Filed under: research, The Summer of Living Dangerously

Of course once I’d decided to write a novel about historical re-enactors, I had to go see some. So I coerced Brigid Coady into helping me. I actually blogged about this in detail after it happened, so I’m repeating the post here, in case you missed it the first time. Because it has Tudor Dudes in it. And as it happened a year and a half ago, it’s like time travel, and so fits in with the dual timeline of The Summer of Living Dangerously. Yeah, baby.


22 September, 2010
On Saturday, Brigid and I went to Hampton Court Palace for the day. This was totally research. I’m currently writing about a historical re-enactor, and every day at Hampton Court Palace, historical re-enactors, well, re-enact, Henry VIII’s wedding to Catherine Parr. So I had to go and see what these re-enactors did, how it was organised, how they interacted with their audience, how tongue-in-cheek it all was.

Plus, it was the opportunity to ogle some Tudor dudes. Talking on Twitter beforehand, Brigid and I decided that every time we saw someone in Tudor costume, it was imperative to turn to each other and say, “Yeah, baby!” Because that is, you know, Tudor.

We also agreed we would have to closely inspect any male Tudor calves which came into our vicinity.

First, we helped Catherine Parr select her wedding dress. Although she is not, strictly speaking, a Tudor dude, I got some great ideas for my book just from those twenty minutes. (In the chapter “A Most Inconvenient Engagement”, in case you’re wondering.)

Me and a Queen

Then, we watched Henry VIII talk over his impending nuptuals with his courtiers. And arm-wrestle said courtiers. This particular activity brought Sir Thomas Seymour‘s calf muscles rather close to Brigid and me. As one, we both bent and snapped a photo.

Tudor calf

After this close inspection we were both rather enamoured of the roguish Sir Thomas and made sure we had our portrait taken with him.

Sir Seymour sandwich

Then we drank a toast to King Henry VIII (“Yeah, baby!”) and his last bride, from the wine fountain in the courtyard. I need me one of those.

Wine fountain! Yeah baby!

I wouldn’t say no to a Tudor dude, either.


Back to 14 March, 2012: All of this was incredibly useful for The Summer of Living Dangerously, even though my characters weren’t playing Tudors. These re-enactors, I discovered later, are professional actors rather than necessarily being history buffs, and they work to a script, from which they ad lib as necessary. My characters don’t have a script, and are a mixture of amateurs and professionals.

The Summer of Living Dangerously is available from here in paperback and for Kindle, from for Kindle here, and with free international shipping from The Book Depository here.

This week, I’m on BBC Radio Berkshire on Thursday at 2.00 pm, an author guest at the 14/4 Literary Dinner in Windsor on Friday, and signing copies of my new book at Waterstones in the Oracle, Reading, on Saturday 17th March from 11-2.

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4 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. And jolly good the book is too. I love all the sections where they chat to the visitors 🙂


    • Thank you! Those parts are largely based on observation. If I can find any of the Tudors pictured here I will give them a copy!


  2. It was a fabulous day out! I’m so glad I could help with the research. The book is in my bag to take away with me this weekend 🙂


  3. Dear Amazon have my copy in the post as we speak (type) 🙂


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