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…

Reading and Writing

Last week, reading Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree to my two grandsons, age five and two weeks, made me realise why I write fiction myself. My five-year-old grandson has just started reading. It is so exciting to see him doing that after literally five years of his mum and me reading him three stories every night…

Writing a medieval murder mystery

I am on Day 7, at the end of week 1 of the NanoWriMo challenge to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. See my earlier post on starting the challenge and a second post on my writing playlist. If I were going to write the same number of words on each of…

Medieval novel playlist

I’m currently undertaking NanoWriMo November – aiming to write 50,000 words of my new novel about a female troubadour (or trobairitz). NanoWriMo asked for a playlist for my novel so here it is: The working title for my novel, A Morsel of Love’s Bread, is taken from a line in the troubadour poem, ‘Ab la dolchor…

Joining NanoWriMo November

Since I’ve had a writer’s block for over a year, I decided to sign up to NanoWriMo November and see if this could help kick me into a place with a substantial new novel draft to work with. National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel…

Rambling vine

I am a guest on Alison Morton’s writing blog today, talking about how living in France inspires and affects my writing. ‘I fell in love with the pace of village life, which gives me focus to write.’ ‘My writing is inspired by material culture—objects in museums, archaeology, illustrated manuscripts—and by sensory experiences of places.’ ‘I…

New newsletter published

New newsletter just published. Contents include news on my next historical novel, The Anarchy, which will be published by Impress Books in June; a radio interview with me on Soundart Radio; a book reviewing competition; my work in progress on a biography of three medieval sisters; and residencies and workshops I’ve undertaken in the last…

Text is material

‘For all writing, you need to be nosy.’ ‘To me, text is material in the same way as stone or paint are.’ ‘A pen is like a prosthetic for me. It’s like a visual artist needing a sketchpad always to hand, or a sound artist needing to record on their phone.’ ‘The first thing with…

Tracking stories through time and across landscapes

Sarah Gray’s interview with me on Soundart Radio discussing my medieval fiction, my watery future fiction, and new arts postgrad courses at Dartington Arts School – MA Poetics of Imagination and MA Arts and Place. Listen in: