I’m delighted to welcome back my friend and fellow Crooked Cat author, Jennifer C. Wilson, who has some exciting news to share with you. Richard III fans will be in their element! And I can tell you it’s a great read. But I won’t steal Jen’s thunder.
Hi Vanessa, and thanks for inviting me back to your blog today, to talk about my new project. And it’s one you’ve already very kindly read too!
The Last Plantagenet? is my first foray into self-publishing, and it’s a project that’s been buzzing around my head for several years now. It started as a response to Mills and Boon new (at the time) Historical Undone series, which was looking for historical fiction with a twist, and that got me thinking about time travel, and it struck me that the period I was most interested in would be the court of Richard III. I gave it a go, but two things soon became clear: 1) I cannot write what Mills and Boon are looking for; and 2) the story I had in mind needed almost double what they were looking for in terms of word count.
So, into the drawer it went, and not to be looked at until January this year, when my writing friend and colleague Elaine suggested I try to finish it. So I did. Due to its awkward length, I decided to self-publish, and I’m delighted that it has come together in time for what would have been Richard’s 565th birthday, on 2nd October 2017.
I don’t think I would ever have finished it if I hadn’t realised that paranormal historical fiction was an actual genre – when I started drafting it, apart from the Mills and Boon line, I wasn’t sure it would ever find a home.
As I’ve said before though, now I know it is a thing, I’m really enjoying exploring other ideas and avenues it can take me down. I’m currently enjoying exploring the ghosts of Westminster Abbey, in what I hope will become the third in the Kindred Spirits series, and am already looking at other cities to research in the future – there are a lot of potential characters to get to know in this country! I was thrilled to find a book in Wigtown earlier this year, outlining where various people were buried, and it’s proving great for research.
For now though, I’m back to my favourite leading man, Richard III. At least in this project, he’s alive and well, rather than a ghost! Writing about the same character in two works-in-progress at once is certainly a challenge, and not one I’ll be repeating any time soon… Especially when in one he’s alive, and in the other, a ghost!
In The Last Plantagenet?, Kate finds herself transported from 2011 to 1485, to the travelling court of Richard III, in July, just before August 1485, and a certain battle… How will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court, and more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?
Here’s the opening scene to whet your appetite…
2nd July 2011, Nottingham Castle
The fireplace hadn’t looked like a time-portal. Of all the things flying through Kate’s mind as she gazed around the chaos that was the medieval kitchen, that was the one that stood out.
It was meant to be just an ordinary Saturday. A blissful day, enjoying the pounding of hooves cantering around the grounds of Nottingham Castle. Kate had relaxed for once, watching a re-enactment of the Wars of the Roses, celebrating the town’s part in King Richard III’s fateful final few weeks, as he travelled to Leicester to meet Henry Tudor, and his fate at Bosworth. As an avid fan of the period, it was Kate’s perfect Saturday, watching the actors in their armour or fine costumes. She meandered between the stalls, ate her fill of food from the time, and absorbed the atmosphere, enjoying a break from the drudgery of real life. Now, full of roasted chicken and mulled wine, even in the middle of summer, Kate was casually forgetting the accounts she knew she had to settle when she returned to the office on Monday morning. So few of the re-enactments Kate had watched featured Richard III as the hero of their piece, and yet, here he was, taking centre stage, just where he belonged in Kate’s opinion. Too many documentaries, plays and other works cast him as an evil, power-grabbing, child-murdering maniac; today, he was just as she had always pictured him – a man doing his best, no worse than any other medieval monarch, who fell foul of Tudor propaganda. Kate had always supported the underdog, she thought as she wandered around the tents, and Richard was certainly that.
But then the rain started. A summer storm, Kate decided, ignoring the gathering clouds for as long as she could, but once the heavens opened, they refused to close, drenching everyone to the skin as they ran for cover. Ducking inside, Kate found herself standing in front of the former kitchen’s grand fireplace, flickering away with fake, LED flames, fake meat roasting on fake spits. A clap of thunder made Kate jump, causing her bag to slide off her shoulder and in amongst the ‘burning’ logs; she leant in to retrieve it, just at the moment the first bolt of lightning struck.
In a heartbeat, the world went black.
Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who spent much of her childhood stalking Mary, Queen of Scots (initially accidentally, but then with intention). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consulting 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 develop her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. She is also part of The Next Page, running workshops and other literary events in North Tyneside.
Jennifer’s debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, was released by Crooked Cat Books in October 2015, with Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile following in June 2017. She can be found online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at The Next Page’s website. Her timeslip historical romance, The Last Plantagenet? is available for pre-order now.
You might also like
Copyright © Vanessa Couchman, Jennifer C. Wilson 2017, all rights reserved.