13 November 2019

Guest Interview with Anne Easter Smith, Author of This Son of York

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

I'm pleased to welcome author Anne Easter Smith to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book:

This Son of York is a new look at a very old king—Richard III, who lived from 1452-1485. He is best known for Shakespeare’s cruel depiction of him in the play Richard III, in which he is portrayed as a hunchbacked, murdering monster who usurped the crown and did away with his two nephews in the process. For a start, Richard was no hunchback, but had severe scoliosis. He is one of English history’s most controversial figures, and a king I have been fascinated with and studied for more than 50 years!

The more I read about him, the more a very different man emerged and I got annoyed enough at the injustice of Shakespeare’s and other Tudor historians’ skewed retelling of Richard’s story after he was dead that I wanted to try and set the record straight. (Sorry, Tony, you are probably a Tudorite! Not I!) He was a loyal brother to Edward IV, faithful husband to Anne Neville, and loving father to his children. The laws to improve justice for all Englishmen, highborn and low, that Richard enacted in his one and only Parliament are still in use today. He was a man of his less civilized time, it’s true, but no better or worse than other men of that period. “To be born of noble blood,” it has been said, “is to court an early grave.” So it was with Richard.

What is your preferred writing routine?

I seem to come alive in the afternoon, so I do my chores or social meetings in the morning, have a bite of lunch and then sit down to write. I found I could not write well at home—always the washing up or laundry to do—and so I rented a room in a friend’s house, where I could shut the door, have my library and charts and maps around me, turn on medieval music, and disappear in-to the 15th century.

What advice do you have for new writers?

Unless you are writing purely to make a million dollars (which you won’t!), write what you are passionate about and not what you think will sell. By the time you have cottoned on to a “trend” it will be passé by the time you have written, edited, found an agent, sold to a publisher, and it is published. If it hasn’t come from the heart, your book won’t soar.

I should have written this latest book about World War II instead of Richard if I had listened to the “trend” and I would have found a willing Big-Five publisher; no one wanted a medieval king by the time I finished Richard’s story. I am thankful to the boutique publisher, Bellastoria Press, for accepting my ms, although I missed the advance of my previous books and the hefty clout Simon & Schuster (who published my previous books) has in the industry to launch it into the world.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

This is my first experience without a big, traditional publishing house (see above) and without a publicist assigned to me, as with my previous books, I am alone at my computer (at my advanced age) trying to figure out how to market myself on social media! It has been the most difficult part of the writing process. But kind bloggers like you,Tony, are a godsend to me for spreading the word. So thank you for hosting me today! (I am also lucky to have a built-in community from the Richard III Society to support me.)

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research. 

I had written four books (now six) about the York family during the Wars in the Roses when an uncle died, and I inherited his family bible. On the fly page, a record of births and deaths of the Easters had been entered through the years. Imagine my surprise to find out that my paternal grandmother’s maiden name was York and had been born and raised in Northampton (where the York family seat, Fotheringhay, is located)!

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Because I have written variations of the battle of Bosworth in previous books, I was taken aback how devastated I was while describing Richard’s death in this book. Not surprising, I suppose, as this is HIS book after all, and I had been in his head for the five years I spent writing and rewriting it. I chose the Kenneth Branagh Henry V movie score to listen to as I wrote the Bosworth scene, specifically the Non Nobis Domine prayer that ended the battle of Agincourt. I played it over and over as I wrote and could hardly see the keyboard for my tears!

What are you planning to write next?

It’s hard to finish a series of books that has been a passion for the past 20 years since I started writing. I’ll have to begin all over again with a new passion before I can think about a new book!

Anne Easter Smith

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About the Author

Anne Easter Smithis the award-winning author of The King’s Grace and the best-selling A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Queen By Right, and Royal Mistress. She is an expert on Richard III, having studied the king and his times for decades. Her sixth book, This Son of York, will be published soon. She grew up in England, Germany and Egypt, and has been a resident/citizen of the US since 1968. Anne was the Features Editor at a daily newspaper in northern New York State for ten years, and her writing has been published in several national magazines. Fidf out more at Anne's website anneeastersmith.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @anneeastersmith

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