.
AES: Before you say anything too bad about Richard, I must tell you that he is my most favorite king and the reason I got into writing novels in the first place. I believe he was acting the only way he knew how--out of a sense of duty to his name, his family and his country, and from a rather high-moral standpoint. He was thrust into a position of power that he had not expected, and his character was such that by being strict and highly principled it allowed him a stable base from which to rule the chaos that he found in London. You are known for your kind heart; is there anything good you can say about him?
JANE: Certes, I can. He loved his wife and son truly, (giggles) but I also know he loved his mistress, Kate Haute. Do you know we encountered one another on the street one day and had a cup of ale together? I learned a lot about Richard from her, and it helped me forgive him for the penance he made me do. I believe that once he settled into his reign, he enacted some good laws that helped the common people. That is laudable. I don’t think Edward was as concerned with the well being of the yeomanry as Richard was, but it still does not excuse what he did to poor Will.
AES: Yes, but we won’t go into that. I must say, you seem very laid back for someone whose life had so many ups and downs.
JANE: “Laid back?” Is that a 21st century expression?
AES: It means not much bothers you. You seem to have a very sunny nature and considering what you have gone through, it is probably what buoyed you in the hard times.
JANE: (laughing) Aye, I think it was what brought me to the man I really loved.
AES: I am assuming that was not the man you expected it to be, right? We shan’t mention any names so we don’t spoil the end.
JANE: A good idea. Why don’t we finish now and leave your readers in suspense!
AES: Thank you so much for your time, Jane.
JANE: What is it you say today? You are welcome? Certes, then you are most welcome. Good luck with selling your book; I can’t wait to read it!
About Royal Mistress
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
From the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family in the Wars of the Roses, telling the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the final and favorite mistress of Edward IV.
Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.
Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance.
This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.
About the Author
Anne Easter Smith is an award-winning historical novelist whose research and writing concentrates on England in the 15th century. Meticulous historical research, rich period detail, and compelling female protagonists combine to provide the reader with a sweeping portrait of England in the time of the Wars of the Roses. Her critically acclaimed first book, A Rose for the Crown, debuted in 2006, and her third, The King's Grace, was the recipient of a Romantic Times Review Best Biography award in 2009. A Queen by Right has been nominated by Romantic TImes Review for the Best Historical Fiction award, 2011.
Passages to the Past has one copy of Royal Mistress up for grabs. To enter, please complete the giveaway form below.
Giveaway is open to US only and ends on May 17th. Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway