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My Writer's Journal

Behind the Books: Loving Will Shakespeare

Loving Will Shakespeare
Interesting, how one thing leads to another. I so much enjoyed researching and writing about a young dancer in 19th century Paris that I wanted to write another story about a relatively unknown figure associated with a great one. Anne Hathaway, wife of Will Shakespeare, was a natural. I already knew something about the Tudor world, and who doesn't recognize the name of Shakespeare!

There has been much ado about Will for centuries, but the amazing thing is how little is actually known about Will's life. I chased down whatever I could find out about his parents, his siblings, the church the family attended, the kind of schooling Will likely had. I researched a glove-making, ale-brewing, sheep-shearing, and the effects of the plague that swept through the countryside and killed so many people. I investigated the dances people enjoyed, the songs they sang, the food they ate, the crops they grew, the clothes they wore, the houses they lived in, the things they bought and sold at the weekly market.

I explored Anne Hathaway's cottage outside of Stratford-on-Avon, and stayed at a house across from Will's grandmother's farm in Wilmcote, a few miles away. The house existed in Will's time. I'm sure Will used to warm himself by that fireplace and gaze out of those windows. I dreamed the fictional dream and tried to bring it to life in the book. And I wish I could do it all over again.

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