I was embarking on my career as a writer, when at the age of sixty-nine, I entered my senior year at Marylhurst University. It was during a Shakespearean class, when our professor brought up the subject of the Shakespeare authorship question and formed a debate team as to whether William Shakespeare, or Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true playwright. I was on the deVere side of the debate, but what I concluded was a woman must have had her hand in writing the plays – and sonnets too for that matter. The plays have so many strong female roles, who else but a woman could have written them? If true, and because of the misogynistic culture of the time, she would not only have to be kept in the shadows, but would have needed a man to take credit for her work; ergo, enters William Shakespeare. As for the sonnets, those that depict a “fair young man”, who is better than a mother to write these odes to her son.
My research did reveal the logical person for true authorship was in fact Edward de Vere; however, he died in 1604 whereas plays continued to be written and performed until 1612, the year William Shakespeare retired to return to his home in Stratford, never to write again even though he didn’t die until 1616. What I thought was a clue to this conundrum, was finding that Edward de Vere’s second wife, Elizabeth Trentham, died in 1612. Coincidence? Perhaps, but during the next ten years, I have stumbled on more and more coincidences about this intelligent, strong-willed woman with enough historical information for me to create a fictional novel about her life and still incorporate factual data along with the story. Thus The Lady of the Play was born.
I wrote in 2006 expounding the notion that a woman would have been the logical choice even though there is a strong agreement among the “Oxfordian” crowd that Edward deVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford would better fit the profile necessary to write the plays and poetry attributed to William Shakespeare. After ten years of extensive research, I have come to agree with this hypothesis with one major caveat, that deVere’s second wife, Elizabeth Trentham, is the better candidate who actually took the lead in their collaboration in creating the plays until his death in 1604. From that time on she was the sole author until her death in 1612, the year Wm Shaksper retired to his home in Stratford on Avon.