Today I’m very pleased to welcome UK author Tony Riches, best known for his Tudor Trilogy. Not only is Tony a best-selling historical fiction author, he is on Richtopia’s Top 200 Most Influential Authors in 2018. All three books of his Tudor Trilogy reached #1 on Amazon in the UK, U.S and Australia. His latest novel appears to be another winner.
I had the opportunity to ask Tony about his novels, and his approach to writing historical fiction. Welcome Tony!
Please tell us about your latest book, MARY –Tudor Princess.
Tony: Hi Cryssa, thanks for inviting me. I researched Mary Tudor’s early life for my last book, Henry – Book Three of the Tudor Trilogy. In the Tudor Trilogy I’d moved forward one generation with each book, so it appealed to me to write a ‘sequel’ which did the same. I’d become intrigued with Mary’s story of how she risked everything to defy her brother, King Henry VIII, and marry for love.
Everyone loves the Tudors. What new angle are you bringing to historical fiction readers about the Tudor era?
Tony: I was born in Pembroke, within sight of the castle where Henry Tudor was born, so I’ve always been keen to know more about how he became King of England. Like most people I knew all about Henry VIII and his six wives, but very little about the life of his father – or grandfather. I’ve now become an expert on the Tudor dynasty and want to help readers understand the true stories behind the myths. Last year I was part of a community group which raised the money for a statue of Henry Tudor in front of Pembroke Castle, so his importance to the town will never be forgotten.
How do you balance historical accuracy with compelling story telling?
Tony: They say the events of history can be stranger than anything you could make up. I know from readers that they appreciate my hard work to keep my books as factually accurate as possible. The early Tudors were of course surrounded by servants and people such as clerics and physicians whose lives are lost to history, so there is plenty of scope to be creative. I find it particularly useful to have a ‘sidekick’ or companion for my main characters, as it helps provide the interaction and conflict of the storytelling.
How does setting influence your stories?
Tony: I enjoy visiting the actual locations in my books to have a real understanding of the setting. My research has taken me to some amazing places. I followed the footsteps of Jasper and Henry Tudor through the secret tunnels under the town of Tenby, to their exile in remote Brittany, and visited Henry’s magnificent tomb in Westminster Abbey.
How do you flesh out your characters greatest sorrows?
Tony: There is a famous quote by Pulitzer prize winning poet Robert Lee Frost ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.’ I become so immersed in the lives of my characters that something like the loss of a child can be quite emotional. Mary Tudor was a princess and Queen of France, but she suffered greatly after the death of King Louis, so I had plenty to work with.
What are you working on next?
Tony: When I was writing about Mary Tudor I researched the life of her second husband, Sir Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and visited his tomb at Windsor Castle. He was Henry VIII’s best friend and a champion jouster and adventurer, leading an army into France even though he had no military experience. Then he breaks his promise to Henry and secretly marries Mary. I’m now writing Brandon – Tudor Knight, which will tell the story from his point of view.
Where can readers buy your books?
Tony: All my books are exclusive to Amazon and available worldwide in eBook and paperback. The Tudor Trilogy is also available as audiobooks and an audiobook edition of Mary – Tudor Princessis currently in production.
About the Author
Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the fifteenth century, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors.