The day before her execution, Anne Boleyn’s mind wanders back to the journey that changed her life....
Born into the Boleyn family in rural Norfolk, obscurity looms, but when Anne's father, Thomas, moves the family to Hever Castle, in Kent, to further his own interests, the family’s fortunes take a turn for the better. Thomas secures a place for Anne’s sister, Mary, at the prestigious court of Margaret of Austria, but fate has other plans, and Anne ends up taking her place.
At 13, Anne yearns for adventure. However, unused to curbing her outspoken tongue and youthful curiosity, she discovers that life at Margaret’s court is not quite how she’d imagined. Experiencing love, loss, jealousy and fear, she soon realizes that her future happiness lies in her own hands - and that she must shape her own destiny....
The Falcon’s Rise is the first part of a two-part series, beginning the journey with the young Anne Boleyn growing into the woman who captured the heart of a king.
How did you first become interested in Anne Boleyn?
I was always passionate about the history of England, and I first became interested in Anne Boleyn by reading the Tudor books my mother brought from the library. They were always about the six wives of King Henry VIII, but it was Anne Boleyn that captured my imagination when I read The King’s Secret Matter, by Jean Plaidy. I was probably about 13 at the time. At the same age, I watched Anne of a Thousand Days at the cinema and that was it. I was hooked for life. Of course, in those days, it was Geneviève Bujold, rather than Natalie Dormer in The Tudors, playing Anne.
Did you uncover any interesting Tudor facts in your research?
It was interesting finding out about people I knew nothing about such as Margaret of Austria and the Emperor.
Is there one character in your historical novel that you particularly found interesting?
It has to be Margaret of Austria. I knew nothing of her before I started my research, but she comes across as a delightful woman who despite her sorrows, was charming and amusing. I often read her poetry and truly like her. I’m also interested in Charles Brandon, admiring his ability to survive his secret marriage to the king’s sister and escape the Tower of London!
What period of Anne Boleyn's life does this fictional history story cover?
The book starts in 1497 and ends in 1514. However, I have set Anne's birth in May 1500. What is interesting is that she was born during the reign of the old King Henry VII - founder of the Tudor dynasty - and nine years before his son, Henry, ascended the throne. It had different fashions to how we imagine the later Tudor ones. I think the life-size models of Anne and her nurse in the gallery at Hever Castle illustrate this well. They are still in the medieval style.
Is there a more in-depth interview with you and how you researched your books?
Yes, its on TheAnneBoleynFiles website, just search for my name - Natalia Richards
Any other thoughts?
Looking at portraits of Anne Boleyn as a young woman, it is sad to think about the tragic end she came to. But it is not the end of her life that fascinates me, it is the beginning and the many questions it raises. What made her the woman she later became? Why did she attract Henry VIII in the first place and why write about Anne when she has been written about so extensively?