Monthly Archives: July 2006

I am a blog illiterate

I am a blog illiterate! This is another message for Angie, who posted a comment on the blog. I didn’t know the difference between an e.mail from the website and a blog comment. Honestly – sometimes I’m not fit to be let loose with a computer. Anyhow, Angie, I’m so glad you enjoyed Blood Red Horse, and hope you are enjoying Green Jasper.

You asked if you might know more about the next books, so, in addition to the previous blog, which talks more about writing than content, here is a small taster.

The new trilogy begins in the Limousin in France, with the death of Richard the Lionheart as he searches for some mystery treasure. That is historically true, which made a wonderful base for a story. My young hero and heroine are on opposite sides in the Crusade against the Cathars, who flourished in Occitania, now in France itself, but which was then a separate culture entirely. So there’s a bit of a Romeo and Juliet feel, except not, if you know what I mean! At the moment, the books all lead up to a terrible climax in a fortress called Montsegur, where, in 1244, there was a violent massacre. My characters are torn between their families and each other. Add in the mysterious treasure, which is very important, plots and counterplots,the stamping on the colourful and warm Occitanian way of life by an army conducting a War On Heresy, all set against the background of the stunning Pyrenean mountains, and you have a flavour of the books. Lots of research done, lots still to do.

Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Onwards and upwards,

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14th June 2006

First of all – hi, Angie, who e.mailed on Thursday 13th June. I’ve tried to reply but my e.mail just keeps bouncing back. Not sure why, but I apologise. If you have another e.mail address, could you perhaps send that through? Please don’t think I just haven’t bothered – that would bother me very much.

I’m feeling both insecure and liberated today. My new book contract is through and to concentrate fully on the first three out of the five, I have given up one of my newspaper columns. It feels like being given a present of a huge chunk of time, but I hate giving anything up! Yet I must. Delivery date for the first book is April 2007, which already feels terrifying close.

As always, when I’m nervy, I take refuge in the laundry and the cleaning. All the sheets in this house have been changed today, at least once, and I’m just staring at the yellow rubber gloves and the bleach. My children run away, in case I clean them as well. They know me in this mood. I’ve already brushed Crumble, and taken the clippers to Biscuit (they are the dogs, not the children, if you’ve not read this blog before, but I dare say, if the children get in the way, they’ll find their hair clipped too). I may take the saw into the garden and chop something down. When I’m in Mrs. Mop mode, nothing is safe.

Starting a whole load of new books is a huge vista of choices. The characters are still fluid, the plot a hotchpotch of possibilities. The de Granville trilogy taught me so much about writing, but when I began Blood Red Horse, Will, Kamil and Hosanna already seemed like people I had known for ages. In this trilogy – or will it be a quartet – the characters are slowly forming. They have names, but I’ll not give them out yet, since as soon as I do, I’ll want to change one of them. Anyhow, these not-quite-named-characters and I are still at the stage of circling round each other. Suddenly, one of us will pounce, and then the character will take off. Actually, one did yesterday, and as he is a very important character, I was very pleased to see him. He’s safely in my notebook (Moleskin cahier, squared paper, 21 cm by 13 – perfect for a bag). When I looked at him again this morning, he was still there, thank goodness, staring at me balefully, wondering why I prefer the rubber gloves and the bleach to getting better acquainted. He’s a man, of course, so doesn’t understand female obsessive compulsive scrubbing disorders. He’ll learn, I dare say.
Now I must empty the washing machine. The life of this writer is, at present, an odd one.

Nevertheless, onwards and upwards,

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