Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Duchess's Disgrace

Did Eleanor Cobham, the alluring duchess of Gloucester, dabble in the black arts in the 15th century? I wrote a blog post about a shocking arrest and trial for necromancy. The Lancastrian court was truly a tense and treacherous place....


Monday, January 7, 2013


The time has almost come!

Publisher: Simon&Schuster
I am so excited to share a first look at my historical thriller The Chalice, a sequel to The Crown. It will be published in the United Kingdom on Feb. 28th and in the United States and Canada on March 5th.

I was overwhelmed by the response to my debut novel The Crown from readers and reviewers. A definite highlight of 2012 was the Crime Writers' Association putting The Crown on the shortlist of the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award.

I wrote my second book before the first one even came out. After selling The Crown to Simon & Schuster's Touchstone in 2010, I took a year and a half off from magazine editing and plunged into writing The Chalice. The New York Public Library granted my request to write in the Wertheim Study, and I pored through the books in its amazing collection and tapped away at my laptop computer at a long wooden table.
The UK cover from Orion

I  flew to England in the summer of 2011 to do on-the-ground research in London and Dartford, which was honestly the most fun I have had in years. I slept one hour on the red-eye flight but nonetheless went crazy my first day, exploring nonstop for 10 hours. I was in the last group of the day to revisit my beloved Tower of London.

I finished the first draft of The Chalice in December 2011. Brilliant editors from both my American and British publishing houses gave me notes and pushed me to make the book as taut, suspenseful, lively, dramatic and moving as possible. I am grateful for all of their insights.

16th century necromancy
The Crown's narrative ends in the spring of 1538 and The Chalice takes up the tale in the autumn of that same year. This isn't the place to detail the plot, except to say that the framework of this novel is prophecy. Tudor England in the 1530s was rife with prophecy, whether it was the predictions of what would befall Henry VIII spoken by the Benedictine nun Elizabeth Barton, the forecasts of the legions of astrologers (some of whom doubled as physicians), or the divinings of the future obtained by the shadowy necromancers, whom people sought out at their own peril. The prophecies themselves were cryptic, filled with codes and chilling imagery.

What would happen, I decided, if my protagonist, Joanna Stafford, were to find herself part of a prophecy, and if that prophecy had the power to change the course of the kingdom? Would she plunge forward--or would she fight its power over her fate? How far would she go to restore the spiritual life she loved to England? These questions interested me and propelled me forward in the months that I wrote the novel.

Without further ado, I invite you to enter the world of The Chalice.

First: Check out a Pinterest board I created to share the images that inspired me while writing the book: http://pinterest.com/tudorscribe/things-found-in-my-novel-the-chalice/ (Gosh, I love Pinterest!)

Second: Dive into the first four chapters of The Chalice, offered for free on scribd.com: http://www.scribd.com/doc/116456770/The-Chalice-by-Nancy-Bilyeau-start-reading-today

Third: Read the first post in a four-part series on The Necromancer, a dark figure that has haunted mankind since the days of Homer and right up to today's popular culture, for it's a necromancer that makes an appearance in the hit film The Hobbit  http://bloodygoodread.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-ancient-art-of-necromancer.html

Fourth: Enter a giveaway to request an early review copy of The Chalice, available on http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/42514-the-chalice

Thank you for reading this blog post and for taking an interest in my journey. If you're not following already, please join me on twitter, where I am @tudorscribe.

I hope you enjoy The Chalice!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

THE CROWN Makes the List!

Some wonderful news...

I'm honored to see "The Crown" on the same list as novels written by Hilary Mantel, C.W. Gortner and other amazing writers.

The Book Lounge on Sheknows.com featured "The Crown," saying:

Why it’s wonderful: The Crown includes all the drama of a historical thriller, but Bilyeau’s writing is closer to that of a traditional historical novel, with well-developed characters and rich historical detail. Bonus: This is the first in the series. Look for The Chalice in March 2013.

This is very inspiring!

To read the list, go to: