At the exciting stage now of writing my next novel where it is a 300 page brick on my desk. It’s still undergoing transformations as I try to make the characters more alive and increase their tensions and interactions, try to introduce more pace and drama, search for inconsistencies and anachronisms, try to enhance the sensory world of the story. I enjoy this phase a lot. I think of it as being like a sculptor working on a lump of stone. I’ve got the raw material there – the words, the text – and I’m battering and chiselling to try and get the beautiful thing to really emerge …
This is my third historical novel and the first in a trilogy entitled Conquest telling the story of Norman incursions into 11th and 12th century Wales and the Welsh resistance. It’s based on the life of the real woman, Nesta ferch Rhys, daughter of the last independent king in Wales and a hostage at the Norman court.
It doesn’t get any easier writing a novel with practice since each one, in my experience, evolves in a different way. It took me a long, long time to get to grips with this one and then I realised Nesta would fill three books, and not one.
As always with my writing, places and things inspired me. The places were the castle sites at Pembroke, Carew, Cardiff, Cilgerran, Narberth, Kidwelly and Llansteffan in Wales and the triple river estuary emptying into Carmarthen Bay. The objects included the 12th century Norman beaker (above) in the British Museum.
Conquest Book I: Daughter of the Last King should be published by Impress Books around September this year, with Conquest Book II: The Drowned Court and Conquest Book III: Return of the Princes, following soon behind. Writing this series of novels has been supported by the Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary I was awarded last year.