It amazes me that sometimes, in my internet wanderings, when I am trying to find little nuggets of fact amidst the fog of the past that might embroider my novels with authentic detail, Google presents me with nothing exact. I mean, it's rather obvious that Google and Wikipedia and all other random, non-authoratitive sources, might [...]
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 every [...]
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.
We’ve all seen ladies riding side-saddle in various movies and TV dramas (Downton Abbey as an example.) The correct term is Riding Aside. My daughter rides, competes and jumps aside. (Yes, that is what I said: jumps.) Contrary to belief riding side-saddle, at least with a modern (post Victorian) saddle, is safer than riding astride!
Since late last year I decided that I wanted to start scrapbooking. Previously I have kept a memories scrapbook which is notoriously fat with everything I've kept (I'm a bit of a sentimental hoarder), stuck in with any adhesive I could find. If a notebook could look like it was going to explode, this one [...]