Katherine Longshore may be a new author on the young-adult scene, but she’s certainly not sticking to the genre’s standard locales.
“Gilt,” Longshore’s first book, is set in the court of King Henry VIII, and starts off what will be a series of books depicting the rise — and fall — of some of England’s most famous queens.
“Gilt” tells the story of Kitty Tylney, a childhood friend of Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife. “Cat,” who may have been only a teenager when she married, took three people to court with her, including Tylney, who historians suspect may have been a childhood friend.
Longshore uses these two teenage girls to launch a story of political and romantic intrigue in the Tudor court, a setting that Longshore says may remind many of her readers of high school and its own dangers.
“There isn’t a lot out there for children and teenagers that makes history interesting,” says the Woodland author. “And the Tudor court is full of intrigue and back-stabbing and social climbing. It reminded me a lot of high school.”
A former teacher and a lifelong writer, Longshore didn’t always have such an intense love of history. After marrying her husband, a native of England, Longshore lived in the U.K. for five years, seeing many of the famous landmarks and historical sights while she was there.
However, it wasn’t until she moved to California that Longshore became interested in history and began reading historical nonfiction.
Her new taste in reading definitely helped with the writing process, says Longshore, who often needed to find some unusual details for “Gilt.”
“I dressed Cat in pink and then I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what if they don’t have pink dye?’ ” Longshore says. “I must have spent 45 minutes searching on how they could dye some thing pink … only for one sentence.”
Longshore is already working on the second book of the “Gilt” series, set 20 years earlier during King Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which follows the story of Anne Boleyn.
The Avid Reader will host a launch party for “Gilt” at 5 p.m. Saturday at 617 Second St. in downtown Davis.