Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's Official: Third Book in My Series

I've signed a contract with Touchstone (S&S) on a third book, The Covenant. Time to celebrate!!

Here is the Publisher's Marketplace item: 

Dujour executive editor Nancy Bilyeau's THE COVENANT, third in her Joanna Stafford series (THE CROWN, THE CHALICE) in which the young novice's life is threatened and she must discover who among her powerful enemies in the court of Henry VIII wants her dead, to Heather Lazare at Touchstone, by Heide Lange at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (NA).

I will keep everyone posted on release date and a few select juicy details on the book here at the website. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Death of a Countess

By Nancy Bilyeau

On May 27, 1541, 68-year-old Margaret Pole, countess of Salisbury, was befitted within the confines of the Tower of London, as befitted someone of her rank. She was cousin to Henry VIII's mother, and well trusted by the king for years. Yet this intelligent and pious aristocrat died without trial in a horribly botched execution that is considered a low point of Henry VIII's reign.

Margaret knew better than most how difficult it was to survive royal storms if your family was close to the throne. Yet despite all her efforts to stay out of danger, it was her family that doomed her to the axe in the end.

To read more, go to my guest post on executedtoday:

Monday, May 13, 2013

New: My Blog Series on Abbey Ruins

This is the debut of a series devoted to the monastic ruins of England. My two novels, The Crown and The Chalice, are set in the 1530s; the main character is a young Dominican novice at a priory facing destruction.

"You love faded glory," said my husband, who knows me better than anyone in the world. He's right—I feel a strong pull toward grand old houses, pallid churches, neglected cemeteries, seldom-visited  landmarks. To me, few ruins are as poignant as those of an English abbey. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Catholic Herald: "My poignant journey in search of the martyrs"

I wrote an article for the Catholic Herald in England about writing my historical thriller.

"When I decided to create a 16th-century Dominican novice as the main character of my debut novel The Crown, my motive was to find a new way into the era. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting, living in royal palaces, dominated Tudor fiction. For my planned thriller, I wanted to open the door to a different world and a new sort of female protagonist. Eight years of research and two books later, I feel a complex tumble of emotions – intrigued, humbled, exhilarated, saddened and outraged – over what I learned about England’s lost monastic life....

I began my journey as a life-long Tudor history addict but fairly ignorant of the specifics of the religious orders. I had no spiritual agenda; I was raised by agnostic parents in the American Midwest. But after I learned a family secret when I was 19, I felt increasing curiosity about the Catholic Church. In the last month of her life, my grandmother told my mother that while she and my grandfather, Francis Aloysius O’Neill, babysat me as an infant, they took me to a priest in Chicago, Illinois, for baptism. The first priest they approached for baptism without the parents being present said no; the second one said yes. I was baptised in the Catholic Church but for nearly 20 years did not know it."

To read the rest, go to: