11 January 2019

Novel Conversation with Michele Kallio and Elisabeth Beeton

 In conjunction with Indie BRAG
every Friday

To be a little different from the usual 'meet the author' 
let's meet a character...
Elisabeth Beeton
Related image
Cover of Betrayal

Q: Hello, I’m Helen the host of Novel Conversations, welcome. Would you like a drink? Ale? Wine? There are some honey cakes and a bowl of fruit on the table, please do help yourself. I believe you are a character in one of Ms Kallio's novels? Would you like to introduce yourself? Are you a lead character or a supporting role?  
A: Yes, thank you for inviting me to visit, I will have some wine please.  My name is Elisabeth Beeton and I am one of the two lead characters in the novel, Betrayal. I am a servant at the Court of King Henry, the eighth of that name. I am a body servant to his second wife Anne Boleyn. In fact, I was in her service before she became Queen. As her confidante, I was privy to the behind the scene actions at his Great Court and I suffered grievously because of it.

Q: What is the genre of the novel and what is it about?
A: It is called Historical Fiction, but I can tell you that there a lot of truth in Betrayal, both in the   book‘s title and the history it presents; although my author has taken some liberties and has stretched the truth at times.
   I have had a dilemma in that I was trying to solve by reaching across time for someone to help me. It wasn’t until Lydia found my journal in a box of old books that she began to listen to me.
   Betrayal is a time-slip novel although I am not sure what my author means, perhaps because it is told in two time periods which alternate chapters.  Lydia Hamilton lives in present and I in the past. Lydia lives somewhere in the Americas, a place called New Brunswick, Canada. I have never heard of such a place so perhaps she lies. I live as I have said before at King Henry’s Court in England.

Q: No spoilers, but are you a goody or a baddie? Or maybe you are both?
A: I am a good Christian woman and try to keep Our Lord’s Commandments. But, I am human, and I have misbehaved and made bad choices. I will answer for those on the day of judgement.  I believe both lead characters in the novel are good women, life has not always been fair to them.

Q: Tell me about another character in the novel – maybe your best friend, lover or partner?
A: My best friend is Sarah de Roche the heroine of author’s next book if she ever gets it written. But, I would like to tell you about Lydia Hamilton, the other lead character in Betrayal. Lydia was brought to Canada as a young child. Her father refused to tell her anything about her mother or her life in England. It is only after his death in an accident that Lydia begins to learn the truth behind her father’s lies.
     As I said before, I reached across time to Lydia through her dreams. I needed her help to regain my honour. When she agreed to come to England, I knew my truth would be told.

Q: Is this the only novel you have appeared, or are there others?
 A: So far, this is the only one, but I have great hopes that my author will work me into her new book. I still have many stories to tell.

Q: What was your least favourite scene you appear in?
 A: The death of my lady, the Queen Anne, I was falsely charged with conniving to bring her    down. It was truly the most horrible day of my life.

Q: And your favourite scene?     
A: That is easy: playing in Cardinal Wolsey’s rose garden at York Place with Sarah. It was a wonderful day. It would be because of this day that I first met the King and my Lady Anne. It was a memorable day as it changed my life completely.

Q: Tell me about your author. Has she written anymore books?
 A: She is slow and doesn’t always show up at the page. I get very impatient with her.

Q: Is your author working on anything else at the moment?
A: She has two stories she is dividing her attention to. One is the story of Sarah de Roche, the little girl I took care of in the beginning of Betrayal. She grew up during the novel and became a very good friend. She had some adventures in the Court of King Henry and Good Queen Bess. I want my author to work on this story exclusively, perhaps you can help me?

Q: How you think indie authors, such as your author can be helped or supported by readers or   groups?
A: Reviews, reviews, and more reviews. People do read reviews, and they do choose books based on what they read, so they are very important to an author. Word of mouth especially if the reader likes a book a mention of a book at book club or coffee would help a lot.

Q: Finally, before we must bid adieu, the novel you appear in has been awarded the prestigious IndieBRAG gold medallion does your author find this helpful, is there anything she would like IndieBRAG to do to help indie authors receive the recognition they deserve?
A: My author appreciates the support and encouragement she has received from IndieBRAG very much. She is aware that IndieBRAG goes to workshops and book shows drawing the public’s attention to winners of this prestigious award. She is very proud to be able to put the IndieBRAG medallion on copies of her book.

Helen: That was a very interesting conversation, but chatting is thirsty work, would you like a refill of that wine? And please, do have a honey cake. My daughter made them and they are delicious. Here’s to being a successful Brag Medallion Honouree!

