So lovely to have Catherine Hokin on my Blog today. Catherine’s book is Blood & Roses and is published by http://yolkpublishing.co.uk/ .
Catherine is a Glasgow-based author whose fascination with the medieval period began during a History degree which included studies into witchcraft, women and the role of political propaganda. This sparked an interest in hidden female voices resulting in her debut novel, Blood and Roses which brings a new perspective to the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482, wife of Henry VI) and her pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses. Catherine also writes short stories – she was a finalist in the Scottish Arts Club 2015 Short Story Competition and has been published by iScot magazine – and blogs monthly for The History Girls. She is represented by Tina Betts of the Andrew Mann Literary Agency.
Wee Q&A with Catherine
Describe yourself using three words?
Northern, small, gobby
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I think I have wanted to write for as long as I could read. Blood and Roses, my debut novel, is about Margaret of Anjou and her pivotal role in the fifteenth century Wars of the Roses – when I was a child my father was a wargamer (this is pre-internet so involved grown men playing with sand and tiny soldiers, madness) and he and his friends were obsessed with the Wars of the Roses, to the point where I thought the characters were still alive. They were also obsessed with Margaret and they hated her! I was intrigued, then I studied her at university and realised there was a feisty woman and a story there. It just took rather longer than I hoped to get round to writing it!
What time of day do you like to write?
Morning – late afternoon is the worst bit so I do admin and less brain-demanding things then.
What is your favourite book and why?
Wise Children by Angela Carter – it has everything I like: magical realism, fairy tales, Shakespeare done badly, two very tricky and hilarious female leads and early Hollywood. And it’s Angela Carter who was a genius.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I wanted to get across the fact that it was about the Wars but also position it as a book that contains a lot of suffering – it’s not a romance. With hindsight I should have realised a lot of books about vampires have similar titles…
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Yes twice. Yes because they are historical characters and yes because I am a writer so I use traits from lots of people I know, including myself. My experience of parenting a boy was central to this story.
What’s your favourite word?
Nefarious ~ (typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal.
If you were a colour what would it be?
Dark purple with flecks of gold – party eyes meets something wicked this way comes.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
First draft is a research dump, then I take that and apply Robert McKee’s planning method (his book Story is brilliant) and do a complete re-write. I also like to write treatments from different characters’ viewpoints. It’s highly planned and highly flexible.
Who is your favourite Author?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I love magical realism and South America. I also hate having to only choose one!
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
Lady Macbeth is really short-changed: all that wonderful plotting and manipulation and she doesn’t even get a death scene. I’d let her live and set her up as a relationship counsellor – think how much stress she would save Juliet and Desedemona.
Are you working on a new project?
I am! My second novel is now with my agent and is also medieval with a strong female protagonist and Tina has me working on book 3 which is at the proper first draft stage. It is set in the twelfth century and is getting very dark…
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
I do! On the 23rd February I will be in Edinburgh as part of the Audacious Women Festival talking about Powerful Women and the Challenges of Ruling – there will be lots of insults…
HUGE Thanks so Catherine for her time and for the wonderful answers. If you would like to contact Catherine here are the details you will need.
Social media links:
Blood & Roses By Catherine Hokin ~ Published By Yolk
Blood and Roses tells the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-82), wife of Henry VI and a key protagonist in the Wars of the Roses. This is a feminist revision of a woman frequently imagined only as the shadowy figure demonised by Shakespeare – Blood and Roses examines Margaret as a Queen unable to wield the power and authority she is capable of, as a wife trapped in marriage to a man born to be a saint and as a mother whose son meets a terrible fate she has set in motion. It is the story of a woman caught up in the pursuit of power, playing a game ultimately no one can control…
You can purchase the book here Amazon UK