Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I Love the Stuarts

Author Andrea Zuvich explains her fascination with the Stuart dynasty, as follows:
As Louis XIV was enjoying his autocratic powers in France, across the Channel there was an equally fascinating royal line in England - the Stuarts. This tragic dynasty has fascinated me for years, but I never thought that my passion for their history would lead to my writing historical fiction. At first, writing evolved out sheer frustration. I had been working at a palace in London, and visitors would come up to me and ask questions about the history of the palace and the people who had once inhabited it. They were constantly getting Mary, Queen of Scots completely confused with Mary II, or trying to relate a room’s history to a Tudor, so that is what spurred me to write. I figured that more people want to read a fictionalised depiction rather than an academic study. That being said, I try to keep my work as historically accurate as possible, without bashing people on the head with historic details. But then I ran into the hurdle of the market…

I still find it really sad to get rejections from publishers with the line, “though your story seems very interesting, we cannot be sure we can successfully market a book set in the 17th-century or about the Stuarts” (!) What is it about the 17th-century that makes both readers and publishers go cold? I have asked, and it’s usually the following:

        “The 17th-century is boring. Nothing cool ever happened in it.”

        “I’m happy with the Tudors, nothing else can come close to them.”

Elizabeth I died in 1603, ending the Tudor dynasty and causing the Stuart dynasty in England to begin. No fewer than seventeen of Shakespeare’s plays debuted during the Seventeenth Century, and throughout the period there were massively important political changes. Some of the biggest consequences of the English Civil War were the beheading of King Charles I, the abolition of the monarchy and the Interregnum and Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. Indeed, it is lamentable that the joy in life seems to have been sucked out of England during Cromwell’s time, and this decade of Puritanism has tainted the public’s perception of the whole century. For after Cromwell’s death, everything changed again during the Restoration of the monarchy: this period is full of colour, seduction, the arts flourished once again, and it’s just amazing to learn and write about. Boring? Nothing could be further from the truth! (Read more.)


May said...

There is nothing boring about the Stuarts! On the contrary, their history is downright traumatic!

Andrea Zuvich said...

haha! That's very true, alas!