“The King and his Lady have come!” a voice shouted from the palace gates. “Make way for the Royal coach.”
Elisabeth stood in the garden across from the carved main doors of York Place. She watched in silence as the carriage pulled before the grand stairs. The great door swung open to reveal Cardinal Thomas Wolsey fussing at his scarlet robes. He appeared unprepared to greet his Royal guests. Out of earshot, Elisabeth could only guess at His Excellency’s mumbled words of apology. She was startled out of her thoughts by the tug at her skirt.
“Come Elisabeth, come play with me.”
  Elisabeth turned with a smile to the small child standing shoulder deep in the yellow roses.
“Come Elisabeth, before Brother Michael finds us. It is too lovely a day to work at letters.”    A passing frown creased the child’s sun freckled face. “Come Elisabeth, catch me if you can.” Elisabeth belatedly reached out to stop the little child, watching in bewilderment as Sarah trampled the rose bed in her haste to run and play.
“Sarah de Roche! Watch where you put those clogs you call feet! Brother Stephen will have your hide for trampling his roses! No, Sarah, not the marigolds! Oh no, Sarah, don’t go into the maze!” Elisabeth called out helplessly as the child disappeared behind the hedge.  “When I find you, young miss…” she continued as she hiked her skirt up to her knees and set off after her disobedient charge’
Rounding a corner Elisabeth glimpsed Sarah scampering off just ahead. She called out as Sarah disappeared. Coming out from behind a boxwood hedge Elisabeth stared in horror as the child, head down, barreled into the astonished King.
“What have we here? “the King gasped, as he recovered his balance. Laughing heartily, he teased the Cardinal. “One of yours, I suppose?”
“Not mine, your Grace, “Wolsey said. “Its keeper must be here somewhere. Elisabeth!” he shouted.
“Her keeper? Are you raising this sweet moppet as you would your dogs, Thomas?” Henry VIII bellowed, hoisting the young child into his arms.
“Oh no, your Grace, the dogs are better looked after. The child is a handful and the girl who minds her, tries her best, but she is little more than a child herself.”
By now, Sarah was in tears, whimpering that she was a good girl and of course Elisabeth wasn’t a child because she was too big.
The King caressed her face. Smoothing Sarah’s red-gold curls, he cooed in her ear.
“Are you really the King?” Sarah asked timidly.
“Yes, I am,” Henry replied, laughing so hard his whole frame shook.
“What can a King do?” Sarah asked as she nuzzled Henry’s neck.
“Anything he wants to.”
“Could you make my lord Cardinal do something?”
“Anything, I wanted him to.”
Sarah worked her mouth for a few minutes before speaking. Then raising her head to face the King full on she asked. “Can you make my lord Cardinal give me and Elisabeth more time to play? We must work for hours and hours at our letters. It makes me sad to see the sunshine outside when we have to work so hard.”
Puzzled at Sarah’s request, Henry turned to the Cardinal.
“The child is in the care of a scribe, she learns her lessons at the scribe’s feet. Elisabeth has full charge of the child from morn to night.”
The child’s care, is that all that Elisabeth does?
“Oh no, your Grace, she labors with Brother Michael on the Gospel of Saint Mark, in a fine volume they are creating for me.”
“And the child, how came she to be at York Place?”
“Her father is a stonemason, who labors to repair the north tower.”
Henry turned his gaze to the mentioned tower, thinking of repairs needed to Westminster Palace. “How long has he labored so?”
“Forever!” Sarah said from the safety of the King’s arms.
“It has been some months now,” the Cardinal answered. Then turning to Elisabeth he continued. “Come claim your charge. Brother Michael awaits you in the library.”
Henry turned to the girl, smiling at her clumsy curtsey. He looked from the girl to Wolsey and then to the girl again.
Wolsey stammered as he straightened his robes. He cleared his throat. “This is Elisabeth Beeton, the child’s keeper.”
Elisabeth coiled tighter into her curtsey in embarrassment. “Your Grace,” she said nodding to the King. “Sarah, come to me,” she whispered breathlessly.
“Send your girl away,” the King said softly.
“But, your Grace, the child’s keeper is here.”
“We have no need of her. The child is content in my arms and I am content to have her so placed. Now that we may safely tread the path, shall we?’ Henry strode off intent on settling his business. 

Cover of Betrayal
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  1. A very interesting scene showing a different side of the King. Thanks for a great interview!

  2. Again, I love these interviews- what a great way to get into a new novel. This is an interesting view of Henry and Anne- well done!

  3. Thank you ladies for your comments.


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