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Monday, 7 November 2016

Author Interview: Seven Will Out by JoAnn Spears



Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel
JoAnn Spears

Genre: Historical fiction, satire, women's fiction,
chick lit, alternative history, historical fantasy

Print Length: 402 pages

Publication Date: November 9, 2015

ASIN: B017TCUYHA

Book Description:

If you thought Six of One: A Tudor Riff was the most fun you could have with your nightdress on, wait until you see what Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel has in store. Get ready for one 'ruff' night!

Tudorphile Dolly thought that the night she spent on an astral plane with Henry VIII's six wives, learning their heretofore unknown secrets, was a one-time thing. Not so! In Seven Will Out, Dolly finds herself back in the ether with the women of later Tudor times: Elizabeth I, ‘Bloody’ Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, to name a few. They too have secrets that will turn history on its head, and comic sass that will keep you laughing.
You've read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary Tudors. Why not try your Tudors with a new and different twist?


Get it Free Nov 2-4




Excerpt from Seven Will Out: Chapter Fourteen, Menagerie and Query

My two welcoming companions were not, as on my last visit, those two medieval beauties, Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth of York, grandmother and mother of Henry VIII.
On my last stay here, I had learned that this was a strictly ladies-only domicile. That is why I rapidly concluded that my companions, who were a couple of dogs, were likely also a couple of bitches. This is not as rancorous a statement as you may think.
You see, my stirring about had agitated two toy-size dogs that had been lying at the foot of the bed, setting them to romping and frolicking around. I settled them down a bit and then zeroed in for a closer look at my strange bedfellows.
One of them I had met before. I had not gotten its name, but I knew it to be the terrier that had belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, at the time of her death. Said pup had attended Mary’s execution, hidden under her skirts; it barked piteously as it emerged, bloodstained, unable to decide whether to stay with the decapitated queen’s body or with her head. Eventually it mourned itself to death. My understanding had been that, after my last visit here, the Tudor denizens of this celestial way station would have vacated the premises for good. But if this dog—and another to boot— were present here, then likely the queen of Scots was again, or perhaps still, in residence. And heaven knew who else.
I looked a little closer at the other dog to try to figure out what, or at least, whose, it was. It appeared to be a sweet little bichon frise, and it looked back at me with head atilt and tail wagging.
Por quoi!” a female voice called from without the room, and the little bichon perked up its ears.
Por quoi to you too!” I sang out, playing for time as I tried to recall some of my high school French. As I did, I realized that I had just unintentionally given someone “what for.” I hoped this wouldn’t mean that my stay here this time was going to start off with me giving a bad impression. Wanting to take no chances, I got out of bed and began to smooth, as best I could, the wrinkles from my nightdress. As I did so, the person outside my room, getting closer by the sound of her voice, riposted my comment.
Your French accent is execrable, Dolly!”
I wondered fleetingly if Marie Antoinette was in residence, but this was not the case. The lady who eventually rounded the doorway and entered my room was someone I had met before. She sported the Renaissance equivalent of a hippie-chick outfit that had seen better days. A parrot was circling above her in a holding pattern, and she was trailed by several feline friends whose orange calico markings resembled her own ginger coloring.
I knew whose tragic and fascinating presence I was in.



About the Author:

JoAnn Spears couldn’t decide whether to major in English or History in college. Life stepped in, and she wound up with a Master’s Degree in Nursing instead. A twenty-five year nursing career didn’t extinguish that early interest in books and history-especially Tudor history. It did, however, stoke a decidedly gallows sense of humor.

Eventually, JoAnn read just about every spin there was on the stories of Henry VIII and the extended Tudor family. Every spin, that is, except the one with the gallows humor. The Tudors certainly qualified for it, but it just wasn’t out there. JoAnn decided that with gallows humor to spare, she would do her best to remedy the Tudor comedy gap. A little inspiration from the classic “Wizard of Oz” showed her the way to go, and “Six of One”, a new kind of Tudor novel, was born.

JoAnn thought “Six of One”, her story about Henry VIII’s six wives, would be an only literary child. Then, two years after its birth, she was caught by surprise with the idea for a sequel. In October, 2015, “Seven Will Out” made its debut and bought the latter-day Tudors into the comedy mix.

JoAnn enjoys writing but maintains her nursing license because a) you never stop being a nurse and b) her son thinks she should be sensible and not quit her day job. She also enjoys life in the beautiful mountains of northeast Tennessee, where she gardens, embroiders antique reproduction samplers, and teaches yoga in her Methodist church basement. JoAnn shares her home with three cats and the works of Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, Louisa May Alcott, and of course, Alison Weir.




