The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C Wilson ** Author Post & Book Spotlight**
Welcome to the blog today to meet Jennifer C Wilson, the author of The Last Plantagenet? She is going to tell us all about researching her time-slip historical novella.
First, here's a little about the it:
The fireplace hadn't looked like a time-portal.
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different.
Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?
Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Jennifer. Over to you!
Hello, and thank you for being part of my blog blitz today, for The Last Plantagenet?
I love the research side of my writing. I know there’s a strong element of fantasy to all my writing so far, whether it’s ghosts hanging out together in my Kindred Spirits series, or Kate slipping through time and ending up in 1485, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with shoddy research, or simply making things up as you go along. In fact, somehow, it feels even more important to me to do my best to get facts right, given that I’m ‘messing about’ with other factors.
Most of my inspiration comes from visiting historical sites and buildings, so that’s always the most important step in any project. Last year, I had started writing Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey several months before visiting, and there were so many things I had to change once I’d been there in person. Likewise, it was being inside Leicester Cathedral which gave me the final scenes for The Last Plantagenet?, and helped me round off the story.
Being in the physical space occupied by the people I’m interested in, and want to write about, makes them come alive to me, even simple things, like realising the effort it would actually take to climb a castle’s spiral staircase in a full medieval gown, or how draughty those old buildings would be, even with a roaring fire in the middle of the room, and heavy tapestries lining every wall. That sort of thing makes a real difference, even if, sometimes, it isn’t ‘perfect’. For example, I visited Hampton Court Palace several years ago, and remember the blazing heat from the huge kitchen fires being almost unbearable, even on a freezing cold February morning, and with plenty of those draughts I mentioned earlier! Although the actual scene ended up being set in a now mostly vanished Nottingham Castle, that feeling of heat, and hearing about the chaos and bustle which would be going on around Kate as she found herself in the middle of things, was still incredibly useful.
Of course, as with Nottingham Castle, and many other locations which have changed so much since they were at their height, visiting isn’t enough, or doesn’t give quite a good enough impression to get a feel for the place. Luckily, being an absolute bookworm, losing days at a time reading key reference books is never a chore either. Before starting on a project, I get hold of as much material as I can, because once I start writing, I only like dipping in for key facts that I might have forgotten; I cannot read anything remotely connected to characters or locations I’m working on, especially not fiction, but even non-fiction, in case it finds itself worming its way into my own writing. I once wrote an entire scene, was really proud of it, but couldn’t shake the notion that I’d read it before. I initially hoped it was in a reference book, which would have been fine, but turns out it was from The Virgin Widow by Anne O’Brien, which would NOT have been fine, as it was practically word for word the same scene. That was a whole afternoon’s work deleted, and a very good lesson learned!
The main issue with this is that I now cannot visit anywhere without imagining which ghosts might be hanging around, or who would have spent time there in the past, but as problems go, I cannot complain. Just need to get them all down on paper before they vanish…
Thank you so much for this, Jennifer. You certainly have a feeling for the past.
About the Author
Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.
Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon.
Book Spotlight - The Last Plantagenet?
This Time-slip historical romance was published on 2nd October 2017.
Book link: Amazon UK
Thanks to Jennifer and to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Blitz.
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