Doña Constanza Enríquez de Castilla may be the daughter of a claimant to the throne, but she will never be a princess. The product of her father’s dalliance with a young French girl, she has never been welcome in the eyes of his wife and legitimate heirs, who see her as a threat to the safety of their inheritance and a thief of their father’s love. Lonely and kept on hand as a servant, Constanza grows up right in the middle of one of the most turbulent times of a monarchy: the beginning of a dynasty. While she worries for her beloved father’s physical and emotional health and tries in vain to avoid the wrath of his queen, she finds herself making friends and falling in love, but how will she deal with the highs and lows that come with such relationships – and how will she come to terms with the greatest betrayal she could have never imagined?
In the royal court, the games of Fate mean anyone can rise or fall at the royal will; does Constanza really want to play, or is she content to simply remain LA BASTARDA?
Targeted Age Group:: 16+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
For the last decade, I’ve been in love with the Tudor era. It started with the rise of THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, then moved into “The Tudors”, “Elizabeth”, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”, etc., and then I moved into loving the Valois/Bourbon-era Historical Fictions. Something that always interested me is that in the Anglo-dominated market, Spain is almost always seen as The Big Bad.
The easiest way to see this is honestly the physical appearance of the Spaniards. When you think of a stereotypical villain, what does s/he look like? Probably dark hair, think facial hair, dark eyes, dark or black clothing, right? Well, the actual Trastámara dynasty/lineage was fairly light in complextion: Isabel of Castile had blonde hair and blue eyes, while her two most famous daughters (Juana and Katherine) had reddish-blonde hair and light eyes. Even her grandson, Charles, and her great-grandson, Philip, had lighter hair (Charles was more of an auburn, while Philip was blonde) and eyes. Yet Katherine of Aragón, for example, has been portrayed by Ana Torrent, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Joanne Whalley, and Irene Papas, all of whom have dark hair and darker eyes (and in the song “I Had a Little Nut Tree”, she’s described with dark or jet black hair); Charles I by Sebastian Armesto; and Philip II by Jordi Molla. All of these people fit the “Dark Spaniard” stereotype, even if they aren’t Spanish! Hm.
But what was the actual Trastámara family like, not just in look but in actions? I was curious, I started researching – and I knew I had to write about it.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I chose Constanza after a decent amount of research. Originally I had chosen to write from the perspective of Constanza’s royal half-sister, Infanta Leonor, but after reading her father’s will and seeing a random illegitimate daughter whose mother wasn’t listed (unlike the rest of her half-siblings, whose mothers had all been listed). It seemed possible to me that Constanza’s mother had died before the will was made, and she was basically a blank slate with an interesting twist: her fiancé in 1374 married her half-sister, and she ended up marrying his brother. I was intrigued.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy La Bastarda (Book One of the Trastámara Series) Print Edition at Amazon
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