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Sharon Kay Penman
News from Sharon Kay Penman September 2013

Sharon Kay Penman

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Dear Readers,

I’d hoped to get this newsletter out sooner, but I’ve been locked in mortal combat with the Deadline Dragon since the spring, as I struggled to meet the July 1st deadline for A King’s Ransom. I actually did manage it, and thought I’d have a little time to catch my breath. No such luck. The good news—the great news—is that my editor loves Ransom. The not-so-good news is that my publisher wants to publish it next March, which means that they need me to respond to the edited manuscript, to provide the Afterword, Acknowledgments, Cast of Characters, Author Questionnaire, Author’s Note, and maps, as well as go through the copy-edited manuscript—all before I leave for my Richard III trip in early September. So the Deadline Dragon moved back in and he is not a fun roommate; he is cranky, keeps eying my dog as if she’d make a tasty snack, and it is like living with a six pack a day smoker, for every time he exhales, he singes the air. So while I am apologizing for this newsletter being so late, I am offering a more exotic version of “The dog ate my homework.” It is all the dragon’s fault.

I am looking forward very much to the Ricardian tour. We will be visiting all of the places that mattered to Richard during his lifetime: York, Middleham Castle, Leicester and Bosworth Field, Tewkesbury, Ludlow, Windsor, and London. Academic Travel has arranged for us to meet with members of the archaeological team responsible for finding Richard’s lost grave in that Leicester car park, to have guided tours of both battlefields, to have a private visit to Crosby Hall, to visit the York archives, with a reception at Barley Hall in York, among other events. The Mansion House and Barley Hall reception and reading is open to the public, not just for tour members, and tickets may still be available; here is the contact information: +44 01904 615505 or  or It is scheduled for September 10th at 6:30 PM, and the tickets cost twenty-five pounds sterling.

For those who might be interested in going on my next Richard III tour, here is the link to the website. The most compelling evidence that Academic Travel handles these tours very well is that fourteen people who were on my Eleanor of Aquitaine tour in 2011 are going on this one, too. We do not have specific dates as yet, but we have been talking about doing a Richard III tour next spring and then another Eleanor of Aquitaine tour in 2015, at which time the Abbaye Royale Hotel on the grounds of Fontevrault Abbey, still under renovation, will be open again.

My American publisher, G.P. Putnam’s, is intending to publish A King’s Ransom on March 4th. My British publisher, Macmillan and Company, has not settled upon a pub date yet, but I expect it will be in April, certainly for Australia and New Zealand and most likely for the U.K. too. Macmillan has not chosen a jacket cover yet, but you can see the American jacket cover on Amazon, as much to my surprise, they already have it available for pre-ordering. As we did with Lionheart, they are going with a nineteenth century painting of Richard. Pre-order on

The Sunne in SplendourI have received the first copy of the new British hardcover edition of The Sunne in Splendour, and it is stunning. I am totally in love with the jacket, and think only a dyed-in-the-wool Tudorite could resist its dramatic appeal. I have often posted about this in my blogs and on my Facebook pages, but for those of you who don’t find the time to visit the blog or who shun Facebook, I was given a rare opportunity to do some rewriting. There were some awful typographical errors that marred the original British hardcover edition and I was finally able to correct them, as well as correcting a few uncaught errors of my own, such as the infamous little time-traveling grey squirrel who popped up in Nottingham Castle’s garden toward the end of the book. Best of all, I was able to do some tinkering with the dialogue. Sunne was my first novel and it was, therefore, a learning experience. In subsequent books, I realized that when it comes to medieval-sounding dialogue, less is more, and I’ve long wanted to make some changes, nothing drastic, just streamlining and simplifying where needed. I also wrote a new Author’s Note for the rebirth, taking into account the remarkable discovery of Richard’s lost grave in that Leicester car park, and discussing new developments in the three decades since Sunne’s publication. Unfortunately, we had to cut back on some of it due to lack of space in the hardcover edition. But Macmillan is also bringing out a new e-book edition of Sunne in September, reflecting all of my changes to the hardcover edition, and it will contain the full version of the new Author’s Note. I will also post it on my website for those who’d like to read it.

I have often been asked by my American readers if the hardcover edition will be published in the US. Sadly, no; this is a British production. It can be purchased, of course, from on-line bookshops, one of which, Book Depository, will ship books worldwide free of charge. The new e-book will be available only in the UK and Down Under. But St Martin’s Press, which published the American e-book version of Sunne, is going to bring out a new version that will be the same as the one published in the UK, and it, too, will contain the full version of the new Author’s Note.

In other news, I have signed a new contract with G.P. Putnam’s to do a novel set in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, titled The Land Beyond the Sea, which is the translation of the medieval name for the Holy Land, Outremer. Many of the characters who appeared in Lionheart will be appearing again in the new book—Balian d’Ibelin, Conrad of Montferrat, Guy de Lusignan, Humphrey de Toron, Queen Isabella, Saladin, and his brother, al Malik al-Adil, just to name some of them. I’d originally intended it to be Balian’s story, but the Lionheart’s nephew, Henri of Champagne, has joined that small society of characters who managed to expand their roles far beyond what I’d imagined for them. So Henri will play a major part in the Outremer book; I haven’t been able to come up with a convenient shorthand for the title yet, like Sunne or Saints or Dragons. For the curious, other characters who balked at getting off center stage were Davydd ap Gruffydd, the poet-prince Hywel ab Owain, and Henry II’s cousin, Maud, the Countess of Chester. Davydd did his best to steal every scene he was in and Hywel so charmed me that I did not even notice at first how often he was making appearances in Time and Chance. But Maud was the craftiest of the lot. First she volunteered to act as the go-between for Ranulf’s illicit love affair with Annora in Saints, and after that affair ended, she cleverly set about becoming a friend and confidante of Henry’s queen, Eleanor. So what was to be a one-book deal turned into a three-book deal, and the only reason my Maud did not pop up in Lionheart, too, was that the real Maud died in the summer of 1189.

Since I’ve often talked about dog rescue on my blogs and Facebook pages, I thought I should mention that my white shepherd, Tristan, died last November. It was sudden—a collapse of his spinal column and nothing could be done. I thought we’d have more than twenty months together, but at least I know they were twenty good months for him in a life that not always easy. I will probably adopt another dog eventually, but for now there is just my spaniel, Holly. I’ll see if I can find a photo of her and Tristan to add to the newsletter; they were not only pals, but partners in crime.

Tristan and Holly

As always, I can be contacted via my website or at the following e-mail address: or via snail mail at PO Box 1135, Mays Landing, NJ, USA 08330.


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