A Gap In History?
In part 2 of my interview with Tony Riches, he explained why a trilogy is something every writer should consider, so now we’ll look closer at what he wrote about when he tackled his.
First off, why the Tudors as a subject matter? Tony feels any trilogy allows an author to develop their work on an epic scale and he knew there were countless novels about King Henry VIII and his wives but almost none about the early Tudors who founded the dynasty.
With a good knowledge of the Tudors and the War of the Roses, Tony became quite an expert in the early Tudor period (he sent me a picture of his current research book pile and it’s quite something!) and cross checks everything against his reference books.
He had the idea that The Tudor Trilogy could follow the journey of Henry VIII’s father from birth, through coming of age to ruling England over the course of the three books. Without going into detail, there is much falling in love, secret relationships, marriage, battles, death and eventual peace in England. It also of course gives an insight into how Henry VIII came to be king and change the history of the country forever.
I wondered how much was factual events and how much was fiction. Tony told me that the truth of historical events is often stranger than anything he could make up. All of the events are from his research of known facts and the only ‘made up’ characters are servants whose names were rarely recorded. If Tony thinks there is a ‘grey area’ or gaps in historical records he is careful to leave room for the reader to make up their own mind.
The Tudor Trilogy can, cleverly, be read as a stand-alone novel. Tony has seen in his sales that some readers that read them in the wrong order, but they purchase the others nonetheless. It is deliberate that each book does work on its own and Tony makes a lot of effort for this to happen even if he acknowledges that this means he sometimes has to repeat events.
Another advantage of the trilogy approach is that Amazon (and other retailers) will promote and market a trilogy as a single purchase, offering not only great value for readers but also an increased chance of being discovered. But like most marketing of books, Tony knows there is an element of trial and error and often he looks at what other best-selling authors do to promote their books and copies what seems to work for them. ‘The rewards are there’ he says ‘when you get it right’
It’s pretty obvious that Tony puts the hours in to achieve these rewards when it comes to writing and he is incredibly organised and disciplined. Like me, his best work is done in the early morning and he uses a simple but effective word count table on Excel to track his work and include notes that aid his methodology. He aims to commit about 100,000 words to his story knowing that this will be reduced in editing (the first book in the Tudor Trilogy came in at 91,238 words when complete as a guide) and Tony aims for 25 chapters of roughly 4,000 words.
So one final, obvious question for Tony and that’s what next? Given the amount of research already done and knowledge that he has on the subject, it’s not overly surprising that Tony is staying with The Tudors but moving on one generation with a sequel about the life of Henry Tudor’s daughter, Mary, who was married off aged just eighteen, when her brother became King Henry VIII, to the 52-year old King Louis of France.
About the Author
Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sailing and river kayaking in his spare time.
For more information about Tony’s books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and website www.tonyriches.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches. The Tudor Trilogy is available on Amazon UK Amazon US and Amazon AU