SALT LAKE CITY UT May 22, 2015
When Carol Pratt Bradley discovered Anne Askew, a young English noblewoman imprisoned during the Protestant Reformation, she was searching for a novel to write as her thesis project for her Master of Fine Arts degree. This story was it.
Bradley recently submitted her novel about Anne Askew, titled “Fire of the Word,” to WiDo Publishing.™ Submissions editor Allie Maldonado states, “This book set my heart on fire.”
Bradley’s Biblical historical fiction novel about Daniel, The Light of the Candle, was published by WiDo this year and has garnered excellent reviews. Maldonado says, “Carol writes beautifully, her facts are well-researched and transformed with great skill into fiction. I was excited to see another manuscript from her in my inbox, especially one about such a fascinating woman during this significant era.”
“England and its history intrigues me,” says Carol Bradley. “A friend teased me once that I should have been a duchess or something a hundred years ago. Perhaps it is my English ancestry. As a teen, I checked out every book in the library about Henry VIII and his six wives, then later discovered Jane Austen.”
In addition, Bradley is fascinated by the lives of people “who hold true to their convictions no matter the cost: men like William Tyndale and Martin Luther.”
While researching these men, Bradley came across an old book called, The Book of Martyrs, written by an English Protestant named John Bale. It contains the account of a young English noblewoman, Anne Askew. While in prison, Anne Askew wrote an account of her trials, calling it her “Examinations.” John Bale smuggled the manuscript to Europe and published it. Within a year everyone in England knew her story.
Anne Askew was a strong woman who struggled against the confines of the turbulent time she lived in, when new ideas clashed against the old in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Her life intersected with some of the most powerful people of her time, particularly Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.
Bradley says, “Her story set my imagination on fire. I longed to find the real Anne Askew. Was she the fiery zealot depicted by John Bale? She must have been much more than that.”
To write her book, Bradley studied the politics and religious conflict of England during the sixteenth century. She researched the history of the Bible, the life and writings of William Tyndale and other dissidents: Thomas More, Henry VIII and his break with the Roman church, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr.
Bradley read “anything else about the time that I could get my hands on. I researched the buildings and houses, the weather in Lincolnshire and London, the food, the vegetation. I went on a research trip to England where I felt in many ways like I had come home.”
According to Maldonado, “WiDo Publishing is very excited to add a book such as this to our list. We are honored Carol Bradley has chosen us as the publisher for Anne’s story. We know how important this book is to Carol and how much time she devoted to writing it.”
“Anne’s story has taught me many things,” Bradley says. “She taught me about the far-reaching influence of only one individual. She taught me that no one’s life is lost, that even though she lived over five hundred years ago, Anne lives on through the power of her words. And like the story of Daniel in my novel, Light of the Candle, Anne taught me in new ways about the power and the fruits of hope.”
Carol Pratt Bradley is a historical novelist with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Her interests currently include the Ancient Near Eastern world, Reformation England, and 17th century America. She has been married to her wonderful husband Bryan for over three decades. Their three daughters and one son have grown and left their parents to survive on their own. They have a Yorkie named Ozzie, who sleeps beside Carol on the couch while she writes. Bradley is working on another historical novel set in early Boston, Massachusetts, based on the unusual life of Susanna Hutchinson, daughter of another famous dissident, Anne Hutchinson, Bradley’s ninth great-grandmother.