Interview with D.L. Bogdan, author of “The Sumerton Women”

I am happy to post my interview with D.L. Bogdan, author of “The Sumerton Women”, “Secrets at the Tudor Court” and “Rivals in the Tudor court”. “The Sumerton Women” launches today , so on this occasion I had a little talk with D.L. Bogdan. Enjoy!

Q : Welcome to Queen Anne Boleyn Website! Could you share with us a little about yourself and your background?

A : I am the proud wife of a very handsome retired US Navy Chief, and together we have a blended family of four, making our home in central WI.  I also am a trained pianist and vocalist—though I admit, much of that training was set aside when I discovered Janis Joplin, classic rock, and show tunes.  I still love to play and sing a very eclectic variety of music, however, and it is a great twin outlet to my writing.  I come from a strongly Chicagoan background and am the first of my family to be born in Wisconsin.  If you are not familiar with the area, there is a great rivalry between WI and its neighboring state of IL, so I have had to swear allegiance to both football teams—the Bears and the Packers!  It may just start a war yet . . .

 Q : I loved the characters and the storyline in “The Sumerton Women”. Are those characters based on real people/events?  

A : Most of the characters in THE SUMERTON WOMEN are of my own creation.  There are some, as I call them, “guest appearances” by historical figures, most prominently the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.  The events that drive the conflict in the novel, such as the British Reformation and the ups and downs in Henry VIII’s and Edward VI’s England, are real.

 Q : When and how characters from your book became real in your imagination? When did you decide you will write this novel? 

A  : It was almost four years ago when I had the idea for this novel.  I wrote about a quarter of it, then put it aside when SECRETS…and RIVALS…got picked up, then returned to it when my editor asked if there were other Tudor era novels I was working on. Conveniently, THE SUMERTON WOMEN was there and waiting to be finished.  The characters ruminate within me for quite a while as I entertain scenes in my mind and develop them further.  I tend to get very wrapped up in my characters, whether they are my own or are historical figures, and the process can be quite intense.  They take up residence in my mind for the whole duration of the novel—and of course they never leave my heart.

 Q : You wrote two other historical novels set in the Tudor England. How did you become interested in this period of history? 

A : I am a lover of history, from the times before Christ right through the Vietnam era.  There are so many stories waiting to be told, about the people, the places, and the events that shaped them—everything a historical novelist needs.  The Tudor period is just one of my many fascinations.  I have always found the era to be filled with compelling historical figures faced with intense conflict and personal struggles that, despite the grand scale of the events they dealt with, are actually rather relatable.  I endeavored to cover areas within the now-familiar Tudor story that are a little less documented and breathe life into characters and situations that have been a bit overlooked.

 Q : What is your favorite Tudor character? 

A : I have a couple.  I must say the Third Duke of Norfolk is one of them.  He was a villain, true, but after researching him I could understand a bit more of what may have played into the development of his mind-set.  Though it didn’t justify his actions, it made him no less fascinating as a person.  I also have developed a fondness for Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  I found him to be a truly kind person with sincere motives to reform the Church at that time.

 Q : Can you tell us what sort of research process did you undergo for this novel? 

A : As most of the characters were my own, along with Sumerton as a setting, most of my research dealt with the Reformation and policy made during the reigns of Henry VIII and his son Edward VI.  It was interesting learning more about medieval nunneries, monastic discipline, and how closely politics walked with the religion of the day.

 Q : Do you outline your story first or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type?

A: I do have a very rough version of my novels outlined, not chapter by chapter, but very informal to work off of.  It goes through many transformations along the way, and often the pitching synopsis I write after the novel’s completion evolves into something much different than its original concept.

 Q : What is a typical working day like for you? Do you set a daily writing goal?  

A : Often I work at night.  In my house, with kids and animals and the responsibilities those entail, I find it most peaceful, though when my son is in school I have been writing in the early afternoons as well lately.  When I am under deadline I do have a writing goal of 5 pages a day, which is about 2,000 words or so.  When I’m not on deadline, however, I just write with my inspiration—which sometimes takes a bit of coaxing, but admittedly is the most enjoyable way to write.

 Q : How do you organize your facts and plots? Do you have a note-taking system, chart or other means of controlling the information, or is it all in your head? 

A : My facts I have noted or highlighted and are usually sitting in piles of books and notebooks beside me when I’m working.  I did once chart out a complete battle scene that I ended up deleting, so I don’t often use charts unless it is family trees.  My plot, unless I am working under the stricture of a real historical figure and the framework their life provides, is often in my head and on my first working synopsis.  It changes so much as it goes, when new research is uncovered or when I feel something else suits the characters more or will drive the story in a better, more compelling direction, that I never want to be locked into too rigid of an outline.

 Q : When and where do you write? 

A : This year my husband remodeled one of the bedrooms of our house into my first office.  I used to write in my rocking chair, with all of my books and notes surrounding me, which didn’t make for a very tidy spot!  So now it is all in one lovely, inspiring room that I can escape to, a world all the more meaningful since my husband built it with such love and the desire for me to have a quiet, peaceful working environment.

 Q : When did you first become interested in writing? 

A : As soon as I learned how to read.  I was always making up stories and daydreaming, carried away to other worlds.  The more I read, the more I wanted to write.  I began my first serious pursuit when I was 16 but didn’t begin pitching my work to agents till I was in my twenties.  It is a passion and a compulsion, something I’ll do regardless of whether I continue to be published or not, but I figured it was time to see if anyone else would believe in my work as much as I did.  I was very blessed to find and agent and editor who did so.

 Q : What advice would you give aspiring writers? 

A: To never give up or become discouraged.  Keep submitting your work to agents no matter how many rejections you get.  The more rejections you get, the better the story will be for later!  Writing can be an isolating profession, so networking with other authors is important, especially those who are established and can guide you through the bittersweet journey.  Never write hoping for wealth; write for passion and the love of your story and characters.  Be assertive but respectful, make your voice heard, and keep at it!

 Q : If “The Sumerton Women” gained a movie deal, who would you choose to play the main characters? 

A : Whenever I’m picturing my characters, I often pick actors/actresses from different time periods, so some of my dream cast would have to be resurrected.  But it would be fun to see Dianna Agron in the role of Cecily and Jennifer Lawrence as Mirabella.  Thorsten Kaye would make an excellent Father Alec but Hal . . . sadly I can’t see him as anyone but a young Richard Harris!

 Q : Are you currently working on any new novels? 

A: I am!  There are always ideas circling, it’s just finding which one is speaking to me the loudest at the time.

 Q: And last but not least, is there anything else you would like your readers to know about you or your upcoming projects? 

A: I have another work coming out in 2013 that I will be excited to disclose as soon as I am able to.  After that I would like to branch out to other eras and truly hope I can engage readers to follow me on my journey as I hope to keep growing and evolving as a writer.  If you would like to ride along, please check out my website at and blog at  I’m also on facebook and twitter @DL_Bogdan.

 Q : Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. 

A: Thank you, Sylwia!  It was a delight!

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2 Responses
  1. Kim says:

    Sylwia, that was an awesome interview and insight to the Author. It was interesting to hear down to earth answers by the author to some delightful questions. Thank you for taking the time to interview Ms. Bogdan and thanks to Ms. Bogdan for taking the time to let us into her world a little more. Looking forward to reading her book.

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