Wednesday, 19 September 2012

8 Questions with VIII's Editor

To celebrate H.M. Castor's VIII being selected as today's Kindle Daily Deal, we've asked our Fiction Editor, Helen Boyle, 8 questions about VIII

1. Who's your favourite character from VIII
Hands down the teenage Henry, or Hal as his friends called him. Charismatic, good-looking, a king - what's not to like? I sort of see him as Prince Harry in a previous incarnation!

2. Do you have a favourite scene?
The spooky appearances of the ghostly apparition literally made the hairs on my arms stand up when I first read them. Spine-chillingly brilliant. I also love the end scene, but we won't spoil it for new readers...

3. What is your favourite description in VIII?
I love Harriet's turn of phrase, it's so evocative and lyrical. One favourite is: My mother’s shadow stretches itself across the floor and runs straight up the wall, like spilt ink running the wrong way.

And another would be:  The sliver of moonlight winks, then disappears; wind whistles through gaps in the casement. Then a noise comes, outside in the passage. A door unlatching, opening. Soft footsteps – and urgent whispers.
I could go on and on – there are so many great descriptions in this book!

4. Who should play Henry in a movie adaptation?
Hmm, tricky one, I remember Harriet talking about Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale as a sort of visual inspiration when she was writing the book, but he's no longer with us... For a teenage Hal, perhaps Josh Hutcherson (Peeta from The Hunger Games) has the right look, but would need to toughen up on personality... And for a young 20s/30s Henry, perhaps Michael Fassbender.

5. What is the most astonishing thing learnt from reading VIII?
I guess I hadn't ever really thought about the teenage Henry - we just know him from history as the fat, beardy bloke. So it was so interesting to explore, through Harriet's book, Henry's teenage years. And the fact that he became king aged just 17 – imagine how that must have felt?

6. Best moment on the publishing journey of VIII? 
Gosh... there have, and continue to be, loads. Seeing the powerful cover design for the first time. Having random people tweet about how much they love the book. Seeing the enthusiasm and passion of booksellers hand-selling the book to customers. Watching Harriet enthrall and inspire a group of teenagers at school events. Working with Bath Spa film students on producing a cinematic, eat-your-heart-out-The Tudors, trailer for the book. Talking with Harriet about the next book... Too many for me to pick.

7. How would you describe VIII in three words?
Gripping, haunting, fascinating.

8. What to read next after VIII?
Well, you could try Hilary Mantel, I hear she's quite good…! No – seriously – I think we're in something of a golden age of historical fiction and there's some brilliant YA titles out there – books by Mary Hooper, Theresa Breslin, Celia Rees, Mary Hoffman… the list goes on. BUT, most of all, I can't wait to read the first draft of Harriet's next book. We've just signed up to two volumes of a book called ‘Sisters of the Half Blood’, with volume one about Mary Tudor and volume two about Elizabeth I, with the Mary book due for publication in Autumn 2013. However, since we have to work so far in advance editorially, it means we'll get the first draft by Christmas – I can’t think of any better present Santa could bring us!

Pick up your Kindle copy of VIII for 99p (today only!) here: 

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