by Helen Hollick
My inspiration for The Forever Queen was Queen Emma herself. A relatively unknown Queen of England over-shadowed by the more famous Eleanor of Aquitaine, I wanted to redress the balance about this remarkable woman.
Wife to two Kings, Queen of England twice, and mother of two more kings, one of whom was Edward the Confessor. She survived what was probably a loveless marriage of alliance – she was betrothed to Æthelred II when she was probably little more than thirteen and had no respect for either husband or eldest son. Her other son was cruelly murdered; she faced exile twice, and rather than see England downtrodden beneath the heels of Danish – Viking – conquest, she offered herself in marriage in exchange for peace.
It was not martyrdom though, she got to keep her crown, a far more pleasing prospect than spending the rest of her life shut away in a nunnery.
When her son by her second marriage to Cnut (Canute – he of turning back the tide fame) was fighting for the right to the English throne, she commissioned a biography of her life – the first (surviving) Vitae of an English Queen.
Emma ruled as regent, attended the Council meetings of state and advised her second husband, Cnut, who eventually became more English than the English.
Admired and respected, she was every inch as glamorous and exciting as Eleanor of Aquitaine, but little is known about her because she reigned before the catalyst date of 1066 – the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest of England.
[amazonify]1402240686[/amazonify]Duke William was her great nephew, Through his aunt he laid claim to England. But that, as they say, is another story. I Am the Chosen King in fact (Harold the King in the UK), which is to be published by Sourcebooks Landmark in March 2011.
I asked Helen what luxury meant to her:
My luxury? My bed and its deep, “memory foam” mattress. I have a hip problem and my neck and shoulders often ache of an evening after spending a day at the keyboard, so to snuggle down into that welcome, warm, softness is sheer luxury.
It supports all the bits of me that are beginning to rapidly sag southward, gives me a good night’s sleep, and in the morning I usually do not ache as much as the night before. The problem is getting out of it – the comfort zone is too alluring, and even with a wonderful bed and a good sleep I still do not have many smile-making dreams of Johnny Depp!
About the author
Helen Hollick lives in northeast London with her husband, daughter and a variety of pets, which include several horses, cats and two dogs. She has two major interests: Roman / Saxon Britain and the Golden Age of Piracy–the early eighteenth century. Sourcebooks Landmark will release the next chapter on Helen’s 1066 saga, I Am the Chosen King, in Spring 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.helenhollick.net/.
I have 2 copies of The Forever Queen to give away, courtesy of Sourcebooks!
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Giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Landmark. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.