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