Today I'm featuring GILT, a YA historical set in the court of Henry VIII.
GILT is the story of Catherine "Cat" Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, but it's told from the point of view of her friend, Kitty Tylney. If you know Tudor history at all, then you know Cat's fate from the get-go, so the narrative tension has to come from Kitty's journey. Kitty starts out the novel in Cat's shadow, and though her time at court allows her some time in the sun, she's still very much tied to Cat.
Kitty is a down-to-earth, awkward girl, and Cat is a preening, selfish drama-queen. Their friendship is very unbalanced in favor of Cat, and as a reader, you really root for Kitty to come into her own. I loved Kitty's voice and her astute observations about people and life.
GILT is full of palace intrigue, Tudor gossip, glitter and grit - not to be missed by fans of historical fiction.
And now let's chat with Katherine!
My favorite scene in the book happens very near the end, when my main character, Kitty (who has seen, aided and abetted, but never contradicted or intervened), argues with a boy who has managed to get through life similarly. He says, “I did nothing wrong.” To which she replies, “No, you did nothing. And that’s not the same thing.” It’s a small incident, a fairly quiet moment, but to me it sums up the whole of the book. Are you an actor in your own life? Or an observer?
What is your favorite line in the book?
The above scene contains one of my favorite lines, but another occurs much earlier, and I didn’t even write it. Kitty’s best friend, Cat, is talking about all of the qualities she’s looking for in a man and comparing them unfavorably to her current boyfriend and his (ahem) anatomy. “The sword is no match for the scabbard,” she says, “if you catch my meaning.” I workshopped this scene with my critique group and my friend, Mark Hoyer, suggested that line. I’m eternally grateful.
What setting was most fun to write?
The Tower of London. I had visited it a couple of times as a tourist, and went back to research it thoroughly for a middle grade adventure book I was writing about the Princes in the Tower – the two sons of Edward IV, supposedly killed by Richard III. Legend has it that they were held in what is now called the Bloody Tower, near the Traitor’s Gate and overlooking the Tower Green where executions took place. Not wanting my research to go to waste (and because the vantage point was too good to pass up) I placed Kitty there during her stay in the Tower. The castle is so atmospheric, and visually distinctive – I loved walking Kitty through it, seeing it as it was at the time.
Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
I’m a little bit in love with William and think it would be interesting to see the entire GILT story from his point of view. But really the most intriguing supporting character to me is Alice Restwold – she’s conflicted, flawed and self-serving, but ultimately wants to do the right thing. I’d like to know what happens to her.
What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
Getting to know the community of authors that make up the Apocalypsies and the Class of 2k12. The debut experience is a roller coaster and being able to share the ups and downs has been priceless. Not to mention all the amazing books I’ve been reading this year…
GILT is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.
FTC disclosure: Provided by publisher for review