“Spotlight” is a new feature to TudorsDynasty.com – This feature will be used to spotlight another Tudor-related website, social media account, or author.
Our first “Spotlight” recipient is the Facebook page, Tudor History Lovers. This page was created by our friend, Susan Abernethy. You might recognize her name because she is also a guest author on this site. Susan is one of the very first people who took interest in what I was doing and was kind enough to give me advice and tips.
Susan runs a few Facebook pages and is an admin for several groups along with having her own website called, The Freelance History Writer. Her Facebook pages include: Tudor History Lovers, Medieval History Writers and The Freelance History Writer.
We interviewed Susan to get a better feel for who she is and what she enjoys.
TD: Your website The Freelance History Writer covers more than just English history. Can you fill everyone in on what they can find on your website?
SA: Thanks Rebecca for inviting me to talk about my favorite subject, history! Yes my specialty is English and Tudor history. But The Freelance History Writer has so much more of interest. There are several particular sections on the blog. Included is a page with the history of all the
major medieval cathedrals in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. There are many fabulous women in Scottish history so I have a special section on them. Ever since my college days, I’ve enjoyed French history, especially medieval and Renaissance and I have a big section dedicated to France. Another page I’ve started lists all the articles related to the History Channel television show “Vikings” and I have an adjunct blog with book reviews on all the books I’ve read for historical research.
TD: What made you decide to start a Facebook page called Tudor History Lovers and how long has the page been active?
SA: I’ve had two pages on Facebook for many years. The first one I started is called Medieval History Lovers and the second page is the companion to the blog, The Freelance History Writer. At first I was posting Tudor related history to Medieval History Lovers but eventually, about six
months ago, I decided the Tudors deserved a page of their own. The page is meant to reach serious lovers of Tudor history as I found some Facebook pages on the era lacked authenticity. Within the last year, I had been doing a lot of research into the Wars of the Roses so the page
covers the period from the beginning of the Wars of the Roses to the death of Elizabeth I. What I enjoy about having these history pages is it allows me to learn about other eras and historical topics when I’m looking for things of interest to post.
TD: If you had to choose one person from the Tudor period to travel a long distance with, who would that be?
SA: Last year I read a biography of Bess of Hardwick by Mary Lovell. This was a fantastic book, so well researched and so well written. It was a joy to read. Bess herself is such a captivating character and was held in high esteem by Elizabeth I. She was an incredible entrepreneur, an unlikely position for a women in those times. She was possibly the most successful business person of the entire Tudor era. I would love to have a personal tour of her private homes of Chatsworth and Hardwick Hall and of all her commercial enterprises.
TD: What’s your favorite Tudor-related book, and why?
SA: This is a really hard question Rebecca because I have so many favorites. I’ve already mentioned Mary Lovell’s book on Bess of Hardwick. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two of Alison Weir’s books. Her book “The Lady in the Tower” is a complete analysis of the downfall of Anne Boleyn. She covers all the angles and even has a list of the dates she allegedly had sexual relations with her lovers and what Anne was actually doing on those dates. Of course it doesn’t add up. And Weir’s biography of Elizabeth of York is just a masterpiece. But my most recent favorite is Lacey Baldwin Smith’s “Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty”. I was sad to finish this book. It’s the best psycho-history biography I’ve ever read. Smith really gets down to the fundamentals of Henry’s personality.
TD: Who do you think is the most underrated Tudor period “character”?
SA: Lately I’ve been looking into a most intriguing Tudor character. She is Anne Seymour, née Stanhope, the wife of Queen Jane Seymour’s brother Edward, Duke of Somerset. She has had the misfortune of suffering from a bad reputation by historians based on a misconception. I don’t doubt that she was a proud woman and may have displayed a bad temperament. She even landed in the Tower of London when her husband lost his position as Lord Protector during the reign of Edward VI.
But before the death of Henry VIII, Anne was a strong Protestant and she managed to remain in the good graces of Queen Katherine Parr and the Lady Mary, two women on the opposite ends of the religious spectrum. Mary released Anne from the Tower after she became Queen. Anne went on to live a long and prosperous life from that point on and had many works of literature dedicated to her. She obviously was an educated woman and a patron of the arts. Retha M Warnicke has done of good job toward working to restore Anne’s reputation in her book “Wicked Women of Tudor England”.
TD: You’re online nearly every day – what’s the first history-related website (other than your own) you visit each day?
SA: Good question. I don’t visit a specific history-related website but I have an account with Bloglovin.com. This is a clearinghouse where you can enter all your favorite blogs and when a new article is posted, you get them in your news feed on Bloglovin. So every morning, I get a list of new articles from my chosen favorite history websites. It’s really a great resource for finding articles to post to my Facebook pages.
TD: Do you have any plans for writing a book in the future?
SA: Funny you should ask that! I’ve had countless people encourage me to write a book. I’m good at tossing around ideas but haven’t committed to anything. Right now I’m enjoying researching and writing for The Freelance History Writer. I’m having too much fun!
TD: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
SA: Right now I’m working on a trip to France which has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. I want to visit as many medieval sites as possible, especially the domain of William the Conqueror. I’d love the see the Bayeux Tapestry. And someday I’d like to visit Scandinavia
and Ireland, the lands of my ancestors.
TD: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
SA: I don’t think a lot of people know I love movies! My parents took me to many movies when I was a kid and my husband and I go to the theater at least once a week. We also attend the Telluride Film Festival here in Colorado every other year. Telluride is an old mountain gold mining town at 9,000 feet above sea level. The festival is held over Labor Day Weekend in early September and its five days of complete movie bliss. We look forward to it.
We’d like to sincerely thank Susan Abernethy for taking the time to answer our questions. We’d also like to publicly thank her for being such a great mentor and support system to budding bloggers all over the world. Today, we recognize you, Susan. 🙂