Ever since Joanna sat up in her cot with a book, she’d wanted to be a writer and she wrote endless stories, plays and Enid-Blyton-style novels as a child.
Her favourite subjects at school were English and history, and at Cambridge University she combined these passions by studying medieval literature. Nowadays she pours them into writing historical fiction.
Joanna cut her publication teeth on short stories and serials for the women’s magazines before signing to PanMacmillan in 2014 for her three-book series The Queens of the Conquest about the wives of the men fighting to be King of England in 1066. It is an endless frustration to her that the stories of this great year are so relentlessly male, despite the undoubted power of the women fighting for the throne alongside their husbands, and she set out to release their stories.
Her second series, written for Piatkus, takes the same aim of liberating women from the bonds of history but this time less from obscurity than from misrepresentation. Shakespeare’s Queens explores the real history of three of the bard’s greatest female characters – Lady Macbeth, much-loved ruler of Scotland for some fifteen years from 1025; Ophelia, shield-maiden and right-hand warrior to Prince Hamlet in 600 BC; and Cordelia, one of three honoured princesses in the matriarchy of the Coritani tribe back in 500 BC.
Joanna’s fascination with historical writing is in finding the similarities between us and them – the core humanness of people throughout the ages – with an especial goal to provide a female take on some of the greatest stories we think we know…
My fascination with historical writing is in finding the similarities between us and them - the core humanness of people throughout the ages – and my aim is to provide a lively female take on an amazing year in England’s history.
I’m passionate about my period and about writing and I teach creative writing in courses around the country and for the Open University.
Website : http://www.joannacourtney.com/