Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including Wolf Hall, which won the 2009 Man Booker Prize, and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.
From her Q & A with Foyles:
What is it about this period of history, and Thomas Cromwell in particular, that fascinates you?Learn about the book Mantel wishes she had written.
The reign of Henry VII is so gruesomely fascinating that it's irresistible material for novelists and dramatists, offering the perfect mix of political and personal themes. But of course it's been done so often. I wouldn't have been drawn to it, except that Thomas Cromwell led me. I wanted to understand his stealthy but spectacular rise in the world, his enigmatic personality. When you look through the familiar history and personalities through Cromwell's eyes, they come up fresh and new.
Did you always plan a follow up to Wolf Hall?
I have always planned to tell Thomas Cromwell's whole story, from his obscure birth through his rise to power and his sudden fall and execution in 1540. I hope to follow Bring Up The Bodies with a third and final book, The Mirror & The Light.
How did the novelist and historian come together - or clash - in historical fiction?
I think the novelist has to build on the historian's work, and go to work at the point where the biographer stops operating. Until very recently in human history, private life was harder to access and reimagine than public life. By the nature of the thing, hard evidence about it is difficult to come by. Also, conspiracies are...[read on]