Welcome Beth von Staats to ExPats Post! Here’s a little insight into this erudite author. Beth is a history writer of both fiction and non-fiction short works. A life-long history enthusiast, Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She is the owner and administrator of Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers website, QueenAnneBoleyn.com.
Beth’s interest in British History grew through the profound influence of her Welsh grandparents, both of whom desired she learn of her family cultural heritage. Her most pronounced interest lies with the men and women who drove the course of events and/or who were most poignantly impacted by the English Henrician and Protestant Reformations, as well as the Tudor Dynasty of English and Welsh History in general.
For your chance to win a copy of Beth’s brilliant book, Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell, please leave your name and an e-mail address in the comment section of this article.
Thank you for joining us today, Beth. Please introduce yourself to our readers in 100 words or less.
Deb, thank you for the invitation to Fear and Loathing in Tudor England. I am a history writer of short works, both fiction and non-fiction from Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA. Most of my writing focuses upon 16th century English religious history, as well as the men and women most impacted by the English Reformation.
What motivated you to become a writer?
I have a lifelong love of history, particularly 16th and 17th English history, as well as colonial and American Revolutionary history. I write both historical fiction and non-fiction short works. In my fictional writing, much of which is freely available to browsers on my website Queenanneboleyn.com, I use a very deep first person introspective point of view to explore what famous historical figures may have been thinking and feeling at key moments of English history. My non-fiction writing focuses on simplifying complex historical events researched and documented by history scholars as a way to introduce 16th and 17th English history to people in a fun and engaging way. Most of my current non-fiction writing is focused upon 1500 to 4000 word single subject articles usually about subjects touching the English Reformation, and how this reformation both positively and negative impacted famous, infamous and ordinary people.
What type of research do you do? Do you use beta readers and an outside editor? How have they shaped your journey into publishing?
When researching a historical figure, I always seek the individual’s own writing, whether in letters, tracts, business accounts, stories, poetry, etc. Fortunately for me in researching Thomas Cranmer, the subject of the book we will be discussing today, a plethora of his writing survives and is easily accessible. Beyond this, I scour through historical works of renowned scholars and when possible contemporary (to the era) documents relating to the subject at hand.
I never utilized beta readers, and outside editing has been limited to professionally published work.
What is your latest work? How did you develop the concept? Who are your main characters?
My latest work is a short biography entitled Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell. This abbreviated biography is a work in MadeGlobal’s History in a Nutshell Series, which aims to give readers a good grounding in a historical topic in a concise, easily digestible and accessible way.
Thomas Cranmer: In a Nutshell is an accidental little book, an unexpected blessing resulting from my tendency towards thoroughness rather than brevity. In March 2015, I received a request from Claire Ridgway of The Tudor Society and The Anne Boleyn Files. The assignment seemed simple enough. All I needed to do was compose an internet blog post detailing Thomas Cranmer’s life – short and sweet, tied in a bow – for a series of highlights of Tudor era historical figures Claire planned to post on The Anne Boleyn Files website. I did give Claire’s special request a valiant try, but instead this little book was the result.
Would you introduce Thomas Cranmer to us?
Thomas Cranmer was a 16th century English historical figure who ultimately became the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury. Most history lovers think of Thomas Cranmer as the man plucked up from obscurity to become Archbishop of Canterbury for the specific role of settling King Henry VIII’s “Great Matter” once and for all, a task he dutifully committed by finding the King’s marriage to Catalina de Aragon invalid. Others think of Cranmer as the ever cautious reformer, who, hiding behind the front man and principle driver Thomas Cromwell, helped pave the way to the Henrican Reformation and introduction of an English language Bible. Then there are those who also look to him as the lead and principle change agent for the sweeping Protestant reforms that ravaged through England during the reign of King Edward VI. Arrested for treason shortly after the ascension of Queen Mary I, he was convicted and then sent to Oxford, where he remained imprisoned and also charged with heresy. Cranmer was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church on December 4, 1555, soon after found guilty of heresy, and then burned at the stake in Oxford, England on March 21, 1556.
What would the readers find most intriguing about Thomas Cranmer?
Most history lovers think of Thomas Cranmer as the man plucked up from obscurity to become Archbishop of Canterbury for the specific role of settling King Henry VIII’s “Great Matter” once and for all, a task he dutifully committed by finding the King’s marriage to Catalina de Aragon invalid. Others think of Cranmer as the ever cautious reformer, who, hiding behind the front man and principle driver Thomas Cromwell, helped pave the way to the Henrican Reformation and introduction of an English language Bible. Then there are those who also look to him as the lead and principle change agent for the sweeping Protestant reforms that ravaged through England during the reign of King Edward VI. Arrested for treason shortly after the ascension of Queen Mary I, he was convicted and then sent to Oxford, where he remained imprisoned and also charged with heresy. Cranmer was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church on December 4, 1555, soon after found guilty of heresy, and then burned at the stake on March 21, 1556.
Thomas Cranmer continually needs to make decisions and take actions that leave him choosing between his personal desires, religious beliefs, and moral values and those of the reigning monarch. Cranmer has several overlapping personal goals that carry through his lifetime. 1. He wants the love and affection that comes from family, a wife and children. He is highly opposed to clerical celibacy. He is willing to live in a secret marriage to achieve this personally, and lays a blind eye as Archbishop to where he knows of it in other clergy, despite stating publicly the expectation of clerical celibacy during the reign of King Henry VIII. 2. He is committed to insure all people in England have access to scripture through English translation and a uniform English language liturgy. 3. He genuinely wants to be a good, morally grounded person. Thus, he also becomes a very conflicted person, weighed down with guilt. 4. He is committed until his religious beliefs grossly are in conflict with the monarch to abide by the supreme authority of the monarch over the clergy, even when his moral values are compromised. 5. He comes to genuinely believe the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is the Antichrist and desires Roman Catholicism driven from England.
Now for a fun question. What item would we find in your refrigerator that would surprise us?
Quahogs – I have an unhealthy addiction to raw quahogs.
How can we find you on social media?
People can feel free to “follow” me on twitter at @quillprose. This stated, I am actually a Facebook aficionado. I host the facebook group Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers (Queenanneboleyn.com) and also administer a Facebook page of the same name.
Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell
MadeGlobal’s History in a Nutshell Series aims to give readers a good grounding in a historical topic in a concise, easily digestible and accessible way.
In Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell, Beth von Staats discusses the fascinating life of Thomas Cranmer, from his early education, through his appointment to Archbishop of Canterbury, his growth in confidence as a reformer, the writing of two versions of the English Book of Common Prayer and eventually to his imprisonment, recantations and execution.
Beth von Staats, creator of the popular “QueenAnneBoleyn” website brings together what is known about Thomas Cranmer and clearly explains his role in English history.
Where can we purchase your work?
Thomas Cranmer In a Nutshell can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here. A paperback copy of Beth’s book is being given away at each stop on the following Blog Tour. Look for all the tour stops and snag a copy for your library today!