Interview with Leanda De Lisle

Leanda De Lisle is an author and historian whose main focus is upon the reign of the Tudors.

Born in London, Leanda was educated at Somerville College, Oxford University, and began her career in journalism on the Hackney Gazette. Leanda also has a Masters Degree in Business Administration, specialising in Political Marketing.

She was Country Life magazine’s first columnist and writes a weekly column for the Daily Express. She also writes a bi-monthly opinion and editorial column for the Guardian newspaper. In addition to this Leanda also writes regular articles for national papers and magazines.

Leanda has a passion for Tudor history and has written several books on the period including: “After Elizabeth: The Death of Elizabeth & the Coming of King James” which was runner up for the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year award; “The Sisters Who Would be Queen; The tragedy of Mary, Katherine & Lady Jane Grey” which has been described by historian John Guy as ‘ground breaking’; and “Tudor; The Family Story” which was in the top ten bestselling biography list.

I am honoured to be able to interview Leanda and to be able to ask her a few questions about her book ‘Tudor; The Family Story’.

Tudor The Family Story by Leanda De Lisle

What inspired you to write a book on the Tudors?

I had written two books on the Tudor succession and really wanted to do a complete study of the Tudor family, its origins and their relationships, all of which are key to understanding the Tudor period. They are also a fascinating family and their stories are amazing!

 How did you go about researching your book?

I start with the general – other books on the period – then I go deeper and start reading original documents. One thing leads to another like following a rabbit down a hole. Finding the truth becomes a hunt, with all the excitement of the chase.

 How difficult did you find it to condense one hundred and eighteen years of the Tudor’s reign into one book?

The easier something reads the harder it has been to write. I am told my books are easy to read – to achieve that takes me a lot of time and effort.  It can be frustrating when work has to be thrown out, but if readers enjoy the result it is all worth it.

 How do you think the reign of the Tudors has impacted the world today?

The United States would be a very different country if it had not been founded by Puritans (who would not have existed without the Tudor Reformation) and who had a great belief in parliament which became much more powerful under the Tudors.

 What Tudor personality stood out the most to you when researching?

Gosh – difficult to say. I really enjoyed learning about Owen Tudor and his escapades, re-habilitating the ‘Red Queen’ Margaret Beaufort and introducing readers to her granddaughter Margaret Douglas, alongside the Grey sisters.

 If you could visit any Tudor event/period, what would it be?

Gosh….would be fascinating to have seen the court of the aging Queen Elizabeth: quite macabre.

 What is one common misconception about the Tudors that people believe today?

That what is interesting about the Tudors only kicks off with the Reformation. I dedicate a third of the book to the period before Henry VIII becomes king – and it is definitely as action packed as anything that follows.

 Could you tell us a little about your process of writing?

I start work at 9-9.30 am. I work on a chaise longue with a lap top as I have a bad back (!). I write until noon, walk the dogs, cook lunch, have a 20 minute nap, and re-start work with a cup of coffee at 2 pm. Walk dogs again for 30 mins at 4 pm, and work on until about 6.30. Sometimes I will do a bit more after dinner

 What piece of advice could you give for up and coming writers?

Try and try again.

 What’s next for Leanda De Lisle?

I am working on a biography of Charles I as king and am really enjoying it. I think readers will love the powerful women I write about in this work and will warm to Charles – who is buried in the same tomb as Henry VIII, was also a second son and a religious reformer and whose reign changed Britain and the world.


I would like to say a very big THANK YOU to Leanda De Lisle for taking the time to participate in this interview and to share some of her thoughts on the Tudors and her writing. If you would like to learn more about Leanda please follow the links below:




To purchase Leanda De Lisle’s books on Amazon 

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