Back and Forward in Time

Writing historical novels has been a great experience, both A Court in Splendour and The Bardic Monk, pushed my concentration to get under the skin of characters out of history, either those imagined or those who came from history as we know it.My narrator in both books, Walter Map, was a contemporary of Gerald of Wales, and his own book de Nugis Curialum (Courtiers’ Trifles) is full of odd stories, but only offers small clues to his personality. Research is as necessary to a historical novel as the act of writing it, and I enjoyed it all, but I am also really happy to revert to writing material based in fairly current times, the modern idiom is more straightforward, and no matter how many people tell me that the historical books have a ring of the period about which they are written, I am equally happy writing something from the 20th or 21st century.
Suddenly with the third book in my Grace Series, A Fall from Grace, I am back in my own time, and feeling an ease and spontaneous pleasure with seeing the pages filling up with words, the ideas spilling out and the characters moving toward a satisfying conclusion.
It seems that several people are enjoying the Grace books, and of course for me it would be great if several became more, but I had an email from one of those who has read both those which are available on Amazon Kindle (or Kindle app.for phone or tablet) The Rules of Heaven and A Thorn in the Flesh. This email came with the assertion that in the reader’s opinion that it would make really good television, and they would like to see Grace played by Eleanor Bron, with which I entirely agree, and it has increased my enthusiasm for the work. Could this be the future I ask myself? From thinking I had become a writer of historical novels, to developing the work with a character I originally invented at least fifteen years ago, might there be more of them ahead. I’ll say it here. I would like the Grace series to run to ten books! If I have time of course.

Mysteries Abound

It sometimes strikes me as curious that ‘mysteries’ are so prevalent in our reading matter, most particularly in our choice of novels. Whether we’re reading on Kindle, or on the printed page of a battered old paper back from the charity shop, mysteries are not only among my favourite reads but those of my friends and students too. So some years back, I came to the conclusion, that since I loved to read them, it might be an enjoyable exercise to try my hand at writing one. I created a female accidental detective – a retired astrologer, living in West Wales – and brought a young woman to her door whose father had disappeared. The novel grew to completion over a period of about a year, and I called it The Rules of Heaven, my first Grace de Savira mystery. I had loved writing it, and was confident that it was a page-turner, a good read. Then came the endless months of sending it off to publishers, during which time I wrote the second one, A Thorn in the Flesh. By the time the first one had been roundly rejected by every publisher I could think of sending it to, I was half way through the third book, From High Places. My disappointment about the first one meant I never sent the next one out, and none of them was ever published. I wrote the Dreamstealers trilogy for children, which did get published (YLolfa), then historical novels, also published (Llanerch Press), but the mysteries remained in the filing cabinet. Until recently when the first two Grace de Savira mysteries became available on Kindle, and to my great pleasure people have found them, and have actually bought them and read them. So I am now in the process of working on the unfinished book. The biggest mystery in the world of literature is how the choices are made to publish or not publish. And I have an even more exciting mystery up ahead, and this will come to light at the annual Penfro Book Festival. More of that again.