Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blog Tour Q&A with Marci Jefferson, Author of Girl on the Golden Coin

Please join me in welcoming author
Marci Jefferson to Let Them Read Books! 
Marci is touring the blogosphere with her fantastic debut, Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart. I read it and loved it! (Click here to read my review.)

Marci was gracious enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me, and I'm in love with her answers! Read on for more about Marci and Frances Stuart, and then enter to win your own copy of
Girl on the Golden Coin!

Hi Marci! Thank you so much for taking the time to appear on Let Them Read Books!

Hi Jenny Q! I’m delighted to be here today and excited for the opportunity to talk about GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN.

When did you first encounter Frances Stewart, and what inspired you to write about her?

I first learned about the Royal Stuarts during a stay in London. Someone happened to point out the Banqueting House where Charles I was beheaded. I was stunned – I thought kings always ordered the beheadings! I felt compelled to study everything about the Royal Stuarts that my professors neglected to teach me in Nursing School. Frances Stuart initially stood out as a woman who embraced her personal liberty in defiance of kings.

A few years later I read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and became obsessed with the desire to do for the Stuarts what Philippa Gregory had done for the Tudors. I picked up my independent studies again and soon realized Frances Stuart’s independent streak matched the collective spirit of the Restoration age. Since she also happened to be the model for Britannia, I knew there was no better subject for a novel of Restoration England.

 Did you learn anything in your research about Frances that surprised you?

At first I saw Frances Stuart as many historians saw her, as a simple girl who eloped to avoid sleeping with King Charles II. When I read what the French ambassadors and poets and diarists thought of her, I realized she was a very complex person, and found clues suggesting historians may have gotten her wrong. As I studied the historical events and the kings she interacted with, I realized how close she was and how involved she might have been. By the time I finished the book and realized the sacrifice she made might have spared England a political disaster, I had developed a deep respect for Frances Stuart. She was very intelligent, but I believe it suited her purpose to let people underestimate her.

Were there any scenes in the novel that were particularly challenging for you to write? Any that were more fun than you expected?

All of the love scenes were difficult to write! But because there are differing opinions among historians about whether Frances really did-or-did-not sleep with King Charles, the physical progression of their relationship actually became important to my plot and her life as I imagined it.

In the middle of the book, Frances Stuart is dressed as a man (yes, Frances really did that sort of thing) at a party, when she sees her maid Prudence slip out of the palace gates into the London streets. Frances had promised King Charles she’d look after Prudence. But Prudence is a Quaker, and the Militia are transporting every Quaker they catch to the Americas. Frances goes after her and forcibly hauls her back home. I love that Frances gets to exercise the freedom of movement that dressing as a man allowed. It prompts a bit of humor amid the tension, and even a little irony.

Your novel is likely to be many readers' introduction to Frances Stewart. What do you hope readers will take away from your portrayal of Frances?

I hope readers identify with her struggle to find her voice and embrace her own independence. I hope they find much to love about Stuart England, that they will recognize its important contribution to modern democracy, and that they remember Frances Stuart as the embodiment of her age.

And finally, if you could travel back in time and spend one day with Frances, which era of her life would you choose to visit, and what would you like to do while you were there?

I’d go to the day of Queen Catherine’s birthday ball, where Frances Stuart wore silver lace on her black gown, sparkled with diamonds, and out-danced everyone else at court. Her external struggles behind her, she was blissfully unaware of the internal struggles to come. It was her moment of triumph. She and the king were in love, everyone was at their best, and everything was perfect.

I’d walk Whitehall Palace with her and study its forgotten glory. I’d beg her to take me to Restoration London’s markets and taverns and theatres. I’d want to peek at her many jewels, maybe borrow a gown and dance alongside her to the music of the violins. I’d watch everyone else’s expression as she walked by. But most of all I’d talk to her and ask her if I guessed all her secrets and got her story right.

Thanks, Marci!
Wasn't that a great interview?

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
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Enter to win your own copy of
Girl on the Golden Coin!

Simply leave a comment on this post with your email address or an alternate method of contacting you, and you're entered!

This giveaway is open to US residents and ends at 11:59pm Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!


  1. Thank you for the nice interview! I'd love to read "Girl on the Golden Coin"!
    bodner dot rachel at gmail dot com

  2. How fascinating! I love reading novels about historical figures I haven't read much about before and this sounds like a wonderful place to discover Frances Stuart! Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  3. This novel is captivating and intriguing. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. this historical sounds enthralling and fascinating. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. With so many books about the Tudors it's nice to see the Stuarts finally getting their due. Thanks for the chance to win The Girl on the Golden Coin. I'm really looking forward to it. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  6. This book has fascinated me since I first read about it. Thanks for the chance to win
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  7. Love the review! Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. This looks great! I would love to give this a read :)

  9. Great answers. Thanks for the giveaway.


  10. Very interesting interview! I have had this book on my TBR list since I first heard about it months ago. Can't wait to read it.

    tmrtini at gmail (dot) com

  11. Interesting interview about what promises to be a great novel. I enjoy the Restoration era. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Sounds interesting!


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