Interview with Barbara Kyle, author of Blood Between Queens


Publisher: Kensington Publishing

Publish Date: April 30, 2013

Order Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it.

Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancĂ© that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest rival. Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign…

Compelling and inventive, Blood Between Queens artfully blends history’s most intriguing figures with unforgettable characters, bringing to dazzling life the fascinating Tudor era.


Author Bio: Barbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed Tudor-era “Thornleigh” novels Blood Between Queens, The Queen’s Gamble, The Queen’s Captive, The King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady which follow a rising middle-class family through three tumultuous Tudor reigns. She also writes contemporary thrillers. Over 400,000 copies of her books have been sold in seven countries. In July 2013 Barbara will be a speaker at Ontario's world-renowned Stratford Festival with her talk "Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: A Study of Leadership Lost and Won" about the cousin-queens Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots featured in Blood Between Queens.

Barbara has taught writers at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations and conferences. Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the US.

Interview: Thank you, Star, for the invitation to reach out to your readers. I enjoy your blog.

Q. Please tell us about your current release.

Blood Between Queens is my fifth "Thornleigh" novel following the rise of a middle-class English family, the Thornleighs, through three turbulent Tudor reigns.

Blood Between Queens begins when Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England to escape her enemies and throws herself on the mercy of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth. Mary, however, has set her sights on the Elizabeth's throne, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it. Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But Justine comes to sympathize with Mary, and when Elizabeth holds Mary under house arrest and launches an inquiry into the accusations that she murdered her husband, the crisis splits the Thornleigh family apart.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Like many history lovers I'm fascinated by the deadly rivalry between cousins Elizabeth of England and Mary, Queen of Scots. When Mary arrived in England asking Elizabeth for asylum, she could never have suspected that Elizabeth would keep her under house arrest for the next nineteen years, and finally, after Mary's incessant plotting for Elizabeth's crown, execute her. For over four hundred years this story has enthralled the world. It enthralled me even more when I began the research. And I quickly learned that Mary generates high emotions in people: they either love her or hate her. Once I'd done enough research to form my own opinion, I had to weigh in. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll just say that Blood Between Queens takes no prisoners!

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

The journey of writing the Thornleigh Saga began with The Queen's Lady, set in the nerve-jangled court of Henry VIII during his campaign to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. The fictional characters I created - Honor Larke and Richard Thornleigh - are caught up in these dramatic historical events. That led to a sequel, The King's Daughter, which takes place in the reign of Henry's daughter, Mary I, and involves the Thornleigh's daughter, Isabel during the Wyatt Rebellion. The next book, The Queen's Captive, picks up with Honor in her quest to save Princess Elizabeth who is in the Tower, imprisoned by her half-sister Mary. The third book, The Queen's Gamble, features Isabel again in her mission to help the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth during a crisis in Scotland. The journey has now brought the Thornleigh family to the eighth year of Elizabeth's reign in  Blood Between Queens in which I introduce a new character, Justine,  the Thornleighs' ward.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

Well, the history cannot change, of course, and as for my fictional characters' decisions and passions, joys and regrets, their actions feel quite immutable too. So I can't say that I would change anything.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Putting my characters Justine and Will though deep emotional pain. Their loving relationship in Blood Between Queens is strained to the breaking point because of the actions they take from divergent loyalties. I felt for them!

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

Actually, I cannot listen to music when I'm writing. I love music too much,  and tend to sing along, whether it's Norah Jones or Bach or Sting. Too distracting! (I do, however, turn on Jazz FM the moment I've finished the day's writing.)

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Hmm, I'd say it's that when I'm at work on creating a book's first draft I cannot start the day's work until I've revised - fixed - what I wrote the day before. I adore fixing, so I have to cut myself off at noon and get cracking on creating the next "bit."

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Yes, I'm just finishing the next "Thornleigh" book. It's set in 1572 and features Adam Thornleigh joining the Dutch rebels who called themselves the Sea Beggars in their real-life fight against their Spanish occupiers. (I liken them to the Resistance in WW2 fighting the Nazis.) After that, my publisher has signed me to write another book. So there are lots more adventures of the Thornleigh family ahead. By the way, each "Thornleigh" story stands alone. To enjoy one book, a reader doesn't have to have read any of the previous ones.

Q. Please tell us your latest news.

I'm excited about giving a talk at Ontario's renowned Stratford Festival on July 10, 2013. My talk is "Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: Leadership Lost and Won," and I'll sign copies of Blood Between Queens afterwards. So, dear readers, come to Stratford for some spectacular theatre and stay to hear my talk!

Also exciting: I'm firming up details for a weeklong writing and yoga retreat in Brazil for the spring of 2014. I love teaching writers  - I've led workshops for many writers groups and conferences - and this one will take place in a lovely yoga centre on Brazil's stunning east coast. For anyone who's interested, the information will soon be posted on my website www.BarbaraKyle.com.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

A big "thank you" for their interest in my books! I love hearing from readers, and I reply to every email. So do get in touch. Email me at bkyle@barbarakyle.com and follow me on Twitter @BKyleAuthor



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