Newsletter, September, 2016
Goodness me, it’s September!
Outside it’s raining and I’m wearing a long-sleeved top. Tonight the new series of Strictly Come Dancing starts (don’t judge me!) so I know it’s autumn. I’ve still have obligations to fulfill from my trip to America in April – a couple of novellas, which I’m looking forward to writing.
I sit here with my computer which is now a year old, and try not to panic. At least I don’t have school age children any more. If I did, they’d be back at school already.
I went back to my home town of Leicester recently, to visit my mother and my sister, who had a health problem. But I did get a chance to nip into the cathedral and see the tomb of Richard III. They did a beautiful job. Richard has his own chapel, and the tomb has a deep cross carved into it, with his name around the plinth in gold. Very simple. I’m a bit of a Ricardian, tempered with commonsense. I don’t think he killed the princes, I think that opportunist Buckingham did it in order to foment (fabulous word!) rebellion. But I don’t think Richard was incapable of the deed. His yearning for order, everything in its place, speaks to us, though dimly, because of the destruction of the evidence that came later. However Richard did start the reform of the law that his successor continued. Buckingham’s rebellion failed, but two years later, the future Henry VII succeeded. Someone said that if it wasn’t for Shakespeare, Richard would probably be viewed as a minor king, one people barely remembered. So is it better to be remembered as a villain, or not at all?
I remember Leicester as a gray place, one with a lot of industry but not much leisure. That’s changed completely. It’s now a wonderfully multicultural city, full of colour and sound. I’d go back to live there in a heartbeat, if I could. But my heart was never there. That belongs to Manchester. I stepped off the train for an interview at the Polytechnic, and fell in love with the place. I stayed there, did my degree, and then crossed the road to Manchester University to do another one, and just stayed.
Once, most people rarely left the vicinity of their homes. They would live and die in the space of around 20 square miles, or even less, and never see anywhere else. We forget how small the world has become.
My, aren’t I philosophical? That probably comes from writing historicals. When I research, it’s like visiting another country, another place that is familiar but not. The time it took to go any distance, the lack of instant communication are things that are easily forgotten, as is the size of the social groups most people moved in. Very small. I’ve written the first book in a new trilogy for Kensington, about the Shaw family, and I had to recall how long journeys took and what a huge undertaking they were.
In “Dilemma in Yellow Silk” (which hit number 12 in Amazon this month, yay!) the hero and heroine travel from Yorkshire to London, getting away from their pursuers, who want to kill her. That part took a lot of the book, which only seemed fair because the journey would have taken so long! The following book, “Reckless In Pink” is, by contrast, set mostly in London, and has Claudia Shaw, the well born heroine, inheriting a house that turns out to be a brothel! Claudia wants to see it before her family makes her sell it and add the sum to her dowry, and that’s where her adventure starts. Doing the research for that one reminded me how close the classes of society lived. In retracing Claudia’s steps on a visit to London this year, it is fascinating to see the houses she would have seen still standing, and mark the differences between the houses in the West End, and the crammed-together, ramshackle ones crowding around Covent Garden.
I did pick a house for Claudia to inherit. That’s the beauty of personal research. That and the shopping, because most of the houses around the Garden are lovely little boutiques, and I had to see the inside of them, didn’t I?
“Reckless In Pink” is 99 cents this month, as we’re building up to the release of the next Emperor book, which features Julius and the woman he falls head over heels for!
So pick up “Reckless In Pink,” and if you like it, preorder “Veiled In Blue” to continue the story!
Oh yes, and we had a cover reveal for the last in the series, “Wild Lavender,” which I’ve put above this post. What do you think? Me, I'm in love with the image!