Claire Ridgway (née Brassington)
Claire Ridgway (BA Hons with QTS 1989-93), the creator of The Anne Boleyn Files, is a writer, researcher and historian who spends every day researching Tudor history and writing about Anne Boleyn and the Tudors. She leaves no stone unturned in her quest to find out the truth about Anne Boleyn and to educate people about Anne’s story.
Give us a brief description of what you are known for
I'm known as the creator of The Anne Boleyn Files website – www.theanneboleynfiles.com – and for writing my bestselling Tudor history books: The Anne Boleyn Collection, The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown and On This Day in Tudor History. Over 18,000 people visit my websites each week and I love every one of them!
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A journalist or writer. Though I took a long route to get there, I'm really happy that I'm now living the life I wanted when I was young.
What was the best careers advice you were given?
The funniest advice I was given was to be a prison officer. I think there must have been a shortage of them that year as we all got told that we should be prison officers! I can't think of any good advice I was given.
Describe yourself in three words
Stubborn, motivated and focused.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Having a work/family balance. I get so consumed by my writing and research and it is hard to tear myself away from it.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
Apart from having my children, publishing my books and seeing them be such a success. I love getting emails from people who read them and like them - it really makes my day.
What drives you?
I'm driven by the support of my readers and my website visitors. On top of that I have an almost fanatical obsession with debunking myths and inaccuracies about history.
What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?
Calorie free chocolate. What else could a writer need?
What three objects would you take with you to a desert island?
That is a tricky one, but I can't do without my Kindle and moisturiser. I guess I'd need a solar charger so I could keep on reading day after day.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?
I'd love to be respected as a world authority on Anne Boleyn.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who worked hard, loved hard and brought happiness to those around me.
What are your favourite memories of your university years at Warwick?
Meeting my husband, Tim, in my final year. We met at Compton Hall on the Westwood campus. I also have fond memories of tutor group get-together's at Bob Jackson's home in Leamington and dancing at the Westwood bop.
Do you have any advice for new graduates and undergraduates?
Believe in yourself and don't ever think that the decisions you make about your studies now are going to dictate your future. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. I've been a teacher, a freelance writer and now I'm a blogger and author. I'm also studying for another degree part-time so it's never too late.
Anything else you would like to add?
University is an amazing opportunity that it is all too easy to take for granted while you are there. You can indulge any interests that you have, and there is always someone else who will go along with you on your adventures. Once you get out into the "real world" it all becomes a lot more difficult. So I'd add that you should do all you can to make the most of every minute at Uni!
Lives: Quite a few years ago we emigrated to the Andalucia region of southern Spain.
Career: Author and blogger
Interests: Tudor history, reading thrillers and visiting historic places.