Author Twitter address: @JoAnnSpearsRn




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Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I start with a basic overarching theme - - for Six of One, for example, it was that Henry VIII’s wives would each, somehow, get over on him in a comic novel in which they told their stories to a modern-day heroine.   Seven Will Out has the same structure, just taking it to the next Tudor generation and Shakespeare.  From there, for the most part, it all just flowed.  There were a few log jams, though, along the way; the Katharine of Aragon subplot in Six of One and the Catherine Willoughby subplot in Seven Will Out come to mind.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 

There are so many of them in each story, it would be like a revolution if they did .  They don’t take over the story so much as they take over my imagination after-hours.

What is your favourite food?

Soup.  I love to cook and eat all kinds of soups at all times of year.  I just made a pot of tomato-bacon-apple-wild rice soup that was just awesome.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Neither.  I like to go to be early and sleep late. I guess that makes me a slug-a-bed.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I would love to visit the British Isles and see all of the places associated with the Tudor history I’ve read so much about.  I would also like to do an English garden tour someday; I love flower gardens.
I would also like to visit Poland some day; my dad’s people are Polish.

Do distant places feature in your books?

If you consider a castle turret on an astral plane, where the shades of the Tudor women spend their days waiting for a modern-day woman to come and save the day for them a faraway place….then yes!  
Otherwise, no.  In both Six of One and Seven Will Out, most of the action taking place in that other-worldly castle turret.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I do my best writing outdoors, where it is quiet.  I do listen to music when I clean house.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Seven Will Out will, I hope, appeal to Tudors fans and to fans of Shakespeare or Marlowe conspiracy theory, if they are prepared to take their history with a sense of humor and a grain of salt.  

The book finds a modern-day heroine, who has already received comic ‘revelations’ from the six wives of Henry VIII on an astral plane, back on that plane with the second generation Tudors and their associates: Elizabeth I, Jane Grey, Bloody Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Arabella Stuart, Mary Queen of Scots, and many others. They have quite the Shakespearian tale to tell, and all in one night.  I like to think of it as a cosmic pajama party with the Tudors, with all the wine and dishing that goes with that.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

I’ve self-published both my books, and the exercise has been more than anything else a lesson in humility and gratitude. 

I’ve learned not to get too inflated with a good review, because a humbling one will inevitably follow, eventually. I’ve learned to learn as much from a bad review as from a good one.

I am profoundly grateful to the very friendly Tudor and book-blogger communities for their open-mindedness and assistance along the way, and to my readers for taking a chance on books that are totally different and probably something of a risk for the traditional Tudor reader.  I doubted, going into self-publishing, that I would see that kind of support from the public and the reading community; I thought I would write and that somehow it would all fall into a vacuum.  It was marvelous to learn that it wasn’t so!

Is there anything you would do differently?

I wish I had started writing earlier; I’ve felt a bit behind the eight-ball, at times, starting out at around age 50.  However, I lacked the confidence when I was very young, and the time when I was a two-job single mother.  Better late than never!

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman series gave me the confidence to attempt to bring some humor to the story of the Tudors.

Barbara Pym’s sly wit was a huge influence.  I’ll never be able to do it as subtly as she did but I’ve always found her puckishness inspiring.

I’ve also idolized Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, ever since I was a child.
I also of course owe a huge debt to Tudor historians, especially Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Have confidence in your ability to get it done, but stay humble enough to seek help and take constructive criticism to heart.

What are three words that describe you?

Nerd, nerd, and nerd.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

Barbara Pym is probably my favorite writer, and Excellent Women is probably my favorite from among her books.

My favorite historical fiction work is Kate O’Brien’s That Lady, about the Renaissance-era Princess of Eboli.  Rachel Fields’ All This and Heaven Too is also a favorite in that genre.

I am also a fool for the classics.  Anna Karenina, Gone with the Wind, Cranford, and anything Jane Austen or Sherlock Holmes (original canon) are great favorites.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

If you thought Six of One: A Tudor Riff was the most fun you could have with your nightdress on, wait until you see what Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel has in store for Tudors fans and Shakespeare and Marlowe conspiracy theorists.  Get ready for one 'ruff' night!

Tudorphile Dolly thought that the night she spent on an astral plane with Henry VIII's six wives, learning their heretofore unknown secrets, was a one-time thing. Not so! In Seven Will Out, Dolly finds herself back in the ether with the women of later Tudor times: Elizabeth I, 'Bloody' Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, to name a few. They too have secrets that will turn history on its head, and comic sass that will keep you laughing. And if that isn't enough, there is even a cameo appearance by Anne Boleyn.

You've read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary characters of the English Renaissance. Why not try your Tudors and your Shakespeare with a new and different twist?

List of previous books if any

My first book was Six of One:  A Tudor Riff, a comic alternative history about Henry VIII’s six wives.

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