Judith Stoleson

Biography

Judith Stoleson has had a variety of careers including pre-school French teacher, travel agent, and freelance writer. While doing research for a family genealogy, she became intrigued by one ancestor, Sir William Coffin. He served in the court of Henry VIII during the tumultuous years of his reign. His name is listed in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII and other books on Tudor history. The Coffin manor in Devonshire England dates back to Norman times and still stands. In the twentieth century the estate was remodeled and re-emerged as The Portledge Hotel. Judith and her husband were guest there in 1977. After writing what was known of Sir William's biography and those of other descendants in a book called Through the Generations, she began to imagine what might have happened during those years of his life lost to history. The results of this effort became The King's Man. The novel was named as a finalist at the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference on genre fiction.

Smashwords Interview

What was your early life like and how did it influence your writing?
I grew up a city girl in Chicago. My father died when I was four so my mother went to work as a secretary. That meant I spent a lot of time alone. To keep me out of trouble, I was allowed to go to the movies three times a week. Sometimes, when I didn't have the dime for admission, the manager would let me pick up candy bar wrappers and other scraps outside the theater in lieu of a ticket. Watching those amazing stories on the big screen sparked my imagination--Cary Grant chasing a leopard in "Bringing up Baby," Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and Spencer Tracy struggling to survive an ocean storm in "Captains Courageous." At that time I didn't do any writing but pretended to be the characters I'd seen at home. Those movies stirred emotions that stayed with me and helped me create my own stories as I grew older.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I came to writing through genealogy. I wanted to learn about those who came before me, to try and view their world through their eyes, to show how history shaped the person and the person shaped history. Among those from the past was a whaler out of Nantucket, a soldier suffering through the cold of Valley Forge, a Quaker abolitionist teaching slaves to read, a Civil War soldier dying of dysentery, a Welsh coal miner, and a Swedish dressmaker. Out of all this came my first book Through the Generations. But the ancestor that interested me the most was Sir William Coffin who served in the Court of Henry VIII. I visited his manor house in Devon, England, read letters he had written archived at Oxford, and studied books on the Tudor Period; until I began to feel that he was working through me to tell his story. From that exhilarating and humbling experience came my second book, The King's Man.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Judith Stoleson online


Books

The King's Man
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 132,230. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Renaissance
At sixteen Robert Graves set off for London to serve newly-crowned Henry VIII. Life at court provided him with enough jousting to keep him fit, dicing and cards to keep him poor, and pretty maidens to keep him merry. For twenty-five years he gave his love and loyalty to his king until the beheadings began. These dark cruel times awoke Robert to what it really meant to be a King's Man.

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