April Writing

March was very busy and I’m hoping to get some settled writing done this month. I’m working in two opposite directions – the future and the past – and trying not to go mad with that!

I’m editing a book called The Midden with Jenni Nurmenniemi, which relates to the Frontiers in Retreat art and ecology research project. I have just returned from Helsinki and a very productive meeting with Jenni and the book designer, Serge from NODE. The book will be published in the summer and includes essays by Taru Elfving, Emma Itaranta, Jenni Nurmenniemi, Jussi Parikka, Antti Salminen and myself.

1 Annantalo
My Water Age workshop with children at Annatalo Art School, Helsinki

I’m also finalising a series of books, The Water Age, that I will self-publish, which are the culmination of my own work in the Frontiers in Retreat project. One book is a collection of my future fictions. The other two books present art and writing workshops, one for adults and the other for children. More on the publication dates for those coming soon.

And work on the final book in my historical trilogy, Conquest, published by Impress Books, is underway. The new novel, The Anarchy, is set in 12th century Europe and focuses on the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys and the continuing struggles between the Welsh and the Normans. I have a couple of guest blogposts coming up this month on M.K. Tod’s A Writer of History and Mary Anne Yarde’s Myths, Legends, Books and Coffee Pots. Her first guest this month, is Tom Williams, a British writer who has written a novel about a man he describes as ‘the James Bond of the Napoleonic Wars’. If you are interested in historical fiction this sounds like a good read.

Making It Up

“EXOPLANÈTE LOT“
11ème Parcours d’art contemporain en vallée du Lot
présenté par la MAGP centre d’art, du 3 juillet au 4 septembre 2016
www.magp.fr

(Photographie : Yohann Gozard ©)At Falmouth University Thursday 22 March 11.30-13.00 giving the keynote presentation in the Research Students Symposium. How do we make something from nothing? How do we get from the blank page to the book or the artwork? I will focus on the development of my future fiction, Meanda, set on a water planet. The symposium is open to the public, with other presentations by postgrads. Places are limited. If you would like to attend please contact jemma.julian@falmouth.ac.uk. Image shows an extract from Meanda installed on the GR36 Compostella path in the Lot Valley, France. Photo by Yohann Gozard.

Experiencing Suspense

Draculasguest

Can I get through treacherous snow and howling winds in the UK today to reach the Gers in south-west France for a weekend workshop with a group of delightful writers?

If I make it, we plan to consider narrators, voice, tense, creating characters, creating suspense, settings, and constructing fictional worlds.

That should be enough to keep us busy for a couple of days.

 

New newsletter and books giveaway

urinal Cluny
Urinal used for medical diagnosis, from the Cluny Museum, Paris

My latest newsletter has just been published. It includes news on my novel in progress, The Anarchy, depicting the continuing conflict between the Welsh and the Normans in the 12th century in the aftermath of the sinking of The White Ship, when King Henry I lost his heir.

The newsletter also includes items on my recent talks with writers and readers, my visual inspirations for writing from the Cluny Museum and news on two new guest blogposts coming up.

And finally there is a competition to win a free book by answering a simple question about Henry I.

If you don’t already subscribe to my newsletter you can sign up here.

Images from the medieval world

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I am running a series of daily image trailers on Twitter prior to an illustrated talk that I am giving at Downham Market Library on Monday 11 December, 2-3pm.

A lot of the research I undertake for my historical fiction involves images, objects, places and maps.

To celebrate the publication of my latest novel, The Drowned Court, I will present some of these fascinating images in the talk. I aim to show how I use them to help me write and how some of these objects, faces and places have found their way into my fiction.

Booking for the talk is essential on 01366 383073. (Tickets £3, includes refreshments.)

The images above are: Statue of the Virgin, Albi Cathedral, France; December from a Book of Hours; Locust in a manuscript; the Witham Pin in the British Museum. Follow me on Twitter for more images over the next week.