Monday, April 14, 2014

Meet My Main Character

By Nancy Bilyeau

I've been tagged by historical fiction author Rosanne E. Lortz, and now it's time to tell you about the star of my trilogy.

1.) What is the name of your main character? Is she fictional or a historical person?

Joanna Stafford, also known as Sister Joanna, a Dominican novice. She is fictional, but the Staffords were a real family, headed by Edward Stafford, the duke of Buckingham, executed for treason in 1521.

2.) When and where is the story set?

The first novel, The Crown, begins in May 1537 and by the end of The Tapestry, the story reaches the end of 1541. And the story is set in England—in the Dominican priory of Dartford, Kent, and in London and Canterbury and Malmesbury—but it also plunges into other parts of Europe. Joanna gets into some harrowing adventures in Flanders, France, and Germany.

3.) What should we know about him/her?

An actress who could play Joanna: Eva Green
Joanna is half-English and half-Spanish. Her father was a handsome younger son best known for his tournament jousting skill and her mother was a maid of honor who came with Catherine of Aragón to marry Prince Arthur. Joanna, black-haired and brown eyed, is loyal, pious, smart, and talented, particularly in tapestry weaves and embroidery. She also gets angry quickly and finds it hard to hide her feelings. Oh and she is stubborn.

4.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Joanna has a true calling to be a nun, but this is exactly when Henry VIII is destroying the monasteries of England in his break from Rome. Joanna tries in many ways throughout the trilogy to protect her way of life and her loved ones, but this leads her into some dangerous quests and conspiracies.

Henry VIII
5.) What is the personal goal of the character?

Joanna from the very beginning rejects the conventional aristocratic life of marrying a nobleman's son and/or waiting on a queen. She wants to find a life for herself of meaning and significance.

6.) Is there a title for this novel and can we read more about it?

There are three: The Crown, The Chalice and The Tapestry. They are on sale in North America, the United Kingdom and Germany. Spain and the Netherlands will publish The Tapestry in 2016. More info here:

Thanks for visiting!!


  1. A nice introduction to Joanna for those who have not met her. Looking forward to her third presence.

  2. What an interesting character with such a difficult and dangerous life as I imagine it would be all things considered...

  3. Thank you Debra. And yes, Farida, I think this would be a very difficult time for the real life nuns and monks and friars of England

  4. Take a nun and add in suspense and conspiracy and you definitely have the makings for an interesting story! Cannot wait to read more about Joanna. She is one of those characters who buck the mold, defying convention. We need more of her :)