Giveaway & Interview With Katherine Longshore (You need this book!)

So if you caught my post on Monday it was a review of Brazen by Katherine Longshore. OH MY GOODNESS. Please tell me it’s on your TBR. If you like fun historical novels or the show Reign…get on this. And if you are not NORMALLY into historical fiction…I vote giving this one a chance. Given my love for history and this book, you can imagine how excited I am for this interview with Katherine Longshore ALL about Brazen, her research and more!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

1. Describe Brazen in 6 words or less.

I think the tagline does it well in three: Duty. Loss. Rebellion. Though I’d have to add two more: Love and Friendship.

2. In Gilt and Tarnish you wrote about a bit more well known figures in King Henry VIII’s court, what drew you to Mary Howard to write from her POV in Brazen?

One of the first things that drew me to Mary was that she never remarried. This was something almost unheard of in the Tudor court, and definitely frowned upon by the men in her family who were looking to capitalize on her gender, looks and status in any way possible. I wanted to know why. I could only figure that out for myself by getting inside her head for a while.

But probably the most compelling thing that inspired me to write about Mary was the Devonshire Manuscript. I came across a reference to it when I was researching Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt’s relationship, and found the idea utterly compelling. It is a real leatherbound volume in which many different people (including Thomas Wyatt, and some say, Anne Boleyn) wrote poetry, comments and cryptic notes. It was apparently passed around the court for several years. Two of the most consistent hands were those of Madge Shelton and Margaret Douglas, and the initials stamped on the cover were M.F.—Mary (Howard) FitzRoy. I latched onto the idea of this literary brat pack roaming the galleries of Hampton Court and Henry’s other palaces, and took off from there.

3. How do you balance the historical facts and the fictional liberties when writing? How do you choose what remains completely accurate and what doesn’t?

I have always felt that when it comes to the Tudor court, truth is stranger than fiction. The raw material (the tyrannical king, the manipulative advisors, the six very different wives) is irresistible. Because of this, I try to be as accurate as I possibly can with the facts: who, what, where, when. If my characters birthdays were noted, I cannot make them older or younger. If there wasn’t solid evidence that Henry VIII had an affair with someone, I don’t include it. If Anne Boleyn was at Hampton Court on such and such a date, that’s where I keep her—even if it might suit my story better to have her somewhere else. Thus the long stretches in BRAZEN when Mary and Fitz are separated—he wasn’t at court. Period.

It’s the how and why that I get to play with, and this is where the fictional liberties come in. Why did Mary never remarry? How did she and Fitz feel, being married at fourteen and not allowed to consummate? I also get to do my inventing around the gaps in the historical record. There aren’t any complete lists of the ladies at the court during Anne Boleyn’s time as queen. There is no record of Mary Howard being at court, but then again there is no record of her being anywhere else. It suited the purpose of my story to have her be close to Anne, and there is mention of it in the historical record, so I followed my instincts to the (possibly) fictional conclusion.

My biggest departure from known facts again revolves around the Devonshire Manuscript. I wanted the book to be the touchstone I imagined it to be, but couldn’t find enough evidence in the book itself to suit my needs. So I invented extra pages where the three girls (Mary, Madge and Margaret) wrote lists of attributes of the men they might fall in love with. These lists don’t exist, but it made the story so much richer to include them.

4. It’s obvious from reading Brazen how much research you did…what was the most interesting or mind-blowing things that you came across in your research about King Henry VIII’s reign or life in general then?

One of my favorites is something I came across very early on, when I was just reading history out of interest rather than researching for a book. The Tudors drank wine and beer almost exclusively—never water. They thought water was poisonous to humans and, of course, at the time, it was because the rivers were both garbage dumps and sewers. The boiling and fermenting process in brewing beer killed the bacteria, making it potable. In their defense, however, the Tudors didn’t spend their entire lives inebriated, as they often drank what they called “small beer”, which contained very little alcohol. However, unappetizingly, it sometimes had the consistency of porridge.

5. There were so many compelling figures that were just brought to life in Brazen. Mary Howard aside, who was your favorite to research and to write?

I’m fascinated by Margaret Douglas. She is such an enigma. Daughter of the dowager Queen of Scotland and the Earl of Angus, niece to the King of England, royal and yet she had little political power. She was raised in part with Mary Tudor, who became Mary I, and I can’t help thinking that some of Margaret’s opinions and feelings would have been colored by that association. Margaret appeared on the outside to be the perfect courtier, and the obedient niece to Henry VIII, except for these (excuse the pun) royally imprudent love affairs that got her thrown in prison more than once. She spent her later years in and out of court (and sometimes as a thorn in the side of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth), finagling to get herself and her progeny closer to the throne—and succeeded when her grandson became James I. How’s that for tenacious?

