Dignity is a historical fiction romance novel portraying the tragic and short life of Henry VIII’s fifth and youngest wife, Katheryn Howard. Although written in a romantic style, Dignity contains explicit sexual content and disturbing themes such as incest, child sexual abuse, and male privilege within the context of 16th Century Tudor history. The dark secrets of Katheryn’s childhood are exposed explaining the commonplace result of over-sexualization and promiscuity. Her lascivious lifestyle was to become her eventual demise as her pre-marital history was uncovered during her short reign as Queen of England. The story explores the viewpoints of many of the characters involved with Katheryn both historically and romantically as she searched for love through the only thing that she felt she had some control over, her sensuality. In the time of Katheryn’s short life, women were considered little more than property in a male dominated world. Dignity does nothing to sugar coat this fact and because it is written in a romantic fashion, it can draw the reader in and be quite stimulating yet in some instances, it can be quite disturbing.
My note about the writing of Dignity:
Inspired by a book written about The Tower of London, I began thinking about this story in the early 1970’s when I was in my teens. I started working on it in 1994 as an outline in which I told the whole story and I put the outline, which was hand written, away. I began writing “Dignity” in 1995 and changed it in 1996 to make the main character older. However, in 2002 I realized that it had to be rewritten to how it was originally because, historically, it was the only way that it would be accurate. I worked on “Dignity” off and on and then completed my first draft in 2007. The first manuscript was submitted in 2008 and it was recommended by the agency that more dialogue be added. So it was re-written to include more dialogue. I then revised “Dignity” in 2010 to add the full names of many of the historical characters as there has been so much written about Tudor history that it made sense to do so. Much of this story is historical and the parts that are not came from somewhere otherworldly. Many of the things that are historical are hard to believe, but they did happen. I never looked at the hand written outline after I wrote it. Also the name of Katheryn Howard’s oldest brother (10 years her senior) was Henry – Harry is the nick name for Henry, and his wife’s name was recorded as being Anne (all facts that I did not know until after the story was written). Many of the letters are real and were paraphrased and the statement that Katheryn made at her death was what she actually said (paraphrased from Old English).