Author's Corner: Historical Romance Author Maryanne Fantalis

Today on the Author's Corner, historical romance writer Maryanne Fantalis talks about her favorite period in English history and why she set her novel, Finding Kate, there.

When I fall in love with something, I fall hard. It’s more like obsession, really.

I discovered the period of English medieval history known as the Wars of the Roses entirely by accident. I was a preteen, maybe eleven or twelve, looking for a good book to read. In those days, YA fiction wasn’t a huge thing the way it is now. There was Judy Blume and Lois Duncan and Paul Zindel and that was about it. The “teen” fiction section at my library was less than one full shelving unit. I blew through it in one summer.

So at a very young age, I moved up to the adult fiction section. Literally. Adult fiction was up a very open, very exposed set of stairs that you could see from the main desk of the library. I had to sneak up there when the librarians weren’t looking so I wouldn’t get in trouble.

You know, when I think about it, the librarians were checking out my books at the desk, so I guess they knew exactly what I was doing. And here I thought I was being super sneaky.


I remember it like it was yesterday, finding the book that dropped me right into the Wars of the Roses. It was on a lower shelf, and I had to kneel on industrial carpeting to get it. It was called The King’s Grey Mare. I remember thinking, “Oh, a horse book. This should be good.”

No, kid. It’s not a horse book.

It was about a king in England in the 1400s, Edward IV, and about his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. She was the “grey mare”: mare, because she was like a brood mare, having many children; and grey, because she had previously been married to a man named Sir John Grey.

King Edward IV and His Queen, Elizabeth Woodville at Reading Abbey, 1464 by Ernest Board

Bam! I was hooked.

I immediately went back for another book by the same author, and another. I dived into the deep end of the decades-long fight between York and Lancaster, the dynastic conflict that gave birth to the Tudors (and weren’t they fun?!). I devoured the classics of the genre (The Sun in Splendor by Sharon Kay Penman, The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey) and discovered historian and novelist Alison Weir. I majored in history in college, even though I had convinced myself that I could do a science degree. Yeah, right.

And when it came time to tell the tale of Kate, Shakespeare’s shrew, I could think of no better place in time or in the world to have her live than in the world I know and love best: at the tipping point between the world of King Richard III and that of King Henry VII.

Maryanne's retelling of the classic Taming of the Shrew, entitled FINDING KATE, hits shelves this spring! Stay tuned for the Cover Reveal! 

Maryanne lives near Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and two kids, where she teaches writing at the University of Colorado. Though she grew up near the Atlantic Ocean, she has always preferred the cool forests and racing streams of mountains, so it’s a dream come true to live within a few short miles of the majestic Rockies. This series of novels she's working on with City Owl Press combines two of her life-long passions: medieval England and Shakespeare’s plays.