Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: historical romance

Folville-ing

I’m away on my annual trip to run the Imagine writing retreat this week. In between helping answer writing dilemma’s, restocking bathrooms with toilet toll, and advising folk on how to plot their novels, I will be continuing to work on the fourth of The Folville Chronicles.

It doesn’t seem a minute since I was celebrating the launch of book three in the series, Edward’s Outlaw. In that episode of Mathilda of Twyford and the Folville family’s adventure, I took her into the heart of a murder mystery within Rockingham Castle.

Book Four sees Mathilda- and her new maid Bettrys- go off in a very different direction. The Folvilles and their allies in Derbyshire, the Coterel brothers, find themselves under direct attack from the newest Justice in the area…just as a local noblewoman, Lady Isabel, has gone missing. It falls to Mathilda to find evidence against the Justice- and, if she can, track down Lady Isabel while she’s at it.

As with all of the Folville novels, book four uses actual historical events as the backbone to the plot. The research alone has been SO MUCH FUN! It’s been great to get back to my historian roots for a while.

You can buy Edward’s Outlaw from Amazon and all good book sellers.

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So far I’m 35,000 words into Book Four – which I can reveal is to be called ‘Outlaw Justice,’ and will be out around next September.

Hopefully, by the time I’m back from the retreat-  a few more chapters written!

Happy reading,

Jennifer xx

 

 

Coming Soon: The Folville Chronicles Box Set

I’m thrilled to announce that the first three novels in The Folville Chronicles will soon be available as

an eBook Box Set!

The perfect way to binge read the series so far while I’m writing Book 4!

The Outlaw’s Ransom

When potter’s daughter Mathilda is kidnapped by the notorious Folville brothers as punishment for her father’s debts, she must prove her worth in order to win her freedom. With her life in the hands of the most infamous men in England, Mathilda must win the trust of the Folville’s housekeeper, Sarah, and Robert Folville himself if she has any chance of survival.
Never have the teachings gleaned from the tales of Robyn Hode been so useful…

The Winter Outlaw

1329: It is the dead of winter and the notorious Folville brothers are on edge. There are rumours of an unknown outlaw terrorising the Leicestershire countryside. Could this man be Adam Calvin, who is being pursued for a crime he did not commit?
Mathilda of Twyford, newly betrothed to Robert de Folville, believes Adam’s story. But after
an attack on the household’s trusted housekeeper, it falls to Mathilda to work out who can be trusted and who can’t… With the Folvilles’ past about to trip them up, it’s going to take a level head and extreme bravery if Mathilda and Robert are ever going to make it to their Winter Solstice wedding.

Edward’s Outlaw

1330: King Edward III’s England is awash with the corruption and criminal activity that his mother, Queen Isabella had turned a blind eye to- providing it was to her advantage.
Now, having claimed the Crown for his own, Edward is determined to clean up England. Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault and her special advisor- a man who knows the noble felons of the countries Midland region very well- King Edward sends a messenger to Roger Wennesley of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire with orders to work with the county sheriff to arrest five of the Folville brothers…including the newly married Robert de Folville.
Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left, when a maid is found murdered in the castle’s beautiful guest suite, the Fire Room. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was she the target, or is Mathilda de Folville’s life in danger?
Asked to investigate by the sheriff in exchange for him deliberately taking his time in the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder…a web of carefully laid deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…

***

The Box Set pre-order link will be coming soon!

Information about Book 4 is just around the corner…

Happy reading,

Jennifer

Edward’s Outlaw: Cover and Blurb Release

What a year it’s been for my ‘Jennifer Ash’ side!

Not only have I had the pleasure (the privilege), of writing a number of audio scripts for ITV’s Robin of Sherwood, I’ve also been very busy with the continuing adventures of Mathilda of Twyford.

Mathilda’s earliest adventure, which features in the first book of The Folville ChroniclesThe Outlaw’s Ransom – was re-released by Littwitz Press. The second book in the series, The Winter Outlaw came out in March. Now, after eight months intense writing, I can announce the forthcoming arrival of the third of The Folville ChroniclesEdward’s Outlaw.

Edward’s Outlaw will be released on 3rd December.

Pre-order for the eBook version of Edward’s Outlaw (Paperback link coming soon)

Blurb

January 1330: King Edward III’s England is awash with the corruption and criminal activity that his mother, Queen Isabella had turned a blind eye to- providing it was to her advantage.

