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Today I’m on the ‘De Bohun’s Destiny (The Meonbridge Chronicles #3)’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Carolyn Hughes, but b
About the Author :
CAROLYN HUGHES was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After completing a degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the government.
She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest several years ago that writing historical fiction took centre stage in her life. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.
De Bohun’s Destiny is the third novel in the MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLES series. A fourth novel is under way.
You can connect with Carolyn through her website www.carolynhughesauthor.com and social media.
How can you uphold a lie when you know it might destroy your family?
It is 1356, seven years since the Black Death ravaged Meonbridge, turning society upside down. Margaret, Lady de Bohun, is horrified when her husband lies about their grandson Dickon’s entitlement to inherit Meonbridge. She knows that Richard lied for the very best of reasons – to safeguard his family and its future – but lying is a sin. Yet she has no option but to maintain her husband’s falsehood…
Margaret’s companion, Matilda Fletcher, decides that the truth about young Dickon’s birth really must be told, if only to Thorkell Boune, the man she’s set her heart on winning. But Matilda’s “honesty” serves only her own interests, and she’s oblivious to the potential for disaster.
For Thorkell won’t scruple to pursue exactly what he wants, by whatever means are necessary, no matter who or what gets in his way…
If you enjoy well-researched, immersive historical fiction, with strong female characterisation and a real sense of authenticity, you’ll love De Bohun’s Destiny, the third Meonbridge Chronicle, set in the mid-14th century, in the turbulent and challenging years that followed the social devastation wrought by the Black Death. Discover for yourself if, in Meonbridge, it is Margaret or Matilda, right or might, truth or falsehood, that wins the day…
Guest Post :
Why I became an historical novelist
I’ve been writing fiction for a long time – all my adult life, on and off, in between work and family life. But it was when I decided to study for a Masters in Creative Writing that I took the first step to becoming what I now think I am – a writer of historical fiction.
Why historical fiction? When I had to choose what to write as the creative piece for my Masters, I thought historical fiction might make a nice change from the contemporary women’s fiction I had recently been writing. But the choice was somewhat prompted by serendipity. For, in my twenties, I’d started a novel set in the 14th century and, by chance, I rediscovered the fading draft in a box of old writing (I throw nothing away!!). I had one of those light bulb moments and, a few days later, I was drafting an outline for the historical novel that became the first MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE, Fortune’s Wheel.
It’s true that I’d long been intrigued by the mediaeval period, for its relative remoteness in time and understanding and, I think, for the very dichotomy between the present-day perception of the Middle Ages as “nasty, brutish and short” and the wonders of the period’s art and literature. I wanted to know more about the period, and, through writing an historical novel, I’d have the opportunity both to discover the mediaeval past and to interpret it, to bring both learning and imagination to my writing, which is I suppose what all historical novelists do. It seemed an exciting prospect!
But what sort of historical novel would it be?
There are many sub-genres of historical fiction… Yet I somehow knew that I wouldn’t write a mediaeval mystery, or crime, or romance, or adventure (although mystery, crime, romance and adventure would all play a part). It would not be alternative history, or alternative biography, or time slip. But, if none of these, what would it be?
What I knew from the start was that I wanted to write what I thought of as a “naturalistic” novel, one that portrayed the lives of mediaeval people – and in particular “ordinary” people – as naturally and “authentically” as I possibly could. I soon became excited by the idea of building an imaginary mediaeval English village society and populating it with a variety of interesting, albeit ordinary, characters.
To make a story I would, of course, have to give them challenges to meet and problems to solve, private agonies to bear and public disasters to face. Nonetheless, I thought my novel would be more about the people than the events, more about their interactions with each other than the twists and turns of whatever situations I put them in.
The challenge I chose for Fortune’s Wheel was the aftermath of what we call the Black Death, the plague that swept across Asia and Europe in the mid-14th century, killing between a third and a half of all people, in the most hideous, terrifying way imaginable. Especially when the disease – like other natural (and perhaps man-made) disasters – was presumed to be God’s punishment for man’s sin… People might have wondered which of their sins was so great that God wanted to punish them so severely.
But it was the aftermath of the calamity that particularly interested me – how ordinary people put their devastated lives back together again. Imagine the sheer turmoil that must have ensued, in society as a whole, and at a personal level. Women lost husbands, men lost wives, and both lost children. Young people were orphaned and had to learn to fend for themselves. Workers realised they were now a scarce resource and had bargaining power, while their masters tried to cling to the status quo and keep the workers in their place. As peasants rebelled against the old ways, priests railed against the overturning of God’s pre-ordained social order, and preyed upon people’s fears of further divine retribution for their so-called sinful lives.
Yet, amidst all this turmoil and fear, normal life must have continued: fields ploughed and sown, crops harvested, meals made. People fell in and out of love. Babies were born and children cherished. Friendships and families were sometimes put under strain. Resentments boiled, some finding reconciliation, others ending in treachery.
And this general theme: “Death, conflict, betrayal, but also love… Everyday life in the 14th century!” is the theme for all the MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLES. They are historical novels but they are, above all, stories about people.
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