Who Is Monica Bentley?
Monica Bentley makes history sexy.
Monica is a lover of history, historical romance, and a thumping good yarn. Whether consulting ancient authorities such as Aristotle, medieval chroniclers like Froissart or spelunking modern questions with the Encyclopédistes, when it comes to crossed swords, court politics, and wounded hearts, she never fails to swoon with abandon. We invite you to swoon with her.
What drives you as a writer of history?
The history I love best is the story of people – their passions, their flaws, their mistakes, their redemption. That’s what makes me endlessly fascinated with we as a people, no matter what time nor place. We always seem to have the same dreams and nightmares, and I love to write about them.
What draws you to medieval France?
The pageantry, ambition, the endless intrigue between a small group of self-selected nobles and the royalty. The constant battle over real estate. Henry V got lucky in having Shakespeare become his press agent. To my reading of history, Henry V is more the recipient of good fortune than an excellent military general. One who chanced his way into spectacular victory at Agincourt. No, when it comes to warrior kings, Edward III looms large in my mind for his twin victories at Cressy and Poitiers. His great bete noir is the condotierre commander du Guesclin, one of the first practitioners of asymmetrical warfare. Take all that together and you have a wonderful stage on which to mount a story to which a reader will return to again and again over the years.
Your heroines find their strength through their femininity. Why is that?
I believe the root of a woman’s power lies in her sexuality, whether noble queen, powerful witch, or lost girl. Doomed to exist and compete in a time when society’s norms – its laws, customs and traditions – were all designed to keep them in the background. Those women who come forward such as Emma of Normandy or Eleanor of Aquitaine or Elizabeth I do so by using their sexuality to render men weak in the knees. I celebrate that phenomenon with my storytelling.
What sources of inspiration did you use to write the Chateau of Love series?
In writing the Chateau of Love series, I leaned heavily on medieval chroniclers Venerable Bede, Chaucer and Froissart, philosophers Aquinas, Bonaventura, and Teresa d’Avila, as well as numerous other classical and medieval historical and military authorities. Fencers will immediately recognize my thrill of the fight.