Volia! My latest video is an introduction to some of the cunning courtiers that inhabit Margot’s world. Enjoy! And if you do enjoy, please share!
Yes, it is true, I am dipping my toe into the wonderful world of video production and Youtube channels! Some of you have already visited my channel to watch my book trailer and other items. But today I bring you the first installment of a series–Tales from the Valois Court.
Enjoy! And do take a minute to let me know what you think!
Today marks 350th Anniversary of the ignition of the Great Fire of London, which burned for days (September 2–5, 1666). Driven by gale force winds and accompanied by a panic stoked by rumors of foreign involvement, the blaze destroyed more than 13,000 dwellings leaving upwards of 70,000 Londoners homeless. It also destroyed businesses and significant landmarks in including St. Paul’s Cathedral. Remarkably, the official death toll for the three day conflagration was only 6. However, it should be remembered that many of the lower and lower-middle-class victims may not have been recorded.
My countdown of the weird, wild and wonderful of the late Valois era continues. Part II of my video series of historical tidbits is now complete. Enjoy! And, as always, if you want more (much more) Valois Court intrigue, pick up a copy of Medicis Daughter.
I am constantly reminded that quite often the strangest things that are included in my books–the ones that cause readers to send me notes saying “really Sophie? really?” are NOT details that I created, but rather those that are historically verifiable. In the case of the French Valois court there were many historical tidbits that caused me to do a double-take, some of which made the finished novel, Médicis Daughter, and some of which didn’t.
Knowing that many of my faithful readers are as likely to geek out over these dramatic goodies as I was, I am creating a two part countdown of ten of the juiciest, weirdest, historical tidbits from my research into 16th century Valois France. Below is Part I. Enjoy!
Welcome to the world premier of the Médicis Daughter book trailer. I’d love to hear what you think . . . does it capture the essence of the novel?
One of the best things about being a historical novelist is connecting with other writers in the genre, getting to know their work and then introducing them to you–my readers and friends. That’s why I am in love with the event I am announcing today: THE SUMMER OF HISTORY GIVEAWAY.
Not only do you have the chance to win my novel Medicis Daughter (if it is not already in your collection), you have the opportunity to win books and prizes (including a colossal $100 gift card) from 18 other top writers of historical fiction. What could be better than new books just in time to let you kick back, put your feet up, and enjoy the warm weather with a great book. Nothing.
Entry is simple. Just follow the link and Pick five books that you’d like to win!
In mid-July of 1572 a French Huguenot nobleman, the Seigneur de Genlis, invaded Netherlands from France with 4,000 infantry and slightly less than 1,000 Calvary. It went badly. Don Frederic of Toledo routed the Seigneur and his troops at Quiévrain, and not two hundred Frenchmen survived (those who survived the battle proper where quickly slaughtered by local peasants). Gossip and fallout at the French Court was immediate.
A good number of courtiers and foreign figures (for example the Venetian ambassador) were sure Genlis had been sent by Admiral Coligny with the King’s knowledge. Others avowed, adamantly, that the Seigneur had gone without the knowledge or permission of either the King or the Admiral.
Frankly, and after years researching the Valois Court in this era, it is impossible for me to believe that the King did not at least know of Seigneur de Genlis’ plan in advance, whether or not he tacitly approved it, if for no other reason than the planned invasion was a very open secret at French Court. So much so that Spain caught wind of it making for an easy interception of the French near mons. Additionally, a letter evidencing Charles complicity found on Genlis when was taken prisoner.
Yet confronted with the invasions catastrophic failure, Charles denied that he sanctioned the expedition and congratulated Philip II on his victory. This represented more than a desperate effort to distance himself from a plan run amok. His actions were at his mother Catherine de Médicis’ behest and she also demanded that he declare publicly that his subjects had disobeyed his orders in going to Flanders. All of this suborning of what was basically perjury was part of a larger struggle between the Queen Mother and Admiral Coligny for the role of chief-influencer over Charles. War with Spain was on the table and while Coligny pressed for it, Catherine was against it.
Less than two months later the winner and loser of this struggle would become painfully and bloodily clear.
An Interview with Catherine de Medicis: Spending Time as one of the 16th Century's Most Powerful Queens
Part of being a writer is slipping into other skins.
While the point-of-view character for my most recent novel, Médicis Daughter, is the youngest Valois Princess, Marguerite, her mother Catherine de Médicis plays a vital role in the story (often as Margot’s antagonist). That meant getting in Queen Catherine’s head and trying to understand her psyche.
Recently I was invited to go back to that sometimes dark but always interesting place, and be Catherine in a character interview for Erin of Flashlight Commentary. As we wandered through the gardens of one of Catherine’s favorite properties, Château de Montceaux, Erin asked some very thought provoking questions. I hope everyone enjoys my answers on behalf of this powerful, crafty Queen.
Of course for more of Catherine and the entire dysfunctional Valois clan, you only need to pick up Médicis Daughter.