Interview with Honor Thornleigh from The Queen’s Gamble by Barbara Kyle
BK: What are you doing?
HT: You’re the one with the writer’s imagination. You tell me.
BK: All right, silly question. You’re packing.
HT: Right you are.
BK: Where are you going?
HT: Anywhere quiet. Anywhere that adventures aren’t happening. And wars. And people being burned at the stake. I need to get away.
BK: You can’t. This is your life.
HT: I don’t mean forever. Just a while. I need a holiday.
BK: But, you can’t just leave. Queen Elizabeth is your guest. And dozens of her courtiers. They’re outside, waiting for the fireworks entertainment. You have a huge party to throw.
HT: The servants can handle it. Richard can entertain Elizabeth. She likes him. I need a break.
BK: I thought you enjoyed what you’ve been doing. Saving people’s lives. Befriending Elizabeth. Building a powerful family.
HT: Enjoy? I did what I had to do. What any person with a conscience would do.
BK: Not all. Most people in your day happily watched burnings and beheadings and hangings. They didn’t battle the authorities and snatch condemned men away to safety.
HT: All I ever wanted was a quiet life!
BK: That’s not true. You had a chance at that. You could have married the man your guardian suggested and lived quietly ever after. And dully. Instead, you chose to rush off and save people.
HT: I was eighteen! And Sir Thomas More was persecuting so many. But that was ages ago. Good heavens, I’m fifty-six years old. I’ve had enough excitement.
BK: So you’re just walking out on me in mid-story?
HT: Our agreement was for one book. One, not four. I was happy to star in The Queen’s Lady. It was important to let readers know the real facts behind that shabby king, Henry VIII, and his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and the fight she put up against Anne Boleyn. And I don’t regret a thing I did to fight his chancellor, Sir Thomas More. I’d do it all again.
BK: Well, you might need to in this new book.
HT: No. You’ve shone the spotlight on me for four books now. You’ve made my life a saga, for heaven’s sake!
BK: That’s a bit melodramatic. The King’s Daughter wasn’t about you. It was about Isabel.
HT: Leave my daughter out of this! She has enough crises to manage, what with searching through the prisons of London for her father and falling in love with a ruthless Spanish soldier. And now, in your latest book, The Queen’s Gamble, she’s risking her life to smuggle gold to Scottish rebels. She could use a holiday too!
BK: She’s good at adventure. Like you are.
HT: That adventure almost destroyed her marriage! You call that good?
BK: I call that a strong-minded heroine, and I’m proud of her. Anyway, I thought we were talking about you.
HT: We are. I signed on for one book, but you’ve stretched it into four, going on five.
BK: Well, pardon me for making you a star.
HT: I’m not ungrateful. Just tired.
BK: How about we make a deal?
HT: What kind of deal?
BK: You stay, and see to Queen Elizabeth and this grand party, and I’ll make someone other than you the star of this new book.
HT: My daughter?
BK: No, a brand new Thornleigh character. I have a few good ideas. So you stay here and relax while she carries the new book.
HT: Hmm. What’s it about?
BK: An orphan that you and Richard took in, a spirited young woman who’s eager to serve Elizabeth, until she gets embroiled in a treason plot.
HT: Treason against Elizabeth? Good heavens, we’d have to stop that.
BK: Then you’ll stay?
HT: Of course. I can’t let anything happen to Elizabeth.
BK: Ah. I couldn’t have said it better.