The tragic lives of Henry VIII and his six wives are reimagined by seven acclaimed and bestselling authors in Fatal Throne.
Each author writes from the perspective of a different character, giving them all their own unique voice, while connecting the themes of betrayal, power, and love throughout. In this Q&A, meet editor and publisher Anne Schwartz of Schwartz & Wade Books, who brought this concept to life.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself! How long have you been an editor? Is Fatal Throne the type of book you typically work on?
I’ve been an editor for . . . gulp! . . . thirty-eight years, focusing on books for all ages, predominantly picture books. Though I’ve edited other YA fiction and nonfiction, this is the first YA historical fiction that I’ve ever worked on.
2. What drew you to this story?
I have always been fascinated by the Tudors, as has Candace Fleming, who first discussed the concept of individual writers each channeling one of Henry VIII’s wives over drinks at a convention a few years back. As soon as she began talking, I was hooked! I mean, the story of Henry VIII’s wives has everything: murder, intrigue, power plays, love, lust, betrayal, you name it.
3. What was it like working with seven different authors on one book?
It was fascinating. To see how this group of extraordinary writers each approached the same material, putting his or her unique spin on it, weaving certain themes together and building on others from story to story, was a once-in-an-editorial-lifetime experience for me. And every single one of these writers was a joy to work with and completely dedicated to making the best book possible.
4. How did each author get paired with a character? Did they choose? Did you choose?
The writers chose who they wanted to be. I had literally nothing to say about it. And it all worked out—imagine that!
5. What surprised you the most about the wives? Did you learn anything new about them?
I had never known much about Anna of Cleves, but Jennifer Donnelly really made her come to life before my eyes. I also never realized what a tragic figure poor young clueless soon-to-be-beheaded Catherine Howard was. Thank you, Linda Sue Park!
6. Do you have a favorite wife? If yes, which one and why?
I have to say that I became a big fan of the ingenious Kateryn Parr, thanks to Deborah Hopkinson’s nuanced portrait.
7. Do you have any writing advice for our aspiring authors?
Take risks, experiment, be daring—don’t be afraid to try something new.
8. What is the one thing you want readers to know about Fatal Throne?
The world in the 1500s was shockingly similar to what’s happening today. If you want to learn more about the Trump era, read about Henry VIII.
9. What is one fun fact about you?
I have always wanted to be either a midwife or a bartender.