Archive for January, 2020

The blog is back

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

It is over a year since I have posted on this blog, but I now have some things which I want to post in 2020.  Specifically, I want to talk about topics, many of them medieval, as they appear in the seven novels which currently comprise the Lady Apollonia West Country Mysteries.  All my books are set in the late 14th and early 15th centuries in the West Country of England.  In my next post, I will begin with topics that appear in the first book, Effigy of the Cloven Hoof.

For now, let me tell you what I have been doing in 2019 since the completion of my goal of a seven-book series with the publication of Usurper’s Curse at the end of 2018.  Part of this past year was spent in rereading all my novels because even I have trouble remembering the details in which novel a scene or event or a character was introduced or developed.  Rereading is always helpful simply by refreshing Lady Apollonia’s world in my mind.

Two of my seven books are set in West Country cities or towns where Lady Apollonia’ s sons are located.  Joseph of Arimathea’s Treasure is set in Glastonbury, Somerset, where Apollonia’s second-oldest son, Chad, lived in 1397.  King Richard’s Sword takes place in Worcester, home of the Lady’s first-born son, Hugh, in 1399-1400.  Lady Apollonia’s youngest son, David, became a monk in Tintern Abbey and the second-youngest, Alban, died of the Plague in 1392.

The middle of her five sons, Father Thomas, was a priest in Axbridge, Somerset, in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.  He appears in several of the books.  In October 2018, I first thought of building a story about him while I was briefly visiting Axbridge.  This idea was reinforced by a second visit to Axbridge on a family trip to England in June 2019.  The second trip was in a warmer month, and we found that a National Trust property, King John’s Hunting Lodge in the heart of the town which was closed the previous October, was open in June.  This building on the main square, shown above, featured a museum about the history of Axbridge, including the medieval period.

The staff there also enabled me to contact a local historian, John Page, who has been helpful to me in getting a better picture of how Axbridge looked at the time of my books.  Beyond that, he has been willing to answer any questions I have had about the medieval period in Axbridge.

This has inspired me to start a new novel which would place Lady Apollonia in Axbridge to assist Father Thomas in his struggle against serious accusations that are unfairly brought against him.  My working title for this new book is Vengeful Devotion.  Progress has been slow as I develop new characters, including an alchemist.  I hope that these new characters, as well as many old favorites who reappear, will reveal the mystery story to me.  It has seemed to me that my characters have revealed their stories to me in the first seven books, so I hope they will again reveal an interesting story as well as a good mystery.

In the months ahead, I hope to write about some interesting topics that are discussed in my novels.  Each book speaks to many aspects of medieval life in England which I find interesting.  My hope is that you will also find it so.