Now, having claimed the Crown for his own, Edward is determined to clean up England. Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault and her special advisor- a man who knows the noble felons of the countries Midland region very well- King Edward sends a messenger to Roger Wennesley of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire with orders to work with the county sheriff to arrest five of the Folville brothers…including the newly married Robert de Folville.

Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left, when a maid is found murdered in the castle’s beautiful guest suite, the Fire Room. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was she the target, or is Mathilda de Folville’s life in danger?

Asked to investigate by the sheriff in exchange for him deliberately taking his time in the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder…a web of carefully laid deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…

***

After being thrust into solving mysteries in books one and two in order to save her own life, this time Mathilda finds herself in the role of detective. Word of her skill at getting to the bottom of crimes has spread. In fact, the only person that doubts Mathilda’s skills as an investigator is Mathilda herself…

 

I had a wonderful time writing Mathilda’s latest adventure – and setting up the background for book four. In fact, clues to book four (which I will be writing at the end of 2019), have been scattered through the lines of all of The Folville Chronicle novels so far…

Come back for more novel release news soon.

Happy reading,

Jennifer xx

 

 

Interview with Marie Evelyn: The Turtle Run

It’s interview time at my blog today, and I’m delighted to welcome Marie Evelyn to the chair. Let’s pop the kettle on- but how many cups are we going to need/

Over to you Marie…

coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

The Turtle Run was inspired by something my mother once witnessed in Barbados (described in the book). She came across barefooted, blue-eyed, fair-haired children struggling to carry buckets of water from a standpipe to their chattel house and learned that they were the descendants of the Monmouth rebels, who were exiled from England to Barbados in 1685.

This experience encouraged my mother to study more about the Monmouth rebellion, led by Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. Although the book is contemporary, and has a strong romantic element, the theme is about how people’s lives are influenced by the fate of their ancestors. Certainly the miserable situation of many ‘Redlegs’ (to give them their politically incorrect name) was the legacy of their exiled forebears.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

The self-interested Francesca was based on a neighbour and school classmate of mine in Barbados. (Name changed – of course). To be fair, she may have matured into a wonderful woman fighting for human rights since I was on the island, but when I knew her, all the indications were that she would take ‘shallowness’ to new depths.

The Turtle Run cover

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

My mother had a long association with Barbados and we lived on the island throughout my childhood. There was also a family connection to the Redlegs. My mother did a little research out there to try and discover more about the original exiled Monmouth Rebels but it was only many years later – after we had moved to the UK and my parents had retired to Dorset – that she was really able to research the beginning of the story, which has so many local connections with south-west England.

The Somerset Heritage Centre (http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/archives/) was a useful source of information and this short event in British history has inspired some really interesting books. But for a ‘Monmouth fix’, I would leave the non-fiction books and turn to Lorna Doone.

What excites you the most about your book?

The book has a strong theme of trying to understand the present through understanding the past. Although I am more interested in the challenge of writing a story where there is a connection between a contemporary character’s situation and the situation of his/her ancestors from hundreds of years before, just having characters uncover a secret about their own immediate family can be really engaging.

If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?

Enid Blyton would be one as I have a rather complicated relationship with her. Of course, several of her books were on the theme of children living on islands, though as practical guides to island-survival they would be pretty hopeless as the children never seemed to have much problem finding food, and never had go to the loo. I should be very grateful to her for firing my young imagination, but the problem was that I assumed her stories had some basis in reality. As my image of what England would be like was entirely informed by her books, I experienced no small disappointment when we did finally move here, and as for my subsequent experience of boarding school – let’s just say that I felt very misled. I would probably end up chasing her around the island pelting coconuts at her.

I would also choose Louisa Dixie Durrell – who must have been a real character but was reduced to ‘Mother’ in Gerald Durrell’s books and who seemed to have a very placatory role during her children’s squabbles.  I imagine she would act as peacekeeper on the island, and would try to persuade Blyton that I wasn’t throwing coconuts deliberately. Finally, I would have Baroness Elsa Schraeder (Captain Von Trapp’s fiancée in the Sound Of Music) to add a touch of style and class. She could enjoy the child-free island and use the time to reflect on her extreme good luck at losing Von Trapp and his warbling children to an ex-nun with a guitar.

