Cynthia Haggard

Cynthia Sally Haggard was born and reared in Surrey, England. About 30 years ago she surfaced in the United States, inhabiting the Mid-Atlantic region as she wound her way through four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer, and novelist. 


Cynthia graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Cambridge MA, in June 2015.

Her first novel, Thwarted Queen, a frustrating tale (hence the title) of Lady Cecylee (Cecily) Neville (1415-1495) who was nearly crowned Queen of England, was shortlisted for many awards, including the 2012 Eric Hoffer New Horizon Award for debut authors. To date, sales have surpassed 38,000 copies.

Her second novel, Farewell My Life, a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin, won a Pinnacle Award (2019) and a Distinguished Favorite (New York City Big Book Awards, 2019).


When she’s not annoying everyone by insisting her fictional characters are more real than they are, Cynthia likes to go for long walks, knit something glamorous, cook in her wonderful kitchen, and play the piano. You can visit her at


1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have been writing fiction for 10 years now, and am currently completing my MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University (the low residency program). I hope to graduate in June 2015. I recently discovered that I am actually related to Lady Cecylee, the protagonist of my novel. I am descended from Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet, who was the half-sister of Lady Cecylee's mother Joan de Beaufort. So I believe Cecylee is my 15th Half Great-Aunt. The blog I wrote about this is here:

2. Describe your book Thwarted Queen in 30 words or less.
THWARTED QUEEN is a saga of the family feud between the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles which led to the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses. Told my Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), the Thwarted Queen.

3. What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
The hardest part was trying to make all the research interesting. I bent over backward to try and NOT bore the reader, by having crowd scenes, letters, narrative summary, reported dialogue, naturalistic dialogue and lots of interior monologue. I really wanted these characters to come alive. 

4. What books have had the greatest influence on you? 
Jane Austen's PRIDE & PREJUDICE, Tolstoy's WAR & PEACE, and Shakespeare (of course)

5. Briefly share with us what you do to market your book? 
Goodreads giveaways, blog tours, a website, and Amazon's marketing tools. 

6. How do you spend your time when you are not writing? 
I do a lot of walking, some hiking and lots of knitting. Also reading of historical novels (of course). 

7. What are you working on next? 
I'm working on a 3-volume novel series set in the 20th century, in both the US and Berlin Germany. It is about a young girl who goes to Berlin in the 1920s to study violin with Carl Flesch, a famous violin pedagogue of the day. 

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