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Monday, 3 March 2014

Victoria Lamb Blog Tour

Her Last Assassin

Today I am lucky to welcome Victoria Lamb to my blog following the release of her latest book, Her Last Assasin.  I asked Victoria about her writing inspiration for the last book in her Lucy Morgan series: 

My new novel from Bantam is HER LAST ASSASSIN, the final book in my Lucy Morgan series, an Elizabethan Court fiction with thriller and romance elements. In this last instalment, Lucy’s affair with William Shakespeare becomes a threat to her status at court, Master Goodluck finally reveals his compelling backstory as an English spy, and a political drama unfolds when an unknown assassin is detected within Elizabeth’s own retinue – forcing the queen to turn to a new spymaster for help.

It’s both exhilarating and frightening to write the final book in a series. There are so many threads to gather together – some that stretch right back to the beginning – ensuring all storylines are satisfactorily concluded, and all questions answered. Without careful planning, the logistics alone can become a nightmare. But this does mean there’s little room for extraneous matter; the final book becomes rich and action-packed, particularly when a writer has four narrative characters to follow, each with their own complex storylines, as I did in this series.

In HER LAST ASSASSIN, Lucy Morgan is my main protagonist, though not always the focus of the action. She begins the story still in love with young playwright Shakespeare, but William is hardly the ideal lover, struggling as he is with new-found fame and the prospect of a noble patron, and her position at court is soon dangerously precarious. Her mistress Queen Elizabeth has to contend with a court of rebellious young noblemen and a war with Spain that may destroy England. To add to that, the spy Master Goodluck uncovers a fresh plot against the queen – but personal tragedy overtakes him before he can deliver the information.

One of my favourite parts of the trilogy takes place in this final book, when we learn Master Goodluck’s true identity. He’s been a shadowy character throughout the trilogy, as befits a player-cum-spy whose aquaintances include theatrical impresario James Burbage and suspected government spy and plyawright Kit Marlowe. But now at last we discover his past, and the dramatic events during Queen Mary’s reign that drove him to become a spy.

It’s always sad to say farewell to a group of characters that have been with a writer through a series of books. They become like old friends, so well-developed in your mind that you know instinctively what they will say and do next. To watch such characters interact on the page is a lovely feeling, rather like being at a family gathering. But of course every story must reach a satisfactory end, and the next project always beckons beyond the final pages, with new storylines, characters, faces and voices to inhabit my head.

I’ve been lucky though, as I also write a Young Adult fiction series – the Tudor Witch Trilogy – that includes the young Elizabeth as a main character. So after bidding farewell to Elizabeth I as a middle-aged queen, I still have her voice in my head as an exiled princess in her sister Mary’s reign. That’s one of the beauties of writing historical fiction. There is always more to say about the ‘real’ people in our past, another facet of their stories waiting to be written …

HER LAST ASSASSIN is published by Bantam on February 27th 2014.

Thank you Victoria for including me in this blog tour. My review will be up on the blog soon.

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