6. If you were transported back into the reign of King Henry VIII, what 3 attributes do you think you’d have to survive King Henry’s court?

Discretion—I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Education—If I got transported back with all my faculties intact, I’d have the heads up on things like reading and writing, as well as basic hygiene. Not to mention the foreknowledge of what happens next and to whom.
Imagination—I’ve had some experience telling stories and making them seem absolutely true.

7. Kiss, Marry, Kill Brazen style — Henry Fitzroy, Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard?

I’d kiss Thomas Wyatt (I imagine he’s pretty good at it!), marry Henry FitzRoy (hello! Son of the king) and regrettably I’d have to kill Henry Howard (who historically made things difficult for himself—Henry VIII agreed with me and had him executed in 1547).


Thanks for such thoughtful answers, Katherine! After reading and loving Brazen, your answers were SOOO interesting to me! Especially the fact that the notebook passed around was real!!



So, I’m really jealous of what Penguin Teen is offering up for giveaway for you guys because I WANT IT FOR MYSELF. I am dying to read Gilt and Tarnish after reading Brazen (two other books set in King Henry VIII’s court — seriously a young Anne Boleyn is the MC is one!!) and Courted is the paperback bind-up of those two. I’m also going to personally throw in Brazen (which will be fulfilled by myself) because I LOVED it so much and want you to read it!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore9780147513687_large_Courted

So what you will win:
* A copy of Courted (bind-up of Gilt & Tarnish) —-> prize fulfilled by Penguin Teen
* A hardcover of Brazen —–> prize fulfilled by me!

US Only.
Ends 7/17 11:59pm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author


Katherine Longshore ( is the author of Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen. She lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshipping dog. Follow her on Twitter!

Check out COURTED (paperback compilation of Gilt and Tarnish) // Check out BRAZEN



Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour to find out more about Katherine Longshore, her books, and some of her favorite historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine

Thursday, July 10Perpetual Page Turner

Tuesday, July 15Alice Marvels

Thursday, July 17 I am a Reader

Tuesday, July 22 Novel Sounds

Thursday, July 24 Starry-Eyed Revue

Tuesday, July 29 The Midnight Garden

Thursday, July 31 Novel Thoughts

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Ooh, I really like REIGN! I’ve been wanting to read these books for some time, but I just haven’t gotten them to yet. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Christina R. says:

    LOVE how she was inspired by this document all the important people wrote in! The secret notes would be awesome to decipher!!

    This is an awesome interview 🙂

    Thank you 🙂

    • RIGHT? And when you read Brazen the fact that she was inspired by a real document for their notebook is so cool. I hadn’t known that before I read Brazen and now I’m even more fascinated. I had figured that was just fictional for the story.

  3. Hi Jamie! Is the giveaway international or US only?

  4. This book looks so good! I’ve seen it around, but honestly, didn’t even realize that it’s historical fiction. Oops. Guess I haven’t been paying attention. I just got into historical fiction last year and am loving it! Hopefully I can add this one to that list. Thanks for the giveaway, darling!

  5. Sandy Steckler says:

    I liked her comments about surviving in King Henry’s Court, I think I would also have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I never really thought about how nasty their water was, I am not a beer drinker I guess back there most everyone was. It really doesn’t sound all that refreshing, drinking beer all day no matter “small” they were.

  6. Christina says:

    I devour historical fiction. can’t wait to pick these up!

  7. I am super excited to read this series! The Boleyn series by Laura Andersen are some of my favorite books of all time. I didn’t realize how much I would love historical fiction until I read them. The covers of these books are gorgeous as well! Great interview and giveaway.

  8. Great interview Jamie. This is such an interesting time in history and it was nice to read what Katherine used and didn’t use in these books. I’ve never read them but they are definitely on my TBR pile.

  9. I own Gilt but haven’t read it yet. Historical fiction is one of my new loves I discovered about 1 1/2 years ago, didn’t think I’d like it. Can’t wait to read these books!

  10. Heather says:

    I love anything and everything Tudor! I just picked up Tarnish and Brazen from my library and can’t wait to read it! Gilt was out but I’ll pick it up when it gets in! Wish this giveaway was available for Canadians but I’m excited to get a chance to read them anyways!

