Into the Map

For the last few days I have been putting together maps to help readers envisage the action of my latest novel set in the 12th century, The Drowned Court. The characters travel from Dublin, to Wales, to England, and into northern France. Poring over old maps and, as far as possible, walking the terrain myself…

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:…

2017 Book Events

I have a series of book events coming up this year, talking on and presenting my new historical fiction trilogy, Conquest, which is set in 12th century Wales, England and France. I’ve been researching early medieval toilets, nuns, clothes, castles, and some rather salacious poetry by clerics and dukes. The first book came out last…

Castle Escapes

My blogpost on Gerald FitzWalter, a Norman frontiersman in south Wales in late 11th and early 12th centuries, has just been published on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog. One of Gerald’s many colourful exploits included an escape down a latrine chute during a Welsh attack in 1109 on his castle of Cenarth Bychan. The…

Good questions on the writing process

I am currently on a Blog Tour for my new novel, Conquest: Daughter of the Last King and have been tackling some very good questions from bloggers about researching, writing and publishing processes, as well questions about the novel itself. See some of my answers here: Trip Fiction, 16 October 2016 The Cosy Reader, 10…