Meet Victoria Lamb and get a chance to win her "The Queen's Secret" (read the giveaway details below) .
While studying Elizabethan playwrights at university, Victoria Lamb always dreamed of writing a series of novels about Shakespeare's 'Dark Lady'. Now a busy mother of five, she has finally achieved that ambition after much research, fixing on the fascinating figure of Lucy Morgan as Shakespeare's Muse.
Victoria lives in Warwickshire, also known as Shakespeare Country, only twenty minutes from Kenilworth Castle where her novel, "The Queen's Secret", is set. The middle daughter of bestselling novelist Charlotte Lamb, Victoria grew up in the peaceful Isle of Man, benefitting from a vast library of thousands of books and a family of published writers from which to take inspiration. She is presently working on a new novel featuring Lucy Morgan and William Shakespeare.
Her other work includes several books of poetry published under the name Jane Holland, and a paranormal Tudor series for Young Adult readers as Victoria Lamb, launching with "Witchstruck" in summer 2012. Here is my interview with her.

Your debut historical The Queen's Secret is about Queen Elizabeth I and her spectacular visit to Kenilworth Castle in July 1575, the home of court favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. What drew you to this topic?

I live very close to Kenilworth and often visit the castle with my young family, so her visit there on annual Progress made a natural choice of subject when I decided to write a novel about the Tudors. It really put the rural county of Warwickshire on the map in 1575, and rather like Bilbo Baggins' party in Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring", its firework displays became the stuff of legend hereabouts. 

Elizabeth herself has been an obsession for me since I first read Jean Plaidy's wonderful novel, "The Young Elizabeth", as a teenager. Elizabeth's bravery and intelligence in surviving the many obstacles between her and the throne made her an an unforgettable figure for me. Not only did Elizabeth go on to become a long-lived and influential Queen of England, but she is still a role model for women in terms of her political astuteness and independence. And although the cult of the Virgin that she encouraged is not particularly something to inspire us today, it did provide poets with a template for some powerful female characters, like Titania in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" or Spencer's epic "Faerie Queen" herself. My own Elizabeth has as many passionate urges as cold political ambitions, and it's that complex of warring impulses that made her such a fruitful character to write. 

Do you have a favourite scene in The Queen's Secret?
I have so many favourite scenes, I'm not sure which to pick. But one of my key characters is Lucy Morgan, a young black entertainer at the court, and the scene where she is almost attacked by a big black bear is one which I will always remember with affection. The bear gets loose and charges towards her, roaring and showing its teeth. Lucy is terrified, naturally enough, but bravely stands her ground. Her actions are noticed by Robert, Earl of Leicester, who immediately senses that this is a young woman whose courage the Queen may appreciate and even need, especially with her throne under constant threat from Catholic plotters.

In other words, this little episode may seem inconsequential on the surface, but it not only triggers Lucy's rise to prominence at court but is also the reader's first intimation that terrible danger may lie ahead for these characters.

Who might enjoy reading The Queen's Secret?

This is a novel which should appeal to a fairly wide range of readers, since it's partly a spy novel, partly an historical adventure, partly romantic fiction, and even partly political intrigue. The Tudor court was a highly complex and sophisticated world, and The Queen's Secret tries to reflect that in its narrative structure. There are three female point of view characters - Queen Elizabeth, her love-rival Lettice Knollys, and young Lucy Morgan - plus one male narrator, who is Master Goodluck, a theatrical-cum-spy who also happens to be Lucy's guardian. The novel stands alone, but there is a sequel coming next year which further develops the characters of Master Goodluck, Lucy Morgan, and the young William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare is a character in The Queen Secret, isn't he?

Yes, William Shakespeare appears several times in this novel, where he encounters Lucy Morgan for the first time and forges a friendship with her. He was only eleven years old in 1575, of course, but many historians believe that William might have travelled to Kenilworth Castle with his father that summer to see the queen and the lavish spectacles laid on for her Progress. Certainly there are hints of this influential visit in some of his plays.

