My Main Character Has Her Say…

The Corsican landscape Maria loves so much

When you’ve spent months, or even years, with your characters they somehow take on a surprising reality and a life of their own. I felt a bit empty when I typed ‘The End’ to The House at Zaronza since  I had become very fond of my main character, Maria Orsini. Continue reading

Food and Diet in Corsican History

Pigs in the Niolu, Corsica, one of the main sources of meat

Finding out about the daily lives and concerns of your characters is hard, especially when they aren’t famous historical figures. You don’t want to put all the details of food, dress, housing, etc. into your novel, but you still have to provide a convincing social background to the story. Continue reading

History People #8: Tim Taylor Looks at the Boundaries of Historical Fiction

Author Tim ‘T E’ Taylor

Today, I’m delighted to welcome a fellow Crooked Cat author, Tim ‘T E’ Taylor, to the History People slot. He looks at the ways in which history has inspired his novels, and continues to do so. Take it away, Tim. Continue reading

Sunday Sojourn – Soap-making in Marseille

I’m appearing on author Jennifer C. Wilson’s blog today, talking about traditional soap-making in Marseille. This features in my recently-completed latest novel, provisionally entitled The Corsican Widow.

Jennifer C. Wilson

Happy Sunday everyone! Today, we’re visiting Marseilles with Vanessa Couchman, and learning about soap-making in Marseilles…

Vanessa Couchman

Thank you for inviting me, Jen. It’s great to be back.

As it’s Sunday, here’s a nice clean subject. We all use soap, don’t we? (At least, I hope so!). It’s the kind of product we take for granted these days. I certainly did until I decided to set part of my latest novel in a soap factory in the southern French city of Marseille.

Soap has been made for centuries and Marseille became a centre of production. The olive oil needed to make the soap was in plentiful supply. Also, the city was a major port and imported other soap ingredients and exported the finished product. In addition, Marseille’s warm but windy climate helped to solidify the soap.

By the time of the French Revolution in 1789, the Marseille area had 65 savonneries

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Pearl Harbor and More Launches in Paperback

 

The devastating surprise attack by Japanese fighter planes on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 hastened America’s entry into World War II and changed the course of the war.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary, eight writers of wartime fiction published a collection of stories set around that date in different locations around the world. We’ve been so pleased with the e-book’s reception that we have decided to publish a paperback edition, which is launched today. Continue reading

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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