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…

Murder, lies and art

Currently researching for the medieval murder mystery I’m writing and discovering that the range of potential murderous motives at the end of the 11th century in the Toulouse/Pyrenees area are legion. The establishment of the lucrative pilgrim route to Compostela; the salt trade; papal policy over reform, reconquest in Spain and pressure on aristocratic consanguineous marriages,…

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…