Today I’m pleased to welcome Phillipa Vincent-Connolly to my blog. Phillipa has kindly given us an insight into her book Disability and the Tudors which is due to be published later this year and her work on her Anne Boleyn series.
Phillipa Vincent-Connolly is a historian who qualified in History and Humanities with the Open University in 2011. She went on to qualify as a secondary school teacher in 2014 and teaches History and Textiles in schools across Dorset as a supply teacher. She has published both fiction and non-fiction and is currently working towards achieving her PhD in History. Among her many interests, she has a deep and abiding love for all things historical: fashion, corsetry, archives, artefacts, and architecture, and is a keen activist with an interest in disability equality and socialism. Phillipa lives in Poole, Dorset with her two children.
Disability and the Tudors: All the King’s Fools is due to be published November 2021, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Disability history is considered a taboo subject, and one rarely covered, until recent years. The history of disabled people needs to be told so that the community can reclaim their rightful place deserved in the narratives of history. Let’s not continue to just create research for the sake of it being fashionable to study. Disability history needs its own departments in universities to dedicate itself to the subject.
What inspired you to write about this subject?
I was born at 26 weeks which meant that being premature I weighed only 2lbs 2 ounces. In 1970 i was the smallest surviving baby. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy sixth months after my birth. As I grew older, I was fascinated by how disabled people had been viewed and treated in the past, and was determined to start researching the subject.
Was there anything particularly surprising you came across in your research?
Yes. The most fascinating thing I found about how the Tudors related to disabilities, was that they were far more compassionate, considerate and accommodating than we actually appear to be in the twenty-first century.
Timeless Falcon is the first volume in your novel of Anne Boleyn, can you tell us a bit about it and where the idea came from to do a time travel aspect?
Anne Boleyn, and her story has been done to death in historical fiction, and I wanted to focus on her story from a completely different angle, through the eyes of a twenty-first century history undergraduate, who discovers a portal, and a cypher ring in her professor’s office which gives her the ability to time travel back to Anne Boleyn and Hever castle.
Anne’s story is told through Beth Wicker’s eyes, as she navigates the sixteenth century, and all the personalities in Anne’s world.
I wanted to play with the idea of seeing these characters through modern eyes, and Beth facing the dilemma of whether or not to meddle in the history or try to change Anne’s story. I also struggled with the idea of whether, as a historian I should change the outcomes to the history even though it is fiction, for the sake of integrity to Anne’s story, I’ve kept closely to actually events as far as possible.
What can readers expect from the next volume?
Readers can expect to see how Beth and Anne’s friendship develops, and how she is pulled deeper into Anne’s experiences of the Tudor Court. Beth also struggles with how much she can tell Anne of her future. Beth has been warned to stay as an observer of events in order to help her with her studies, but finds herself drawn to George Boleyn, who she is steadily falls in love with, much to Anne Boleyn’s disgust. The series really develops into a strong narrative of Beth’s experiences in Tudor England building strong relationships with the Boleyn’s and even Henry VIII, and by the end of Volume Four, readers will be in for an unexpected surprise regarding Beth’s future, and the ending of the series.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on the edits of Timeless Falcon Volume Two, the second drafts of Volume Three and Volume Four in the series. I am also half way through writing another non fiction Disability and the Victorians:Christian Charity and Chastisement.
Is there anything you’d particularly like to write about in the future?
I’d like to write some more non fiction on disability history, and I have an idea for a historical thriller called Kept Boy about an ex Russian duchess exiled to England after the revolution and the First World War, spending the 1920s and 1930s here in seclusion.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Write about what you know and what you are passionate about.
Name one book you think everyone should read
I can’t nail my answer down to just one single book as I read anything from the bible, to historical non fiction, to autobiographical books, to politics, to art, music and fashion and costume books. I enjoy being a well read human being! Right now I’m concentrating on non fiction books in preparation for starting my PhD.
If you could speak to one person from the past who would it be and why?
I‘d like to sit down with my grandparents who both died in 1998, and 1999. They instilled in me my passion for history, politics and fashion. So I’d like to sit down and talk more to them about their lives, their experiences during the war, and also share with them what I’m now doing with my life, as I think they’d be proud of me.
If you’d like to hear more from Phillipa you can find her on Twitter
You can also find her on Amazon where you can purchase Timeless Falcon and pre-order Disability and the Tudors when it becomes available.
A big thank you to Phillipa for joining me and I personally cannot wait for your publication day! I wish you the best of luck with your works.