Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ROYAL AFFAIRS released today!

Writing a book is like giving birth. Jane Austen, who never married or had kids, was known to have said "my books are my children."

In the grand scheme of things, it's been a relatively short gestation period, but the labor was the most difficult I've ever experienced in my writing career thus far. For one thing, ROYAL AFFAIRS is nonfiction. And I'm accustomed to making stuff up for a living. Actually, I did encounter a few things in historical biographies written by some rather well respected scholars that were inaccurate, and what I call "bad history" that was regurgitated over the years from bio to bio, or is repeated as fact on the Internet. And it was a difficult task to extract the real "truth" from some of what's been reported as such through the ages.

But all that said--ROYAL AFFAIRS became a joy to write. I'm a history geek and I love to learn new things. My research process became a crash-course in over 900 years of British history.

A side effect of all this new knowledge and perspective was that I became quite spoiled. It's impossible for me to watch a film or TV version of the royals' lives (unless it's a documentary) without going nuts about all the things they "got wrong"--from the historical facts themselves to the costumes or weapons. And in some cases, the casting. Don't get me started about The Tudors!

On the other hand -- please do get me started on The Tudors. Millions of people find this series to be wildly entertaining. In ROYAL AFFAIRS I unveil their true sex scandals -- for your delectation and amusement.

Let's dish about The Tudors!

Do you care that Henry VIII was actually big and brawny and redheaded? He was a real hunk until he reached his 30s, by the way. He wasn't dark and small and churlish-looking.

Do you care that his younger sister was actually named Mary and not Margaret, and that at age 18 she married the elderly (he was 52!) king of France--not the king of Portugal? Do you care that the real Mary Rose Tudor was a beautiful, willowy redheaded teen and not a raving bitch -- and that she did not smother the king to death? And that the love of her life, Charles Brandon, was actually about a dozen years her senior, which meant that being older and wiser, he should have known better than to flout the king's expressed wishes?

Do you care that Anne Boleyn waited until Henry made an honest woman of her, rather than shtupping (or "tupping" as the Tudors and Elizabethans would have put it) the king in a forest glade. I watched this scene slack-jawed -- with disbelief - at the travesty of history in the name of good old family entertainment. Well, maybe not the entire family. While I was thinking "nice boots" as I gazed at Anne's black leather footwear, most of the men in the audience were probably gaping at something a bit further north and thinking "nice boobs."

I encourage you to read ROYAL AFFAIRS, where sex and politics, plotting and betrayal, make for titillating bedfellows, not only for the real Tudors, but for their predecessors and their descendants as well.