I guess our survival would depend upon Enid Blyton’s expert naturalist knowledge, and I would have to hope that she’d forgotten the whole coconut-pelting episode.

Links

https://www.facebook.com/Marie-Evelyn-920546144697589/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turtle-Run-Marie-Evelyn/dp/1783753277

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28330185-the-turtle-run

 Marie Gameson photo

 

Bio

Marie Evelyn are a mother and daughter team originally from the Caribbean but now based in the UK.

Mother Margot (Margot Gameson née Evelyn) has been published previously as Mary Evelyn and daughter Marie Gameson was longlisted for The Bridport First Novel Prize in 2015. The Turtle Run is their first novel together and is based on their firsthand experiences of growing up in Barbados, showing a side of the island probably unknown to most visitors.

A former journalist, Margot in particular has seen the island go through a lot of changes, especially in the lead up to independence – Barbados celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent nation this year. However The Turtle Run shows there are still resonances of its lesser known history on the island today.

The family moved to the UK in the 1970s and eventually settled in an area where many of the Monmouth rebels originally came from. Margot is now retired and Marie works in IT.

***

Wonderful interview, many thanks Marie,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Interview with Nicola Cornick: House of Shadows

I’m delighted to welcome fellow writer and RNA member, Nicola Cornick, to my site today to answer a few questions about her latest historical romance. So why not take a break, grab a cuppa, and have a read.

coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

The inspiration for House of Shadows came from my love of history and the work I do for the National Trust at Ashdown House, a 17th century hunting lodge with an amazing history. Over the years I have researched so many fascinating aspects of the house and the family who owned it that I knew I had to write a book about it. However the inspiration also came from my own love of reading books with an element of the supernatural in them. I’m intrigued by ghost stories, reincarnation, time slip, magic… I wanted to explore those ideas in a book and House of Shadows was the result!

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I think that like a lot of authors I take aspects of the characters of people I know and use them in my writing but I also change a lot of things about the character as well so they are a work of imagination. In House of Shadows there is a character that is based on a very dear friend of mine but only “half” of her. Fran, in the story, is expressive, extrovert and endearingly tactless whereas the friend I modelled her on is very expressive but also discreet and thoughtful.

Whilst researching House of Shadows I was intrigued to discover that no lesser author than Jane Austen had apparently used one of the historical figures I was drawing on as the inspiration for a character in Sense and Sensibility. I think authors are like magpies in that respect. We pick up bits and pieces of inspiration all over the place!

HOUSE OF SHADOWS web

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

I did a lot of research and loved every minute of it! I read a lot of contemporary writing from the 17th century, including Elizabeth of Bohemia’s correspondence and various sets of memoirs that referred to her. I love reading letters because it does give you an insight into the minds of the people who wrote them and feels very personal. I also used a lot of material objects to research the book, especially portraits for the details of things like clothes and jewellery. For the 19th century thread of the story I read about all sorts of things from the lives of courtesans to the work of the Ordnance Survey in mapping England during the Napoleonic Wars!

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I’m most accustomed to writing in the third person but for one of the strands in House of Shadows I wrote in the first person and enjoyed it very much. I felt as though I got deeper under the skin of the character – or more closely into their mind. My current manuscript has a dual timeframe and one of those is also in the first person. I’m definitely getting a taste for it! It feels very immediate and real to me.

If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, fictional or real, who would they be and why?

Ha! Great question! Being stranded on a desert island is a bit different from choosing dinner party guests – I think I’d need people who were resourceful as well as interesting since I’m not very practical myself. I’d go for Florence Nightingale, Prince Rupert of the Rhine and The Frenchman from Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek!

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Links

www.nicolacornick.co.uk

https://twitter.com/NicolaCornick

https://www.facebook.com/nicola.cornick/

Nicola Cornic 1

Bio

Nicola Cornick is an international bestselling author of historical romance and historical fiction. She has lived in Oxfordshire for 20 years and draws her inspiration from the myths and history of the local landscape.

Nicola became fascinated with history when she was a child, and spent hours poring over historical novels and watching costume drama. She studied history at university and wrote her master’s thesis on heroes and hero myths. In her spare time she works as a guide in the 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House. She also acts as a historical advisor for television and radio.

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Many thanks for a great interview Nicola,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

 

 

Guest Blog from Marie Laval: One night under the stars

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Accent Press author, Marie Laval, back to my site to talk about her new release, The Lion’s Embrace. I have to say, it sounds fascinating.

