It’s been a busy year, so far, with talks and visits, research trips and yet more work on my latest book. ‘The Angel of Clemency'(working title) tells the story of Elinor’s search to find her lost sister,who is kidnapped by the king’s enemies. Set in 1415, when the English king, Henry V, was desperate to recover territories in France, the action finds Elinor embroiled in a plot to kill the king and seize power, led by the evil fortune teller, Mother Vardis.
The story has gone through several changes, reflected in its various titles. To begin with, it was just called ‘Elinor’s story’ , then ‘Pilgrim’, after a scene which came to me, of Elinor in distress, sitting on the steps of a cathedral, an idea which didn’t survive into the final draft. As soon as I focussed on Elinor’s sister Alys, the book became ‘The Angel of Clemency’, Clemency being the name of the estate on which both girls are raised. After an editor’s comment, I tried to simplify things with yet another title: ‘The White Rose and the Red’ . This was to help readers with one of the plot threads, when Yorkists, whose symbol was the white rose, attempted to assassinate the king, a Lancastrian whose symbol was the red rose. The book was then divided into alternate sections, the action involving Elinor and the loyalists, set against the plotting of the Yorkist villains, with each section headed by a white rose or a red.
I was focussing too much getting the history right and not enough on guiding my readers! So the latest draft has chapters, with helpful headings, providing clues to what lies within. Dare I say it, I’m in quite a happy place with my book at the moment. Finally it’s coming clear. I had hoped to see it on Kindle this summer, but the revisions have taken their time. It’s like watching a plant grow. It can’t be hurried. People sometimes ask me how useful an editor is in the process of writing a b0ok. The answer is’Invaluable!’ When I’m dealing with several threads to the plot, it’s hard to keep them in balance. An editor will spot where more or less explanation is required. The key is to keep asking yourself ‘What’s this book about?’ Usually I start with ‘No idea!’ and hope to find out by the end.