True Inspiration for Fiction #3: Plague!

Villefranche Rue de la République

Villefranche-de-Rouergue: view of the Collégiale (cathedral) looming over streets barely changed since the 14th century (minus the cars, of course)

The plague first made an appearance in 1347-48, when a catastrophic and unstoppable pandemic swept through Western Europe. In four years, the population of 14th-century Europe plunged by an estimated 33-50% and its civilisation changed forever. The figures are debated, but as many as 150 million people may have died worldwide. The disease spread across France from the Port of Marseille and few places were unaffected. Continue reading

Book Cover Design: the Story of French Collection

French Collection Cover LARGE EBOOK

 

When people buy a book, their choice depends on many factors: recommendation, a favourite author, a catchy title, a genre they like and so on. The cover also has a big influence on book buying. For that reason, instead of exercising my minimal (no, zero) design skills on my forthcoming collection of short stories set in France, I commissioned a cover designer. Continue reading

True Inspiration for Fiction #2: Edgar Degas’ Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando

Edgar_Degas,_Miss_La_La_at_the_Cirque_Fernando,_1879

Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando by Edgar Degas – National Gallery, London, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Works of art can provide endless inspiration for fiction. The paintings alone, with everything they convey, would be muse enough. But sometimes the story behind the painting is just as enthralling. I have always loved Edgar Degas’ paintings and I was fascinated to learn the origins of ‘Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando’, which hangs in the National Gallery in London. Continue reading

See Richard III in a New Light with Jennifer C. Wilson

TLP-FinalCover

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. Continue reading

True Inspiration for Fiction #1: the Christmas Truce 1914

World War I soldiers - National Archives

World War I soldiers – National Archives

“There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” This was the slightly bemused verdict of a British Tommy on one of the most extraordinary and poignant events of World War I: the Christmas truce of 1914. Up and down the lines on the Western Front, men from both sides stepped from their trenches and laid aside their countries’ differences for a short time. Continue reading

Short Stories Inspired By #France

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie - view of village from above

Saint-Cirq Lapopie, one of the beautiful hilltop villages for which SW France is renowned

To celebrate my 20 years in France, I’ve decided to publish a collection of a dozen of my short stories. They are all linked by being set in France, many of them in the southwest region, where I live. This part of France has rich and varied landscapes and a strong tradition of separatism and independence. Continue reading

Festilitt – Parisot Literary Festival

Parisot perched on its hill

Where’s Parisot? It’s a hilltop village in Tarn-et-Garonne, Southwest France. You could be forgiven – but would be mistaken – for passing it by. Mistaken, not only because it has some interesting historical sites to see, but also because it hosts an Anglo-French literary festival every October. Continue reading