Marci Jefferson's debut novel Girl on the Golden Coin, a fascinating look at the life of Frances Stuart and the court of English king Charless II hits the shelves on February 11th and will delight all lovers of historical fiction. I was excited to be able to read an early copy of the novel and have a chance to interview the talented Marci Jefferson.
Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed today. I'm excited to celebrate the release of Girl on the Golden Coin a novel about Frances Stuart with you.
Thanks so much for having me and for helping to get the word out there about GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN!
What was it that you learned about the Stuarts that first inspired you to write Girl on the Golden Coin?
I first learned about the Royal Stuarts during a stay in London. Someone happened to point out the Banqueting House where Charles I was beheaded. I was stunned – I thought kings always ordered the beheadings! I felt compelled to study everything about the Royal Stuarts that my professors neglected to teach me in Nursing School. Frances Stuart initially stood out as a woman who embraced her personal liberty in defiance of kings.
A few years later I read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and became obsessed with the desire to do for the Stuarts what Philippa Gregory had done for the Tudors. I picked up my independent studies again and soon realized Frances Stuart’s independent streak matched the collective spirit of the Restoration age. Since she also happened to be the model for Britannia, I knew there was no better subject for a novel of Restoration England.
I read in your bio that you developed a love for history while you lived in Yorktown, VA. One of my favorite vacations with my husband in the early years of our marriage was to Colonial Williamsburg. I'd love to take my children. In your opinion, what is the one place in the area that a tourist must not miss?
I adore Colonial Williamsburg. I used to go there all the time since it was so close to Yorktown. They have
interactive programs to get kids excited about history, so it is fun for the whole family. Just don’t take your
kids straight there from Disney World (trust me – I made this mistake). My favorite spot in Williamsburg is the Governor’s Palace. Designed in the early 1700’s, this site exhibits perfect examples of furniture and art that characters in my novel would recognize.
Are you currently working on another project and can you divulge the subject?
Of course! Right now I’m writing a novel about Marie Mancini who, based on the alignment of the stars at her birth, was destined to disgrace her family an a most spectacular fashion, but ended up shaping the world’s most powerful monarch – Louis XIV.
Were there any other historical figures that you came across in your research that might inspire a future novel?
Marie Mancini was one of them, and I come across someone new to research all the time!
5. As a busy mother with small children when do you find time to write? Do you have a special writing place? How long did it take to write Girl on the Golden Coin?
In the beginning, the novel was strictly a nap-time endeavor. But now my kids are in school, and I only work as a nurse part-time. I’d like to say my days-off provide enough time to get it all done, but somehow I’m always up writing late into the night! I worked through the different aspects (historical research, learning how to write, editing, getting an agent, submitting to publishers) of completing GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN over about six years.
6. What was the topic of the first story that you ever wrote?
My first piece of fiction was a short story involving archaeologists hunting and falling in love with vampires amid the ruins of ancient Egypt. I wrote it when I was in eighth grade. It was terrible, which may be why I ripped it into tiny shreds and never told anyone about it until recently.
7. Do you also find time to read? If so, do you read mostly in the historical fiction genre or a variety? Also, what are some of your favorite books?
Much of my reading time is taken up by the non-fiction required by my work. So I have to carve out time to read historical fiction. I believe an author must continue to read the type of books she wants to write.
8. Do you have a favorite treat that you just cannot live without or a favorite way to relax?
White tea and 70% dark chocolate.
9. Is there anything else that you want readers to know or take away from their reading of Girl on a Golden Coin?
I hope they find much to love about Stuart England, that they will recognize its important contribution to modern democracy, and that they remember Frances Stuart as the embodiment of her age.
GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN, A NOVEL OF FRANCES STUART
February 2014 from Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin's Press