Over to you Marie…

Thank you very much Jenny for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about my latest release. THE LION’S EMBRACE is my second historical romance and takes place mostly in North Africa, in Algeria to be exact, in 1845. Lucas Saintclair is hired as a guide by Harriet Montague to rescue her father, a British Museum archaeologist, who she believes was captured by a gang of Tuaregs in the far South of the country.

ML Blog Lion'sEmbraceAccent

Writing THE LION’S EMBRACE was a fascinating process, not only because I got to fall in love with my hero (I know, it sounds very, very corny, but it’s true!), but also because I discovered the beautiful landscapes Lucas and Harriet travelled through on their way to Tamanrasset, and the culture of the people they encountered. One particular group of people are at the centre of the plot: the Tuaregs, also called ‘The People of the Veil’ or the ‘Blue Men of the Desert’ because of the indigo veil all men have to wear from around the age of fifteen.

ML Blog touareg2

I surrounded myself with photos of the Sahara, of oases and the magnificent Hoggar mountain range. I read Tuareg poems and stories and listened to music so that I could get a real ‘feel’ for the place and the people since I couldn’t travel there myself.

Hoggar Mountains

Hoggar Mountains

One song in particular caught my imagination and I played it over and over again as I wrote THE LION’S EMBRACE. It’s a modern song and I have no idea what they are singing about, but I find the melody poignant and haunting, especially the monochord violin, the imzad, which can be heard throughout.

ML Blog imzad2

The imzad is a traditional Tuareg instrument only played by women. It is at the heart of the Tuareg culture and society because of its link to the Achak, the code of honour every Tuareg must live by. Those who stray from the path and commit dishonourable acts are said to have lost the ability to ‘hear the imzad’ in their heart and are therefore cast out of their family and their tribe.

Here is the link to the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5z7AcjE-YI

As they travel across the Sahara desert, Lucas Saintclair and Harriet Montague spend a few days with a Tuareg caravan. Every evening, they sit under the stars and listen to musicians playing the imzad and to stories and poems. The story-teller pulls out round pebbles out of his ‘bag of tales’, which is a skin pouch. Each pebble represents a different story and he tells the stories in the order the pebbles were drawn from the bag.

This is an excerpt from THE LION’S EMBRACE when Lucas and Harriet are at the Tuareg camp. The tale is based on a genuine Tuareg story.

The women played their instruments all along, drawing long, monochord sounds that at times sounded almost like laments and perfectly matched the mood of the audience, silent and attentive under the starry sky.

            By the end of the evening, Harriet shivered with cold. Lucas wrapped his arm around her shoulders to keep her warm.

‘The brave is reaching the end of his journey,’ he translated, his voice low and a little hoarse. ‘After wandering in the desert for weeks, he finally finds his beloved’s camp, but it is empty under the stars. Only the cruel wind answers his prayers, and as the cool moonlight kisses his lips, the vast spaces full of solitude chill his heart. So he lies on the sand and waits to die.’ He paused. ‘And that’s love for you. Brings you nothing but pain.’

            Despite his slightly mocking tone, the words made her dreamy.

            ‘It’s beautiful, and so sad.’ She found his hand, squeezed a little. ‘Love isn’t all pain, you know. It can be the most wonderful feeling in the world.’

            She should know.

***

Thank you again Jenny for welcoming me on your blog.

Here is the blurb for THE LION’S EMBRACE

Algiers, 1845

Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him. As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive?

Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.

Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?

***

THE LION’S EMBRACE is available from

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lions-Embrace-Marie-Laval-ebook/dp/B013GSVJJI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

and in paperback from Áccent Press

You can find me at http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor?fref=ts

https://uk.pinterest.com/laval0232/

MarieLaval (2)

Author Bio

Originally from Lyon in France, I have been living in the lovely Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, for the past few years. I spend most of my spare time dreaming up romantic stories. A SPELL IN PROVENCE, my first contemporary romantic suspense, was released by Áccent Press earlier this year. ANGEL HEART, my debut historical romance and THE LION’S EMBRACE have just been re-released by Áccent Press too. And watch out for DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, another historical romance, which will be published in the autumn …

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Many thanks to Marie for such an interesting blog. Another book to add to my ‘to read’ list!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 

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