Library Talks – Historical Fiction

My new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is published tomorrow by Impress Books. It covers the years 1107-1121 and focusses on the tumultuous lives of the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys, and the Norman king, Henry I. I am giving a number of library talks in November in Norfolk and Pembrokeshire to celebrate the new…

History Questions

My new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is published next week and a guest post by me on writing the novel is up today on Tony Riches’ blog, The Writing Desk. ‘I approach writing all my novels by asking questions that I have, after researching the historical evidence.’ The questions that drove my writing in…

As the drawbridge came down, I ventured in

      Publication Day for my new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is approaching. The novel continues the story of Nest ferch Rhys and King Henry I in 12th century Wales, England and Normandy.         A review of the first book in the trilogy, Daughter of the Last King: ‘As the…

A Norman feminist?

King Henry I was the third Norman king of England, after his father, William the Conqueror, and his older brother, William II. Henry reigned in England and most of Wales for 35 years, keeping a peace there, but he struggled with frequent outbreaks of rebellion in Normandy, where he was Duke from 1106. It is…

Medieval Wales

Above is an artist’s impression of the Welsh fort at Carew that preceded the Norman stone castle occupying the site today. The sketch is based on findings from archaeology digs in the 1990s. The stone cross at the entrance to the site, inscribed with the name of the 11th century king Maredudd ap Edwin, is…

Posts from a Castle – Carew (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, I recounted the early story of the royal Welsh fort at Carew and the coming of the Normans, telling the story of Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last Welsh king in south west Wales, and Gerald FitzWalter, the minor Norman lord who held Pembroke and Carew at the end of…

Posts from a Castle – Carew (Part 1)

Last week I was at Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales giving a talk on the first inhabitants of the castle: Nest ferch Rhys and Gerald FitzWalter. At the front of the castle site a large, decorated stone cross bears the name of Maredudd ap Edwin, one of the 11th century rulers of the Welsh kingdom…

The Normans in Wales

Nest ferch Rhys, the 12th century Welsh princess, is the heroine of my fiction trilogy, Conquest. Nest was wife or mistress to a Norman king, a Welsh prince, and the Norman constables of Pembroke and Cardigan castles. Interpretations of the few facts known about Nest ferch Rhys vary greatly. In my novels I am attempting…

Stepping into medieval London

‘The only plagues of London are the immoderate drinking of fools and the frequency of fires’ wrote William Fitz Stephen in his account of the city in the 12th century. On a recent trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts I came across a little book called Norman London in a second-hand bookshop. The book contained Fitz Stephen’s…

Final rewrite

At that satisfying stage again – ready for the final rewrite of my next novel, before sending it off to the editors at Impress Books. It is the second in a trilogy of novels on Nest ferch Rhys and the struggle between the Normans and the Welsh in the 12th century. This new book, Conquest:…