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Interview with Kathi Haacke Morehead author of I. Am. Elizabeth

I. Am. Elizabeth by Kathi Haacke Morehead

I. Am. Elizabeth is a story of medieval intrigue based on the life of Elizabeth Plantagenet. Set both contemporaneously and in the 16th century, the reader will be invited to weigh for themselves the truth of Elizabeth's life, including the disappearance of Elizabeth's brothers, the Lost Princes in the Tower, the ascension of her uncle, Richard III, to the throne of England, and her marriage to Henry Tudor. Elizabeth Plantagenet was a daughter, niece, sister, wife, and mother to five Kings of England, and grandmother of the first and second Queens Regnant: Mary I and Elizabeth I. You may have met The White Princess, but prepare for your introduction to the real Elizabeth of York. Description: Elizabeth of York died in 1503. Annie Campbell lives today. Can they reach through time to heal one another's soul, or will their secrets be impossible to overcome? .... Why can't I sleep? It is not as though tonight is any different from last night, or the night before, or even the night before that. It's hot, and not a breath of air moves through the window. I feel like I will go mad from this anxiety, this fear. But of what? It's so very dark tonight. No moon, no light from the windows. Just dark... Damn you, darkness. You've not been kind the past few nights. What horror do you hold for me tonight?

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1.In what way was writing I.Am.Elizabeth. different from writing White Night and Eternal Dawn?

                Both White Night and Eternal Dawn were pure fiction drawn from my own life. That’s not to say that they are autobiographical by any means, but they have their roots in my own experiences. Also, in some ways, I was trying to convey some of my thoughts about spiritualism. It was a bit of a tricky wicket in spots because I never claimed to have answers to questions of the universe, but I did want people to take a look inside and communicate with their own souls.

                Elizabeth is a whole other animal. This book challenged me to write both of contemporary and historical issues. What I wanted to do was appeal to those who enjoy history, and those who do not. So, I created characters with similar “issues” (e.g. trust, truth) in both contexts. Interestingly, I found myself in a bit of a duality. Suffice to say that while the characters might face the same emotional challenges, their individual environmental circumstances created different experiences. It was interesting.

 2. What is the inspiration for I.Am.Elizabeth.?

                How many hours do you have? LOL! I set this out pretty cleanly in the Foreword to Elizabeth. Suffice to say that it was an issue of genealogy that reared its head in 2016. It’s a pretty remarkable story. I found that I am a descendant of Elizabeth Woodville, as in “The White Queen”, and so related to Elizabeth of York. When one spends time looking at British history, it’s amazing how “connected” Elizabeth of York is. She is what I’d consider to be the founder of the current monarchy in that each King and Queen after her is of her bloodline. Plus, she was a pivotal player in that very turbulent time known as The Wars of the Roses, on which “Game of Thrones” is, in part, based. Yet, when I tried to research her, I found nothing left by her. There are facts, of course. And there have been other novels about her (such as “The White Princess”), but everything is of a speculative nature. Nothing concrete.  And I wondered why. My answer to that is a large part of this book.

3.The juxtaposition of the main characters, Annie and Elizabeth, is striking. How did you decide to tell the story with two first person narratives?

                It was challenging, that’s for sure. Obviously, I didn’t live in the 15th century, or even in England at all, so culturally and historically, I knew it would be tough. To be honest, writing Annie was quite easy as she is my age and living in our times. Elizabeth, on the other hand, lived a way of life that I had no reference for. But, the two women, despite living in different times, shared similar issues and genuinely loved each other. So, that in and of itself may have saved me from falling down an historical rabbit hole. Annie and Elizabeth are devoted to one another, so writing each of their narratives was easy if I just focused on what they were doing for each other.

 4.Was writing I.Am.Elizabeth. out of your comfort zone?

                More than I expected. I was a very linear writer with my other books. Elizabeth was far from linear. I found myself writing significant event scenes that served as stanchions, and I filled in around them. I am pretty OCD to be honest, so that was really difficult for me. Yet, I couldn’t have done it any differently, I don’t believe. There is some pretty high drama in spots, and when I was writing, I found myself wanting to hurry up and get to those spots, which made it almost impossible to write a lead in. So, I finally just gave in and wrote what I felt on any given day. When I felt like I had covered the major points, I went back and filled in. It was really hard coloring between the lines. Not sure I want to write like that again, but I’m hoping it works in this book!

5.What single lesson did you most learn from writing this book?

That is an easy question, for sure. When I was researching the book, I had the opportunity to bounce ideas off of and receive some guidance from Philippa Langley. Ms. Langley was, as you might know, the leader of the group that found the remains of King Richard III in the carpark. I was very appreciative of Ms. Langley’s advice to me: see the past as if it is the present. Don’t look back. Look at it. In its natural context. It’s more difficult than you might guess. We tend to view history through the prism of time. But we can’t truly understand it if we don’t understand the context in which it occurred. That was the greatest lesson I could learn. To see events of Elizabeth of York’s lifetime as SHE would have seen them. Not as I see them.

 

 

 


$1.00 of all sales proceeds of paperback and hardback editions of this book will go to the fundraising campaign of Mt. Blanc for MS on behalf of Neely Worldwide Publishing and Kathi Haacke Morehead. For more information please visit https://theroyalmarinescharity.org.uk/news/ascent-of-mt-blanc/


About the author: Kathi Haacke Morehead made her fictional debut with WHITE NIGHT followed by the sequel Eternal Night. She is the author of HEART BLEED: Letting go and stanching the flow, and THE BEST FROM THE CHEAP SEATS. Her fiction has tackled questions of morality, spirituality, life after death, love, and integrity. She is not a conventional author, writes in a conversational style to better interact with her readers. If you're looking for high style, you won't find it in her work. Kathi believes in the value of tightly crafted story - everything else will fall into place. To quote Kathi: "I guess that makes me a bit of a bohemian. And I'm good with that." Kathi lives in Brunswick, Maryland with her husband, Dave, and four finicky felines. They have a blended family of 4 children and 3 grandchildren.

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