Saturday, July 27, 2013

Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory, whose series of novels based on the Wars of the Roses has been adapted into the BBC television drama The White Queen. Her latest book in the series is The White Princess.

From her Q & A with Noah Charney for The Daily Beast:

The White Queen has recently appeared as a television series. Tell me about how that particular book was chosen and what the process of preparing the script for the series was like for you.

Well, a number of producers came to me wanting to do television or a film based on The White Queen. After talking a lot about it, what emerged is that I wanted to a series based on the three books: The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmaker’s Daughter. Those show the events, going back in time, from the birth of Henry Tudor right up to his arrival in England at Bosworth, through the eyes of the three most important women of the time. That’s how I wrote the novels, each through the eyes of a single, very important woman. Writing the scripts was in a sense weaving these stories together, the stories which I had pulled out of history—weaving them back together, through time, going from one woman to the other.

It is the dream of many a writer to see their characters brought to life by actors on screen. But your books feature historical characters interpreted by you in works of historically researched and accurate fiction. And now your interpretation has been interpreted for the screen. That’s a lot of steps. How much of the TV series that we see feels still historically accurate and maintaining your authorial voice, and how much was changed to suit the format?

I think when you move from novel to TV script, you lose your authorial voice. That’s the first thing that goes. It’s not you speaking, it’s the actor speaking, apart from everything else. And of course, behind them is the scriptwriter, and the various requirements of television. In terms of historical accuracy, we stayed pretty close to the novel and pretty close to the facts of history. There are some changes that I didn’t like, and I said at the time that I didn’t like, and that’s part of the scriptwriter’s job. They say,...[read on]
The White Queen is one of five books Kate Middleton should have read while waiting to give birth and one of Amanda Donohoe's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue