Mike's first book of the Across the Great Divide series is available soon. Read on to learn what it is about.
Mike L. Ross sat down with me recently, and answered all my questions! Thank you Mike for taking the time. Here is what he had to say:
Temperance Flowerdew was one of the earliest women to arrive in Jamestown. The settlement was established in April 1607. She arrived in the summer of 1609.
This week’s founding mother was born around 1590 in Norfolk County, England. Her parents were Anthony Flowerdew and Martha Stanley. She had at least two siblings, Stanley and Mary. Temperance married Richard Barrow on April 29, 1609 in St. Gregory by St. Paul’s, in London.
Days later, Temperance boarded the ship, Falcon, commanded by Captain John Martin. It was one of a convoy of nine ships, referred to as the third supply, headed for Jamestown. The Sea Venture was the lead ship and most of the new government agents were aboard that ship. It appears that Mr. Barrow was on that ship. Three quarters of the way there, the convoy hit a hurricane. The Sea Venture was separated from the convoy and believed lost. Many of the supplies on the other ships were thrown overboard to lighten the ships.
The other eight ships did land in Jamestown, adding hundreds to the number of citizens, without the supplies. The Englishmen were not getting along with the Indians because John Smith had left. There was not enough food. Temperance, Jane Pierce and her little daughter and one other woman were assigned a place to live together. The winter was so bad that they called it the Starving Time. Mrs. Pierce was an herbologist. It was her knowledge of wild foods that saved the lives of Temperance and little Jane.
By 1613, Temperance’s husband was dead and she married George Yeardley, one of the soldiers on the Sea Venture. A month later he was appointed deputy governor of Virginia. Meanwhile Stanley, Temperance’s brother, had acquired land across the river from Jamestown. George and Temperance patented 1000 acres on that spot and developed a well-run plantation over the years. They had three children, Elizabeth, Argoll and Francis. When George’s appointment was up, in 1617, he took his family for a trip to England. While there, the King knighted him and appointed him Governor.
Back in Virginia, George served 1619 to 1621. In early 1619, twenty Negroes were brought to Jamestown. The Yeardleys bought several of them and brought them to Flowerdew Plantation, making Temperance the first mistress of Negro slaves in the New World. They were the premier couple of the decade.
When George died in November, 1627, the couple had several plantations. Temperance was the richest lady in Virginia. George’s brother became the trustee of the will and guardian of the children. She turned around and married the new governor, Francis West in four months. West desperately wanted her land. He even went to England to file a petition, but failed. Unfortunately, Temperance did not see her children grow up. She died a little over a year after their father.
Elizabeth: Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you live, education, family. Whatever you would like.
Judith: As you know, my name is Judith Arnopp and I live in Wales. We recently moved from a small farm near Lampeter, to Aberporth just a short distance away on the west Coast. I write historical novels and articles, do a few talks and lectures. My more recent work focuses on the late medieval and Tudor period. My other interests include history (of course), gardening, needlework, walking and reading. I grew up in a small town north of London, but we often took holidays in Wales and it became a childhood dream to live here– I’ve been resident in Wales for twenty odd years now and hardly ever leave, not even for holidays.
Elizabeth: What induced you to start writing?
Judith:I enjoyed history at school and studied it at university so, when I decided to write professionally, historical fiction was the natural choice. I like to strip away the finery of well-known historical people and consider what they were like underneath. Imagine our queen with her feet up watching Strictly Come Dancing – off duty, her guard down. What is she thinking? What is she feeling? I usually write from a female perspective. Women, especially medieval women, were poorly represented in the historical record and very often their experiences are only traceable via the records of the men whose lives they shared. It is fascinating to follow their path, consider the whys and wherefores of their actions, and flesh out the bones of the facts we know about them. I always stress that I write fiction but it is very heavily reliant on research.
I don’t believe in evil. I think everyone has a dark side and sometimes our murkier nature takes over, so there are no villains, there are no saints, just a bunch of people fighting inner battles – as we all are. I try to humanize women who have previously been demonized both historically and, more recently, in fiction.
Elizabeth: Who is your favorite writer? Why?
Judith: I love the classics. Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens etc. and I aspire to the talents of more modern authors like Hilary Mantel, Michel Faber. As a young girl I read a great deal of Historical novels: Jean Plaidy, Rosemary Hawley Jarman were among my favourites then. Something must have rubbed off on me, for when I began to write seriously historical fiction was my automatic choice. Having a master’s degree in medieval history makes things easier simply because I know how to research without getting side-tracked.
Elizabeth: What attracted you to your special genre?
Judith: Oops, I think I’ve covered that in the previous questions.
Elizabeth: Who is the favorite character of all whom you have created? Why?
Judith: Most of the people I write about actually existed so I had to study what is actually known about Margaret Beaufort, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth of York etc. and then flesh out the historical bones. My favourite fictional character has to be Joanie Toogood from The Winchester Goose, a confident, warm hearted prostitute from Southwark. The goings on at Henry VIII’s court are very different when viewed through Joanie’s eyes. In my latest novel, Sisters of Arden, Margery is a novitiate nun whose life is thrown into disarray by the dissolution of the monasteries. Her adventures on the road during The Pilgrimage of Grace are quite eye opening.
Elizabeth: Would you take a minute to explain how you develop your stories?
Judith: I write instinctively with very little planning. I know roughly where my story will end because history has already been written but figuring out how my characters will get there is as much an adventure for me as it is for them. Sometimes events unfold from nowhere. I do very little actual plotting on paper, it all unfurls during the process. The characters definitely speak to me and tell me what is what.
Elizabeth: To end this interview, what piece of information, upcoming project, advice or request would you like to share with this audience?
Judith: I am just starting my twelfth book which is about Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII. I have no title as yet but it will feature Mary reflecting on her life, her relationship with her father, Henry VIII and her abhorrence for Anne Boleyn. She was hugely affected by her parents’ divorce, the break from Rome and I hope to examine the state of the church in England, and her fears of what will happen after her death when the throne passes to Elizabeth. Mary’s relationship with Elizabeth is fascinating – the conflict of sibling love and rivalry. I enjoy writing about infamous women. As with Margaret Beaufort, I don’t intend to whitewash them or excuse or deny anything but I provide them with the opportunity to explain the reasons behind their actions.
When Judith Arnopp began to write professionally there was no question as to which genre to choose. A lifelong history enthusiast and avid reader, Judith holds an honours degree in English and Creative writing, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Wales, Lampeter. Judith writes both fiction and non-fiction, working full-time from her home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales where she crafts novels based in the Medieval and Tudor period. Her main focus is on the perspective of historical women from all roles of life, prostitutes to queens.
If you like English history, you will like Judith Arnopp's books! Her novels include:
Sisters of Arden
The Beaufort Chronicles: the life of Lady Margaret Beaufort (three book series)
A Song of Sixpence: the story of Elizabeth of York;
Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr;
The Kiss of the Concubine: a story of Anne Boleyn
The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII
The Song of Heledd;
The Forest Dwellers
Her non-fiction articles feature in various historical anthologies and magazines.
For more information:
Author page: author.to/juditharnoppbooks
1. Tell me a little about yourself, Teresa. Where do you live, education, family. Whatever you would like.
I live in St. Louis, Missouri with my husband Chris and my dogs, Rocky and Max. I graduated from the University of North Carolina many years ago with a degree in Political Science.
2. What induced you to start writing?
I have always written to some degree, starting with poetry as a child. I also did some songwriting with my husband, who is a musician. I had started a few novels, but it wasn’t till I retired that I completed my first book.
3. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
I have quite a few authors I like. It’s difficult to choose a favorite.
4. What attracted you to your special genre?
Years of enjoyment reading Historical Fiction. Also, the belief that I had something to say on the subject of African Americans in the 19th and early 20th Century. My books cover the years 1850 to 1920.
5. Who is the favorite character of all whom you have created? Why?
My protagonist in Book 1,Mamie Garrison. Much of her personality, her tenacity and courage, was based on my daughter, Christina.
6. Would you take a minute to explain how you develop your stories?
I spend a large part of my time on research. Sometimes, a small scene may require days of research. I start with a general outline, and continue to tighten it as I write. I like to mull over my storyline till it plays almost like a movie in my mind. Often, this takes a while, thus the reason my books take so long to write.
7. To end this interview, what piece of information, upcoming project, advice or request would you like to share with this audience?
Believe in what you have to say. Write what touches your heart.
My third book in the Garrison Series, should be available in a few months, I hope. If you wish to contact me, I can be reached on FB: Teresa McRae-Author
Teresa McRae-Author. 1,029 likes · 26 talking about this. Welcome. My novels are set in the latter half of the 19th century, with themes of slavery, abolition, romance, history, genealogy, and the...
It is not only men who were heros in the early days of the Jamestown settlement. Even if we define heros as those who save others. One of the saviors of the early colony was a young woman named Joan Pierce.
Joan was born in England around 1575. She married a man named Thomas Reynolds and had a daughter named Cecily, born about 1600. The marriage was cut short by the death of Thomas in a sea disaster about the time the child was born.
As was common at the time, Joan quickly remarried. William Pierce was a promising young man who had great talents and goals. Within a few years of the marriage, he had joined the Virginia Company. In 1609, the family left for the colony. However, William, being Lt Governor, was on the lead ship, The Sea Venture, with other men of importance. Joan and their four-year old, Jane, were relegated to one of the other ships, the Blessing, which was part of a convoy of nine ships, crossing together from England to Jamestown. About two thirds of the way over, the convoy hit a hurricane. Three ships were lost, including the Sea Venture.
The surviving six limped into Jamestown, in August, with the stories. Shelters were quickly set up for the hundred new people. However, the farming and harvesting had not been very fruitful due to a drought. The loss of the supplies on the three gone ships was a detriment to the ill-prepared town. The citizens were not well stocked for the coming winter. It being so late in the growing season, no one could try to plant anything. The Indians had sold the colonists some corn, but whether it was enough for a whole winter was another worry.
Luckily, Joan’s mother was a herbalist and had taught her well. Joan, her little girl, Temperance Flowerdew, Meg Worley and another woman, lived together that first winter. She taught them to collect and grind acorns to supplement the cornmeal mush. She collected herbs from the lands around the fort which could be made into herb teas and medicines. They survived what came to be known as the Starving Time. It is said that Joan hated Jamestown saying that “there is nothing here but sickness and laziness.” The brisk, dark-haired young woman lost much of her weight and energy.
Thinking herself a widow, again, Joan turned her attention to gardening as soon as she had the strength, the next spring. Captain John Smith noted in his writings that Mrs. Pierce had a garden of 3 to 4 acres, which she maintained herself.
An amazing event on May 20, 1610 was the arrival of two ships, the Deliverance and the Patience, from Bermuda. The three ships lost at sea had arrived, partly wrecked, on the island of Bermuda. It took the men more than half a year to rebuild them into two ships and find their way to Jamestown. During that time, one of the passengers, a young man named John Rolfe, found a good quality tobacco plant which he nursed and brought to Virginia with him. Mr. Pierce, Joan’s husband, had befriended the younger man and they stayed close until the death of Rolfe in 1622.
The next year, the Pierces assumed that the colony was safe enough for Cecily, Joan’s daughter from her first marriage. They had her come over. Cecily became a celebrity in her own right and is considered in some circles to be the first “Southern belle”.
The Pierce family grew with several more children and took John Rolfe in as part of their extended family. John married Pocohantas around 1614 and he took her to England to meet his family. They never saw her again, since she died in England in 1617 after having given birth to a son, Thomas. John returned to Virginia without Thomas, who was raised by his family.
Jane, William and Joan’s oldest daughter, was probably about 13 when Rolfe returned. They married within a year or two of his arrival and had one child, Elizabeth, before Rolfe was killed by his own in-laws during the Good Friday massacre of 1622.
Jane and William were lucky enough to live long lives, purchasing much acreage, making them wealthy. By 1624, they had developed a plantation on Mulberry Island, about a mile from Jamestown, a place big enough for 13 servants. William participated in the short lived coup against Governor Harvey in 1635. Eventually, Joan was referred to as the master gardener of Jamestown.
Elizabeth A Martina is a historical fiction writer, but the history is true and the characters are real. Her aim is to get people to see life from another perspective, using history as the venue.