Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Anne Easter Smith

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


There are a couple of things I just adore about award-winning historical novelist Anne Easter Smith (whose most recent novel Queen By Right was published back in May):

First, she visits every place she writes about. (She talks about her process in the video below.)

Second, on her Facebook page, she wishes “Happy Birthday” to people like Richard III. Love this!

And third, she’s a British expat (& as you know, I have a soft spot for expats).

So give a hearty welcome to Anne Easter Smith! And please, whatever you do, do NOT interrupt her writerhead because, well, keep reading and you’ll see why!

The Scoop About Queen By Right

From the award-winning author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King’s Grace comes Queen by Right, another masterful historical novel—the story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and the heroine of one of history’s greatest love stories.

In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, [Smith] has found her most engrossing character yet. History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father’s household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country.

The Buzzzzzzzzzzz

“Intelligent, compelling and engaging, her novel is lively, believable historical fiction with a heroine readers will take to their hearts.” ~ Romantic Times Book Reviews, Editor’s Top Pick

“With her signature attention to detail, Smith fully fleshes out the life of this English lady and, through her eyes, skillfully dramatizes the thick of the Wars of the Roses. A master of historical accuracy and complex political intrigues. ~ Library Journal

“Her most compelling and gripping novel yet…absolutely captivating, a tale you will want to read over and over again!” ~ Michelle Moran, author of Madame Tussaud

First Sentence

“A scream pierced Cecily’s dreamless sleep.”

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And now, Anne’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

I’m too analytical to give myself totally over to my creative side. But I have some tricks to help me get my fingers flying and my mind in a space between my efficient-British-secretary head and my urge to tell a story. There are days when I spend hours organizing my filing system: does this belong in the costume file or the knights and castle file? Of course those days are merely an excuse not to put pen to paper (sorry, I’m old).

But then there are the days when I walk into the office after a productive half an hour in the shower (which is where I get my best ideas), sit down at my desk, turn on my Medieval Babes music, and enter another world, where ladies didn’t wear panties and men wore tight hose and little skirts; where four feet away from the fire meant you got pneumonia; where lice battled fleas for possession of your skin; and where having a liaison was the only sensible way to get around an arranged marriage. It is a world I would go back to in a flash and so when someone is rude enough to jerk me out of it by ringing my phone, knocking on my door, or pinging me on Facebook (when I stupidly leave it open), “What the hell was that?” says 15th century Anne—it wasn’t the bell for matins, nor the alarm bell at the castle, nor even the beggar’s bell asking for alms. And then the 21st rope jerks me back to the present and there goes my writerhead until I find the syzygy to take me back to my medieval haven.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

If I am in a foul mood (not often, I promise) an intruder on my writing may be shown pictures of the rack, the thumbscrews, or the Spanish tickler (and no, that last is nothing like a French tickler), but I am actually a pretty sociable person who cannot resist a ringing phone or a friendly knock at the door—to the detriment of my writing.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

When I have written a good scene, I feel as satisfied as when I used to win a tennis tournament, only I’m not so sweaty!

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Anne Easter Smith is an award-winning author of historical fiction and published by Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Books. Her five-book contract with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Books is a series about the York family during the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. Anne’s third book, The King’s Grace, won the Romantic Times Best Historical Biography award in 2009 and her fourth, Queen By Right, was published in May 2011. The final book in the York saga will tell the story of King Edward IV’s “merriest” mistress, Jane Shore. Although Anne spent some of her childhood in Germany and Egypt as the daughter of a British army officer, Anne’s love of medieval English history began during her teenage years in England, where she had London on her doorstep and an inspirational history teacher nicknamed “Conky.” While living in Plattsburgh, NY, Anne became the Features Editor of the daily newspaper and covered the arts, health, fashion, cuisine, among other subjects. Anne has lived for 43 years in the U.S. on both coasts, but is finally settled down in Newburyport, MA with her husband, Scott.

If your curiosity is piqued and you want to know more, visit Anne’s web site (www.anneeastersmith.com). Though she doesn’t Tweet (yet…), you can also pop over to her Facebook page and say hello (or wish Richard III a happy birthday)!

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Q4U Readers / Writers / Historical Fiction Aficionados / Brits / Expats / Travelers / Global Nomads: Okay, how many of you didn’t know that 15th century ladies didn’t wear panties? (raises hand)

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