Part Two of The Life & Times of Marie de Rohan

The Life & Times of Marie de Rohan Part 2 is ongoing.
If you are interested….the fight continues.
Chapter One
The Palace of the Louvre, Paris – August 1625
Marie de Rohan knelt on bare boards before the King of France, head bowed, listening. So, Buckingham had kept his promise.

Paris – April 1622 Part Two

Paris -April 1622 – PART TWO
The words glittered maliciously inside Wat’s head. Eyes shut; he put hands to his ears and groaned.
“Listen, my boychild of a gillyflower. Your ears belong to me now and I want to know everything they hear. Withhold nothing from me. I am the judge of what’s important and what’s not. Little words lead to more than you can ever imagine.”
‘Damn you to hell and back for all eternity,’ Wat muttered and then started as a gentle voice rebuked him.
He opened his eyes.
The large, wet, bunched figure on the opposite side of the table spoke again.
‘I said, “Beware such heartfelt curses, they are apt to rebound.”’
Very little face showed beneath the pulled down beaver hat, very little body under the fine leather overcoat.
Wat sat still, every muscle tense, the pasty a lump in his stomach. The other man did not move either but for a wink of firelight inside his shadowed eyes.
‘Here’s a long way from the days and nights we shared so recently in Cambridge.’
‘Rats, lice, and Scotsmen: you find them the whole world over.’ Wat relaxed. Both anger and laughter sat close by. ‘What the hell are you doing here, Jamie?’

Weave a Garland of my Vows

Decided to post bite size snippets of Work in Progress in order to sharpen the brain box.

Paris, April 1622…PART ONE

The Caberet des Lanternes folded around Wat Montagu as he sat, filthy and damp, his spirits somewhere down there with the mud on the soles of his boots. Neither fire nor fragrant steam rising from the beef and marrow bone pasty set below his nose could raise any joy inside his bitten tiredness.

The serving girl passed him again, giving a faint and puzzled smile this time. Wat set to spooning crumbling pastry and spiced meat into his mouth. His mood moved slowly to ankle height until the echo of a voice crept to overlay the rumbling and laughter of a room full of people.

“Walter, darling brat, I want information. And I want you to get it for me. Bury that soft poet’s heart of yours and come back a man. Without the pox, if you can manage it.”

17th Century Textile Colours










And colours to try and get our minds around.
I’ll have a go…
I love the idea of SICK SPANIARD – a yellowy olive?
TEMPS PERDU- I see this as a pale violet?
ANGRY MONKEY- Is red brown too obvious?
APE’S LAUGH- Again, a reddy colour. But only if they were always being pedantic?
RESURRECTION – Oh Gawd! A blue-grey????
KISS ME DARLING – Pale pink, maybe.
MORAL SIN – Love this. A deep, vibrant, singing red?
TRISTAMI – Sorry, can only think of pepparami here. Oops!
SCRATCH FACE – Purpley (if there’s such a word)?
SMOKED OX HAM COLOUR – Pinky, purpley (if it’s not a word, it should be!)
CHIMNEY SWEEP – Too obvious????
FADING FLOWER – Mmmn. Pastel. Maybe like ashes of roses?
DYING MONKEY – Black, brown….ish?
MERRY WIDOW – Deep Purple – nearly black but not quite?

Too much History for Historical Fiction

What does a writer (unpublished) do when told by someone in the publishing industry that although she (the writer) has an impressive knowledge of history, there is far too much of it going on in her Historical Fiction novel?

And – that her Main Character is not famous enough for anyone to EVER be interested in reading her story?

My main character – Marie de Rohan – helped drive a fundamental change in 17th century European history. Her story can’t be told without this ‘history’ aspect. She was interesting enough for Alexandre Dumas to write about her and for Marcel Proust to mention her in his Remembrance of Things Past. Also – Queen Victoria was on the throne when the last major study of her life happened.

Both comments have utterly floored me for a while now. Are these industry wide thoughts?
Is there no room anymore for the new subject – a Scarlett O’Hara rather than sweetie-pie?
No room for the pure, un-PC historical without pages of velvet bodices and excruciating post- Freudian self-examination?

I don’t – I can’t – believe that this is true. Am I wrong? Do you have any thoughts about marquee names and watered down history? Help, please!

Picking myself off the floor now.
I’m stubborn enough to carry on regardless. Just not sure which way to turn!!

Marie de Rohan

Historical Fiction

You write historical fiction because….
You read historical fiction because….

There are as many reasons to write and read as there are writers and readers. We all have our own preferences, our own opinions, our own interpretations.

There seems to be a spiralling debate in the HF world about historical accuracy in fiction and whether it is better to write and read about real people or purely ‘made-up’ people.

I’m feeling a little giddy here.

One of the first things you learn as a researcher of any field is that the more you research, the bigger the differences. First, second, third hand sources – it doesn’t matter. No one has the definitive answer. All is cloaked in bias and propaganda and the changes that time will bring to everything.

So, you write a novel set in the 17th century… for example. You choose to tell a story about Real People. And then you find it suggested that this is not a very good idea. How dare you presume to give a Real Person those thoughts, actions, motivations when you have no earthly way of verifying a single one of them?

A story is a series of actions and reactions. The human condition is universal. You can’t plot a life but you can plot a novel. Applying absolute certainty to that most ambiguous of creatures – mankind – is surely asking for trouble.

And being 100% ‘right’ in every way, shape and form? Good grief, how boring!

Personal opinion here but –I think I’d be rather flattered to be remembered in print, perfectly or even imperfectly, 400 years from now. The odds of that happening to any of us here today are long but…what a compliment.

Elizabeth Chadwick, author of The Greatest Knight and many other works of Historical Fiction has a fascinating method of research. She uses the Akashic Record.

Now – I often wonder if any of the Real People she has had access to have ever turned round and said ‘Go away and leave me alone. I don’t want to be remembered.’???

The above is a serious question. One that boggles my head.

The point of view is – Historical Fiction is about people. It’s written by people and read by people and people are imperfect. End of….!

Historical Fiction

I’ve been following Julianne Douglas’ wonderful poll about historical fiction and marquee names on….

Writing the Renaissance

It has brought up and addressed many issues to do with the state of play in the HF world today. It has also opened up many other avenues of thought – for me at least.
Many months ago I wrote a note to myself in my workbook….

‘Today we are looking at these events through the lens of history.

At the time they were just normal people with normal emotions, living their lives.

Narrow the view.

Forget what happened later.

At any given time the characters were the centre of their own world.

Make them intensely human.’

A quick look at for the word FICTION gives….

the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, esp. in prose form.
works of this class, as novels or short stories: detective fiction.
something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story: We’ve all heard the fiction of her being in delicate health.
the act of feigning, inventing, or imagining.
an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.
Imaginary or not. Market forces or not…

Fundamentally — Historical fiction is for people and about people.

And I for one love it!