A few months ago, I came across a website that I thought (and still do) was a brilliant idea. I can’t think why it hasn’t been done before – or maybe it has, but I haven’t found it yet. Art in Fiction: listings of novels that are inspired by the arts, whether it be music, painting, theatre, architecture, dance or any category of artistic endeavour.
This is the third and final part of a series of posts that looks at the principal places in France in Overture, Book 1 in the Alouette Trilogy. The main character, Marie-Thérèse, has ambitions to be an opera singer. The story moves mainly between rural Aveyron in Southwest France and Paris, but Marie-Thérèse also spends a spell in Bordeaux, one of France’s most elegant and prosperous cities.
This is the second part of a series of posts looking at some of the settings that Marie-Thérèse, my main character in Overture, would have known. How do you cover Paris in one blog post? I’m not even going to try. Instead, I’ll focus on a few of the places that are mentioned in the book.
Although I have invented some of the villages in Aveyron, where the story partly takes place, I have used only real places in Paris. You don’t mess with Parisian street names!
Have you heard of Emma Calvé? I hadn’t, until I read about her in a French novel. However, she was one of the brightest stars of her time in the singing world and had a highly-acclaimed international career. Hers is a fascinating rags-to-riches-to-rags story, which has inspired my latest novel, Overture.
My first novel, The House at Zaronza, is four years old and to celebrate I have one signed paperback copy to award to a lucky winner. Read on to find out how to enter.
I’m delighted to welcome back Katharine Johnson, whose historical mysteries make engrossing reading. She’s already told us a little about her latest novel, The Secret, when it was a work in progress. Now, publication day is approaching on 1st June, and I’m looking forward to The Secret popping onto my Kindle that day. The book blurb tells you more about it below. In the meantime, Katy whets our appetite with some insights into the inspiration behind the book and the history on which it’s based.
With less than two weeks to go before the publication of the second novel in my Tales of Corsica series, here’s an excerpt from the beginning of The Corsican Widow. Set in mid/late 18th-century Corsica and Marseille, the novel concerns a young Corsican woman, Valeria Peretti, who must marry a wealthy widower she does not know. A quiet, respectable life apparently awaits her, but a prophecy on the eve of her betrothal spells misfortune ahead.
April will see the reissue of The House at Zaronza, my novel set in early 20th-century Corsica and at the Western Front during World War I. It was first published by Crooked Cat Books in 2014, and I’m eternally grateful to them for taking me on and for everything I have learned in the process. They tell me it was their 4th bestselling eBook and I’m pleased and proud that it did so well in its first edition.
A big welcome to Nancy Jardine, a great author and a specialist on Roman Britain. She raises a familiar dilemma for historical novelists: how do you get plausibly into the mind of someone who lived two thousand years ago? What sort of guesswork do you have to do? And what contemporary sources can you rely on – or not? Let’s hear it from Nancy.
Can you name some famous Corsicans? There’s the obvious one, Napoleon Bonaparte. Slightly less obvious ones are the singer Tino Rossi, and Pasquale di Paoli, who headed the short-lived independent Corsican republic in the 18th century. But did you know that François Coty, who founded the famous Coty perfume empire, was also Corsican?