Hello Andrea! Thank you for stopping by Let Them Read Books!
Hello, Jenny, thank you for having me here!
So what inspired you to write a story in which Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, King Charles II's younger brother, becomes a vampire?
I was inspired to write a story in which this historical character becomes a vampire because the real Henry Stuart is so often forgotten about. He lived only twenty years, and that isn’t much time for anyone, but from all accounts he was a pretty awesome guy. I’m always fascinated by people who were cut down at an early age when they could have gone on to be quite important in history. I also saw a portrait of him when he was a teenager, and I remember remarking, “Hey! He looks like a vampire!” and that just got the ball rolling in my head. When I badly hurt my ankle, I was bedridden for a few weeks, and that’s where I started writing, in bed with my foot elevated on a pillow. I was conveniently distracted away from the pain by the story that was unfolding in my imagination.
I imagine this was great fun to write! What were the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of penning this tale?
It was fun! Most of my work involves meticulous research, and I have to keep to known historical facts. In The Stuart Vampire, however, I was able to simply be creative and the story just flowed out of me. The most challenging aspects of writing a paranormal/horror story is not really in the actual writing but in the fact that some of my colleagues will not take me seriously as a historian, but that’s just too bad because I think it’s a dark tale that many people seem to enjoy. Most history lovers are really lovely and kind, but there can be a lot of hostility and snobbery, I’ve found, where some people think that you can’t be a serious historian and also a fiction writer. The two things are not mutually exclusive! Originally, I wanted the heroine, Susanna, to be a black cat who turns into a witch (this is probably because I have a black cat, Blackie) but I quickly deleted that out.
Your novel may be many readers first true introduction to Henry Stuart. Though you've put your own creative spin on the subject matter, can you tell us in what ways you've stayed true to the era and historical timeline of Henry's life?
The first chapter, with the exception of the fictional romantic relationship I’ve created for him with a fictional Lady Margaret Foster, is pretty true to the historical facts. The last poignant meeting between him, his sister Elizabeth, and their father, King Charles I, before the latter’s beheading was included to show Henry’s goodness of character, even from an early age. From there, I wrote about his imprisonment and then his reunion with his exiled family. All other characters in The Stuart Vampire are fictional, with the exception of some historical persons, such as the Witchfinder-General; James, Duke of York; Charles II; and Barbara Villiers. Also, Coffin’s Bishop, the village which features heavily in my tale, does not exist. The Great Plague and the Great Fire did indeed happen, but my characters are very heavily involved in both (and these are fictional!).
You've become known as the "17th Century Lady." Can you walk us through a typical day in the life of a professional historian?
My day mostly revolves around the computer, writing, maintaining my website, social media sites, and replying to fans. On research days, I’m at a specific location for the whole day, this could be the National Archives, British Library, and many others. Conservation of archival documents has changed considerably since I first started researching. People assume we have to use the cotton gloves, but this is no longer the case in many archives. Gloves are still used on photographs, which I never deal with, but I wash my hands thoroughly before entering an archive and very gently handle the documents. I take part in historical reenactment and entertainment (I used to be an actress, so this is where I can indulge in a bit of performance). Occasionally, I travel around the country (UK) and lecture about the 17th century at libraries, events, schools, etc. or am asked to give my views online, on the radio, or on television. The latter is fun, but it’s the quiet time in the archives where I am truly content.
What are you working on now?
I am back on my baby, “William & Mary” which is a biographical fiction novel about the only couple who ruled England as a diarchy, William III and Mary II. This will focus on their relationship from 1677 to Mary’s death in 1694. They are my favourite Stuart monarchs, and so few people know who they are. I think it is time to change that, and I believe that historical fiction is the best way to do that. Through novels and films, people are exposed to periods they may not have had much interest in, only to find it then becomes their favourite.
Thank you for having me here today!
Thanks, Andrea! Great stuff!
Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest brother of King Charles II is a handsome man with sound principles. When the twenty-year-old prince contracts smallpox in 1660, however, his life takes a decidedly sinister turn. Obsessed with Henry from afar, Contessa Griselda di Cuorenero – one of the Devil’s concubines – turns him into a vampire and plunges him into the world of night. But Henry soon discovers that not all horrors are of the paranormal kind…
In the unnaturally close village of Coffin’s Bishop, Henry encounters a severely abused young woman – a woman who has suffered under humans who are more monstrous than vampires. Could love save them from the evil they have known? And at what cost?
Henry must choose between his humanity and his monstrous, insatiable desire for human blood.
From the author of “His Last Mistress,” The Stuart Vampire is a dark gothic tale in the vein of The Monk.
The Stuart Vampire is on a blog tour!
About the Author:
Andrea (aka The Seventeenth Century Lady) is a 17th-century historian, historical consultant, and historical fiction authoress. His Last Mistress – a biographical fiction novella about the Duke of Monmouth and Lady Henrietta Wentworth was published by Endeavour Press, London in 2013. She received double BA degrees in History and Anthropology from the University of Central Florida, and continued her History studies with the University of Oxford and Princeton University. Zuvich has been filmed for NTR television in The Netherlands, talking about William III, and was recently on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour discussing Queen Anne. She was one of the original developers and leaders on The Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace, London. Zuvich lives in Windsor, England.