Retirement brings the gift of time, time I have spent pursuing my dream of being a writer. And, since I have long been fascinated by the queens of sixteenth century Britain, I turned to this period when I picked up a pen, exploring my interest at first through poetry and now, in A Tapestry of Queens, through prose.

Writing a poem about Anne Boleyn proved to be a pivotal moment for me. Entitled "Anne Boleyn’s Dressmaker," the poem tells the tragic story of this queen sympathetically, from the viewpoint of a needlewoman, a commoner who cares. In time, of course, this needlewoman will become Cordelia Shelton, wife of a London merchant, dressmaker to a succession of queens – and the main character in my novel A Tapestry of Queens.

As my writing career has evolved, I have continued to interweave the strands of poetry and prose. A Tapestry of Queens focuses on the year 1542, exploring Henry VIII's courtship of Catherine Parr, the English invasion of Scotland, and the end of Marie de Guise's tumultuous marriage to James V of Scotland. But Marie de Guise's story does not end in 1542; in "The Rough Wooing," a narrative poem focusing on Scotland from 1543 to 1548, I explore Marie de Guise's relationship with her daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots.

If you would like to read my poetry, two of my prize-winning poems, "Anne Boleyn's Dressmaker" and "Confessions of an English Portrait Painter, 1542," can be accessed online at The Copperfield Review. "The Rough Wooing," winner of the 2013 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, is also online at Winning Writers. And, of course, A Tapestry of Queens is available from Bagwyn Books.

Carol Milkuhn and her two dogs

A retired English teacher, I hold a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan. I have also studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Now I live and write in Vermont, enjoying life in the Green Mountains with my husband and two dogs.