History People # 7: Jane Bwye asks “What is History?”


Author Jane Bwye

It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome an old friend, Jane Bwye, to the blog today. This is a special day for Jane. Grass Shoots, the sequel to her bestselling novel Breath of Africa, set in Kenya, launches today. I’m helping with her launch party on Facebook – and you can win some terrific prizes. Jane poses the big question, “What is history?” Continue reading

The story behind the story – Vanessa Couchman’s new Corsica-based novel

I’m appearing on author Katy Johnson’s blog today, giving a little peek into my current work in progress, set in Corsica (where else?).

Katy's Writing Coffee Shop

IMG_4401Today I’m thrilled to see Vanessa Couchman in the coffee shop. I love stories about houses which give up their longheld secrets so The House at Zaronza which is set in Corsica was right up my street and am eagerly awaiting her next book.

Hello Vanessa, what can I get you?

Thank you so much for inviting me today, Katy. Mine’s a cappuccino, please, and I’d love a slice of that chocolate cake. Anything with chocolate in…

Coming right up. How’s the writing going? I know you’re working on a new novel. Can you tell us anything about it?
I’m a history nut, so I love historical novels, especially when they are based on a true story. History provides so much inspiration and truth is often stranger than fiction! In fact, that’s the case with my latest novel, The Corsican Widow, to which I have just put the finishing touches.

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Rolling in the Aisles: 10 Tips for Doing an Author Talk

Yours truly signing books at the Parisot Literary Festival

Doing an author talk and reading or a public book launch can be intimidating if you don’t have much experience. And public speaking generally is daunting unless you’re one of life’s extroverts, which I’m not. I have done quite a lot of it in past incarnations, sometimes to hostile audiences, but it still makes me nervous. Continue reading

History People #6: Carol Maginn, Lured by History


Author Carol Maginn

Next up in my series about people who write historical fiction is Carol Maginn, who shares with us her journey into history and its influence on her writing. She also tells us how she avoids the pitfalls of historical research – and I know from my own experience what those are! Continue reading

Magic and the Supernatural in Corsica

Menhir at the prehistoric site of Filitosa. Did they invest their statues with supernatural powers?

Menhir at the prehistoric site of Filitosa. Did they invest their statues with supernatural powers?

The Corsican people have always held strong beliefs in the supernatural and magic, which predate the modern Catholic religion by a long way. The spirit world was, Corsicans believed, never very far from ours and the two coincided at certain times.

The dead had to be appeased and bad omens banished with spells to avert mishaps to the living. Corsicans wore amulets, uttered protective charms and called on people with special powers to cure illnesses supposedly caused by supernatural forces. Continue reading

History People #5: Sue Barnard, Random and Retrospective?

Author Sue Barnard

Author Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard is not only a friend and fellow Crooked Cat author, but she’s also my editor! Today, she’s here with her author hat on, though, to tell us about her approach to the history she includes in her own books. Take it away, Sue. Continue reading

History People #4: Nancy Jardine, fascinated by Roman Britain

Nancy Jardine

Nancy Jardine

A big welcome back to the blog to Crooked Cat colleague Nancy Jardine, the latest of my history people. Nancy’s enthusiasm for her subject leaps off the page! Read on and you’ll see what I mean. Continue reading