  11. thanks for the great interview and the giveaway. I particularly liked your question #6 and the answers

  12. Oh, I had no idea what Brazen was about (but I know I’ve seen the cover). Reading this interview about the notebook that the author researched is fascinating! I can see how this would make a great premise for a novel.

  13. I’ve read Gilt and really enjoyed it and I just picked up Brazen from the library! Very excited to start it!

  14. I LOVE the show Reign–the whole time I watched I kept wishing it were a YA book. Now I’m even more excited to read this! Wonderful interview. 🙂

  15. Nikki r. says:

    This looks interesting! I love all thing British royalty!

  16. This book sounds SO good! I’m obsessed with Reign, so haha.

  17. I can’t wait to read Brazen! I love Reign and I credit Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series as some of the books that got me back into reading after college. Have you read any of hers? You should!

  18. I’ve been looking for more historical fiction to read and Brazen sounds right up my ally! Add the fact that Katherine Longshore described it as having love and friendship and I am totally SOLD! 😀

  19. Such a great interview Jamie! I loved this book as well and am so glad you enjoyed it!

  20. The Tudor area of history was always one that was interesting- it was during the time of cultural and social change for England. I’ve heard so many incredible things about this book, and it’s about a Tudor who’s lesser known and I personally know little about, Henry Fitzroy. I know a lot about Henry VIII, his six wives, and Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward and even some of their relations like Mary, Queen of Scots, but not as much Henry. So I’m super excited to check this one out especially since you’ve loved it as well. The interview was interesting to read as well, and thank you for hosting the giveaway!

  21. I really need to read more historical fiction. It’s right up my alley but for some reason I hardly ever pick it up. I’d love to read these books!

  22. I wasn’t interested in this book until I read your review, so now I’m very excited to read it and I’m hoping my library will get a copy soon.

  23. this is the first i’ve come across this series and it’s definitely caught my attention 🙂 Thanks for the awesome review!

  24. I love to read books that are heavily fact-based. This series is intriguing on so many levels. The amount of research that went into the books must have been staggering. I can only imagine the spreadsheets, etc., required to keep the information straight. Thanks for a wonderful interview.

  25. I’m not typically a huge fan of historical fiction. That being said, this sounds great! Definitely going on my TBR.

  26. Love, love, love the Tudor era. My kids’ names are Katherine, Henry and a second girl with the middle name Elizabeth.

  27. Jillian says:

    I’m not normally big on historical fiction, but I have to say I’m definitely intrigued by these books! I will be checking them out, thanks for posting! Also will have to check out Reign!

  28. I absolutely love historical fiction and I’m so excited for this giveaway. I think it’s interesting that some beers had the consistency of porridge (which to drink would be gross).

  29. Emily R. says:

    Great interview! I love historical fiction, especially when it centers around Henry VII, so I can’t wait to give these books a try!

  30. This book sounds like so much fun! You are so lucky you got to do an interview with her!

  31. I’m glad she enjoyed doing research for this book! I sure her passion will show in her work & this will be a wonderful read. I’ve good things about the books before & can’t wait!

  32. I absolutely loved the first two books in this series. I have been so eager to read Brazen for months!!! This is when I find historical fiction is at its best.

  33. Great interview! So, historical novels are not something that I read a ton of. I am incredibly choosy with this genre, more so than with any other. If a story is heavy on the history, and light on the plot and other aspects, I tend to get bored. BUT, when I do read a historical novel that has been recommended to me out the wazoo, I tend to love them. Gilt is one of those stories that has been recommended to me out the wazoo, and it is on my TBR ASAP list. I really enjoyed reading the interview. It just made me even more certain that these three books are ones that I do not want to pass up! Thanks so much for the giveaway!


  1. […] Perpetual Page Turner — Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen by Katherine Longshore (US only) (ends July […]

  2. Novel Sounds says:

    […] July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine Thursday, July 10 –Perpetual Page Turner Tuesday, July 15 – Alice Marvels Thursday, July 17 – Confessions of a Book Addict Tuesday, July […]

  3. […] July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine Thursday, July 10 –Perpetual Page Turner Tuesday, July 15 –Alice Marvels Thursday, July 17 – Confessions of a Book Addict Tuesday, July […]

  4. […] July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine Thursday, July 10 –Perpetual Page Turner Tuesday, July 15 –Alice Marvels Thursday, July 17 – Confessions of a Book Addict Tuesday, July […]