What's next for Victoria Lamb?

Besides launching The Queen's Secret this month, I also have a Young Adult novel entitled "Witchstruck" due out in July. It's the first in a paranormal series about a determined young Tudor witch who risks her life - and her love - to follow her aunt into the Craft. 

Thanks a lot Victoria for answering my questions and being such a  kind guest 

Many thanks for having me on Fly High!, and good luck to anyone entering "The Queen's Secret" giveaway!

Giveaway details 

To win the hardback copy of The Queen's Secret , leave your comment here and remember to add your e-mail address. The giveaway is open internationally and ends on March 2nd.


Phoebe's Sisters said...

Your book sounds wonderful! Elizabeth I has always been a fascination of mine and I'd love to have the chance to read your book :-)) Thank you for the giveaway!


Krista said...

I love that Victoria is a Shakespeare Muse! This book sounds lovely. I love Shakespeare with a passion. I too am a mother of 5 so to write a wonderful novel is a great accomplishment! Can't wait to read! Thanks for the giveaway. But even if I don't win this is already on my reading list!


Tabitha said...

Your story sounds incredibly fantastic. Thank you for giving us this wonderful opportunity to win it in a giveaway :-)


Jane said...

Thank you so much for your kind enthusiasm, Farida, Krista and Tabitha. I do hope if you win The Queen's Secret - or acquire it in the future - that you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Linda said...

Sounds great. I've read other Elizabeth I novels with brief encounters with Shakespeare and that seems a very appealing mix. Thanks for the giveaway.

Giada M. said...

Queen Elizabeth I!*_* The Queen's Secret sounds like a great read. "Partly a spy novel, partly an historical adventure, partly romantic fiction, and even partly political intrigue"...well, I'm sold! Thank you for the interview and for the chance to win this awesome book! :)

Giada M.

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Debra Brown said...

I have a vacation coming up in the fall and would love to have this book with me.

kescah at comcast dot net

traveler said...

The Queen's Secret sounds captivating and memorable. Many thanks for this wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

What a fascinating novel filled with intrigue and great history. this book would be a treasure. Thanks for this opportunity. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Literary Chanteuse said...

I can never get enough of the Tudors. This sounds like quite a good one too! Thank for the giveaway!


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

Sounds like I would love this book! Please enter me:

Liz V. said...

Please enter my name, with thanks for the giveaway.

Terry said...

Would love to read this one. Sounds like a great story. Will definitely add this to my TBR list.

Tmrtini at gmail dot com

Passages to the Past said...

I loved the interview and am DYING to read this book! Thanks to you and Victoria for the giveaway!


Thank you,

Passages to the Past

Liz Kales - I Love Books and Writers said...

I've recently read all of Gregory's books about the Tudors, so this book sounds fascinating to me. Thank you very much for the chance to win it.

Liz Kales albetkales@shaw.ca

Anonymous said...

Love shakespeare so much:). Would love to read any book that has Shakespeare story in it:), arethazhen(at)rocketmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a fascinating account of a book I'd love to read !
Especially the combination of historical adventure, political intrigue & romantic fiction sounds like a perfect 'mix' to me !

Would very much like to be included in the give-away opportunity :)

Kindest regards,

(at Kenilworth Gardens/London)


buddyt said...

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

Much appreciated.

This sounds like it wouild be a very interesting read so please enter me.


Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

This story looks like a wonderful read! I love reading about this period of time and I enjoy reading Shakespeare. His sonnets are my favorite. Thank you so much for holding this exciting giveaway!



Mystica said...

The book sounds good! Please count me in.


Teri said...

The books sounds very interesting! Thank you for the opportunity.

terig965 at aol.com

Gigi said...

The book sounds really reaaally awesome, you don't know how much a like historical novels, plus the Tudors is one of the monarch who has the best history in the world and I love to read about them! Thanks for the giveaway!