My guest today is Terry Tyler, who lives in the north east of England with her husband. She currently has nine books on Amazon (seven novels, a novella and a short story collection), with book ten coming soon. She writes a genre-defying blend of contemporary drama/romantic suspense, with a little humour and the odd bit of rock fiction and mystery thrown in… some readers say she has her own genre! She also has two blogs, and is active within the indie author community on Twitter.
Terry joins us today to share views on life and writing.
What was your first car? I’ve never had one. I passed my test when I was 36 and haven’t driven since. I suspect that the pass was a fluke, and that I would be a danger to myself and other road users.
Star Wars, Star Trek, or Firefly? I don’t know what Firefly is, am bored witless by Star Wars, but quite like some Star Trek, so I’d have to say that.
Who would you most like to sit next to on an airplane? Someone who is asleep. I hate feeling forced to talk to strangers on journeys, and like to be in my own head.
As a child (or now!), what did you want to be when you grew up? If I say a writer, would that be really cheesy and corny? That was sometimes; other times it was an actress, or a princess. Once, while staying in a hotel when I was seven, I said I wanted to be a waitress. My father looked at me in despair.
Are the names of the characters in your novels significant? No. I just choose the ones that seem right for them. Sometimes a character arrives in my head with his/her name already attached, other times I think about it and change my mind over and over.
What is the single biggest challenge of creating the settings in your novels? Not having travelled very much. It’s a bit limiting.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard? Find out if you really do have any writing talent before you publish a book or send one to an agent/publisher. It’s very basic, but I don’t think very many people ever stop to ask themselves this.
Contact Links for Terry Tyler
BlurbKINGS AND QUEENS tells of the life of charismatic Harry Lanchester, which just happens to mirror that of Henry VIII (and his six wives) ~ all the passion and suspense of the Tudor court, but set in modern times.
Harry’s realm is his South of England property developing company, Lanchester Estates, while his ‘wives’ are the twentieth century sisters of their historic counterparts: Anne Boleyn is reincarnated as the equally intriguing Annette Hever, and Henry VIII’s fifth wife with the risqué past, Catherine Howard, lives again in 1999 as Keira Howard, a former lap dancer.
The story is narrated by each of the six women, in turn, interspersed with short chapters from the point of view of Harry’s lifelong friend, Will Brandon.
Don’t worry if you know nothing of this period in history – “Kings and Queens” can be enjoyed as a contemporary family drama, very much in the vein of Ms Tyler’s previous novels. Readers with an interest in the Tudors, though, will pick up on many similarities, references and metaphors, some quite amusing. For those non-Tudor fanatics who would like a brief look at the life of Henry VIII before reading, the author has included, in the Kindle book, a link to a mini-biography on her blog.
A sequel, following the lives of Harry’s three children, is nearing completion.
- Book Title: Kings and Queens
- Author: Terry Tyler
- Genre: Contemporary Drama
Length: 387 pages
Release Date: April 24, 2014
Purchase Links: Amazon UK| Amazon
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Kings and Queens
“Tour de force: a feat or display of strength, skill, or ingenuity. a very skillful and successful effort or performance” –Miriam-Webster
I never know what to expect when I read one of Terry Tyler’s books. Oh, I know that it will be well-written and entertaining. But each one is a discovery—a new genre, new voice, new format. Even knowing this, I was completely unprepared for Kings and Queens. Quite simply, it is a five-star tour de force.
We’ve all seen the odd historical figure, Shakespearean drama, or even beloved literary icons like Mr. Darcy brought into modern settings. It’s fun to see their familiar stories play out against our modern backdrop. But even by those standards, what Tyler has done is audaciously big. She’s taken one of history’s larger than life figures, Henry VIII, and asked the question: what if Henry lived today? Would the forces that shaped his life be as compelling, would his control of the lives around him be as absolute, and would his romantic relationships be as devastating?
In Kings and Queens, we meet Henry in 1971 as sixteen-year-old Harry Lanchester. Through the eyes of Will Brandon— his quintessentially British, well-meaning, and slightly dim lifelong friend—we see the fun-loving boy who overnight becomes the ruler of a vast financial domain. With the unexpected death of the heir-apparent and older brother Alex, young Harry—who until then was “…more at home with a guitar in one hand and a bottle of beer in another…”—suddenly inherits his brother’s life, job, and even fiancée.
From that point on, each chapter of Harry’s life is defined and told from the point of view of the women he marries, interspersed with comments from Will. Harry’s gifts of charm, wealth, and invincible belief in himself lead to the complete conviction that he has not only the ability but the right to gratify any of his desires. Each succeeding narrator’s point of view reveals how those unchecked desires shape and ultimately destroy the man.
What makes Kings and Queens such an achievement is that each of Harry’s “Queens” has her own uniquely identifiable voice. We see Harry’s life through these women’s hopes, desires, and dreams. And just as devastatingly, we see that the one thing we all think we know about Henry VIII—that he went through wives because he was driven by the need for a son who could inherit his empire—was too simplistic an explanation. After all, Harry had an illegitimate son, and later a legitimate one. But there was no sign that their presence made any difference to his desire or ability to rein in any impulse to self-gratification.
Each succeeding point of view documents Harry’s deterioration until the horrifying event that eventually becomes his living nightmare. Through it all, Will stands by him, justifying the unjustifiable by telling himself that Harry needs him. “He was selfish, vain and stubborn, but funny, generous and endearingly childlike…” Will’s intelligent wife Rosie is more perceptive:
“Rosie said to me that each time we fall in love we love differently…Yes, if he’d revered Cathy, lusted after Annette and worshipped Jenny, then he saw Keira Howard like the fairy on top of the Christmas tree, lighting up the room and making all his dreams come true.”
In Kings and Queens, author Terry Tyler has stayed remarkably close to historical fact. But hearing each woman’s story in modern context allows us an intimately personal view of the sweep of historical events. It’s an incredible achievement.*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Kings and Queens ExcerptHarry’s first wife, Cathy, has just discovered his affair with Lisa Blunt, from his office. Later, Lisa will bear him a son…
Rather than charge into the office and tear a strip off him, I spent the rest of the day planning what I would say when he got home. The stingers I would deliver, the disdainful way in which I would respond to his apologies. I was not about to walk out of our marriage – why should I? Why should I be the one to lose?
I learnt another lesson that day: you can’t plan conversations. People don’t react the way you think they will.
He didn’t even apologise.
“You’re always too tired for sex, and when you do do it I feel as though you’re bestowing some favour on me – it’s obvious you want it over and done with as quickly as possible. Imagine what that’s like for me – I’m only twenty-four, and I’m married to a woman who’s only interested in sex because she wants another baby.”
“Crap! You want another baby as much as I do,” I said. “You want a son – that’s all you’ve talked about since Isabella was born. You’re not even interested in her – you just pat her on the head and send her up to bed with Nanny. I don’t think you’d care if she wasn’t there!”
“Oh, it’s all coming out now, isn’t it? Well, you care about her enough for the two of us, don’t you?” he said, and then he laughed. “D’you know, my father told me about this. How once women become mothers they stop being wives. You don’t make any effort for me – everything’s for Isabella.”
“She’s my daughter! She’s three years old, and she’s only got one parent, hasn’t she? You’re right, I do care about her enough for the two of us – I have to, because all you want is a son who you can bring up to be the mirror image of you, so you can prance about showing off how virile you are!”