Women in Traditional Corsican Society

Oppressed, subservient, insignificant? Does that accurately describe Corsican women in past times? Not always. That Corsica was a patriarchal society can’t be denied. But to portray the island’s women as downtrodden and overlooked is to over-simplify a complex situation. A previous post explored marriage customs in Corsica. This time, I look specifically at the roleContinue reading “Women in Traditional Corsican Society”

Courtship and Marriage Corsican-Style

In Corsica, relations between the sexes have always been regulated by unbreakable codes of honour. I researched courtship and marriage customs on the island for The Corsican Widow, which is set there during the 18th century. The Corsican ideal of honour is central to the story.

This Book is Worth More than Rubies to Me

This book doesn’t look like much, I know, and the subject may seem a little abstruse – Everyday Life in Corsica in the 18th Century. But this was the only copy available outside faraway libraries; the very last one I could get hold of. Why is it so important to me? Because it’s invaluable for oneContinue reading “This Book is Worth More than Rubies to Me”

Views of #Corsica

Come with me on a photo journey through some of the places and views on Corsica that have inspired my writing during our six visits there. I have taken hundreds of photos on Corsica, but these are among my favourites. I can feel a seventh visit coming on…

Vendetta in Corsica: Myth and Reality

We’ve visited Corsica six times. L’Île de Beauté is a captivating place, with a savage beauty and a culture all its own and I strongly advise a visit. In 2014, we went to Olmeto, once the home of a woman who was the inspiration for Prosper Mérimée’s Colomba. His novel is about vendetta, an integralContinue reading “Vendetta in Corsica: Myth and Reality”

Revisiting Inspiration on Corsica

  Should you go back to places that have a special significance in your memory, or where you have found inspiration? It can turn out to be disappointing. They might have changed beyond recognition, or the magic you experienced might simply have dissipated. So, it was with some misgivings that I recently revisited the Corsican village where IContinue reading “Revisiting Inspiration on Corsica”

Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction

Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction Novels are clearly about people and their stories. But I have always been a great believer in the importance of setting in fiction. It influences characters in so many ways and can tell you a lot about them. You also have to create a believable worldContinue reading “Location, Location, Location: the Importance of Setting in Fiction”

A #Corsican Easter Procession

Religion in Corsica is just as important as in the rest of France – if not more so. You get the sense, though, that the Roman Catholic faith overlays deeper currents of belief, stretching back beyond the birth of Christianity. It’s more elemental, like Corsican music. There wasn’t a place in The House at ZaronzaContinue reading “A #Corsican Easter Procession”

Ten Inspiring Things About #Corsica: Part 2

Here’s part 2 of my post about aspects of Corsica that I find inspiring as a writer. Some of them appear in my novels The House at Zaronza and The Corsican Widow, but all of them are things I want to keep experiencing. In writing this post, I have realised that 10 is far tooContinue reading “Ten Inspiring Things About #Corsica: Part 2”

On the Chaise Longue with Vanessa: Meet Maria Orsini, Main Character in ‘The House at Zaronza’

  Normally, I interview real live people. But today, I thought I’d let one of my characters have her say. So joining me on the chaise longue today for some Corsican vin de myrte (myrtle berry wine) and a bit of bean-spilling is my main character from The House at Zaronza, Maria Orsini.