Book Events Coming Up

I just gave my first in-person author’s talk after a two-year hiatus and it was a delight to be talking with readers and other writers again. I spoke about my current work on a medieval murder mystery featuring a female troubadour protagonist. Thanks to Parisot LibraryLit for organising the event. More talks coming up in…

World Book Day 2022

#WorldBookDay2022 #BehindEveryBook @Soc_of_Authors @CouncilWriters Celebrating writers, translators, and illustrators everywhere today.

Medieval floating mills

The novel I’m working on is set at the end of the 11th century in Toulouse (and moves into the Pyrenees and the Iberian kingdoms in the second part). Medieval Toulouse had floating water mills for milling flour, which I was curious to find out about. The title image shows the Floating Mill Museum in…

Black Saturday

Today is Holy Saturday or Black Saturday. I’ve set a scene in my new medieval novel during the Black Saturday night vigil in Toulouse’s Saint Etienne Cathedral. As an atheist myself, trying to imagine my way into the religious beliefs of my medieval characters is a major challenge. I asked my Catholic friend, Anne, to…

Talk on Fictional Sleuths in France This Week

I will be giving an illustrated talk at Parisot Library, 82160, France this week on my current shift from writing novels based on real medieval women to a series of medieval murder mysteries, featuring a fictional sleuth. My sleuth, Beatriz de Farrera, is a Catalan trobairitz (or female troubadour). I’ve envisaged her based on this…

Planning a Novel 3: Sleuths Galore

I’ve been looking at other novelists’ sleuths – medieval or otherwise – as part of my current work on a series of medieval murder mysteries. The novel I am writing features a Catalan female troubadour and is set in 11thcentury Toulouse. Other sleuths I’ve been studying include Ellis Peter’s Cadfael, Donna Leon’s Brunetti, Lee Child’s…

A contemporary troubadour

I’ve just interviewed J.K. Knauss for the launch of her new collection of medieval stories, Our Lady’s Troubadour. The interview is posted on the Historical Novel Society webpage. We talked about how the author worked with her medieval source material, about the relationship between historians and historical novelists, and about her writing group. ‘ I got…

Planning a Novel 2: Envisaging Characters

In planning my latest novel, I’m now moving on to envisaging characters. I’ve created a ‘character book’, with a page on each of them visualising what they look like, their back stories, their motivations.  Some of my characters are real historical people where there is information known about at least the basic events of their…

Planning a Novel 1: Mapping and Settings

Novel planning in progress. I don’t have a lot of study wall space but what there is is starting to fill up! Above – locations and maps for the key settings and journey from medieval Toulouse, to Pallars Sobira in the Pyrenees, and the Iberian kingdom of Aragon. Moving upwards images are San Sernin in…