Philippa Gregory – bringing history to life


It isn’t every day you kiss your children goodbye at the school gate, get in the car and drive to a meeting with the queen of historical fiction, but that is exactly what I did when I met Philippa Gregory while she was in Dublin recently for the Mountains to Sea Festival.

Was I excited? Very. I love Philippa’s books, her writing, her historical insights and I was fascinated by the prospect of learning more about the woman behind the words.

Was I nervous? A little. What, exactly, do you ask a woman who you basically want to be when you grow up?

As soon as I met her, my nerves disappeared and I spent fifty minutes having the most wonderful conversation about writing and history and discovering untold stories. Philippa Gregory has such a wealth of historical knowledge, such experience of the publishing industry, such an interesting perspective on historical fiction that I could easily have spent the entire day talking to her. But, she is a very, very busy lady and it wouldn’t be fair to keep her entirely to myself, so I thanked her profusely and left her to explore the wilds of Dublin (aka, return to her hotel room).

Here’s what she told me in Part One of my interview, in which she talks about her latest novel in the Cousins’ War Series ‘The Kingmaker’s Daughter’, shares the moment when she discovered the story which became ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and offers a fascinating insight into how she brings history to life.

Part Two of the interview will  appear on next Thursday.


Fifty Shades … another point of view

There have probably been enough column inches dedicated to the Fifty Shades phenomenon to re-plant entire acres of rain forest – what more can be said on the subject, we might wonder?

Plenty, it seems, as the debate about what, why, who and whether I can get planning permission for a dungeon, rages on. So, it was with some interest that I read the piece today by Jennifer O’Connell writing for the Irish Times. Having already reviewed the book some months ago, she returns to the issue of the popularity of the Fifty Shades books, offering a refreshingly honest insight into what, in her opinion, it all really stands for. 

It’s an interesting, considered, well-written piece (words I wouldn’t necessarily use to describe the Fifty Shades books themselves!). Have a read and see what you think.