In spite of his graceless entrance and obvious inebriation, the man’s eyes were exceedingly quick. As he righted himself, they made contact with a heeled shoe, a pleasingly long leg beneath the flimsiest of materials, and a gathering of skirts. His eyes continued their journey upwards, over her bodice, her neck, and then they stilled at those indefinable blue eyes.
And there she stayed, in my mind, winding around the tables, playing another game of cards, waiting for her story to be written. She was beckoning me, and only her face, her path, was clear to me from among the blurred faces of that hell. I couldn’t ignore her, not when she dwelt in my mind, she compelled me to write her story, from that first night in the hell where we met, until…
I attended my first writing conference at the beginning of September. It was the Historical Novel Society conference held in the beautiful town of Oxford and it was a truly wonderful day. You see, I’ve never experienced it, that incredibly swell of excitement when you walk through a crowd of writers. When you know that everyContinue reading “Reconfiguring: Why attending the HNS conference is essential”
Writing is lonely. You are surrounded by characters, in another world, another time, another place, and yet you can go for hours without talking to anyone. And then, when you do find someone to talk to, you can’t quite bring yourself to articulate well what you are feeling. All the words which tumbled into yourContinue reading “Writing is lonely…”
I bought one of those worlds at the King’s English bookshop, a particularly crooked house, in Canterbury. I collect older Georgette Heyer’s and added The Conquerer to my collection on my trip. The 17th century house is also known as Sir John Boys House and is reputedly mentioned in the novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
George’s first major renovation project was Carlton House, a residence given to him in 1783 when the then Prince of Wales came of age. With the rambling house came a stipend of around £60,000, which the prince was supposed to use to renovate the shabby building.
I mean, this is why it’s so important (if you can) to visit the places you hark on about in novels or read about. I am not a city-lover so how was I to know St James’ that fashionable haunt of fashionable men in the Regency is on a slight incline?
Now, there is an academic debate on whether re-enacting enables or hinders the production of academic research – I settle on the side that it enables. I really do think that if you try to do something they way they did it in the past it can inform your understanding of the past providing you with real insight.
One of the best but potentially the most frustrating things about writing historical fiction is research. In my case, within the twelfth century, I am continually learning but I also have to make extensive executive decisions along the way. Academics disagree – it’s the fundamental core of academia, I suppose, that no academic will spontaneously support another’s view on a historical fact.
I really don’t know what it is about historic dress that fascinates me, but it really does do just that, fascinates me. I can spend ages staring at the line of a dress, the embroidery of a sleeve and the shape of a heel.