My guest today is fellow-writer Jennifer C Wilson, author of The Last Plantagenet, released today. Welcome to the Quirky Genre, Jennifer!
Hi Kathy, and thanks so much for inviting me onto the blog today, on launch day for my new release, The Last Plantagenet? This is a debut in a couple of ways for me – my first timeslip historical fiction, and my first attempt at self-publishing. Happily, I’ve learned a lot through the release of the Kindred Spirits series through Crooked Cat, so it isn’t quite as scary as it could otherwise have been.
The Last Plantagenet? follows history-lover Kate as she’s transported in a heartbeat from July 2011 back to the same month in 1485, just weeks before a certain battle, and most of us know how that ended for Richard III… Here’s an extract, just as Kate, now transported, but still unsure where (or when) she is, encounters the King of England for the very first time:
The room they entered was exactly as Kate had always imagined a medieval great hall should be. They never seemed quite right when recreated in the twenty-first centuries, but this, this was glorious. Candles flickered on every surface, catching the hints of gold, silver and jewels on the well-dressed courtiers, or picking out the vibrant hues of the draft-excluding tapestries. Somebody had put plenty of effort into the décor and costumes yet, there was nobody around to see it. The whole walk from kitchen to hall, Kate had seen only costumed participants, not one member of the public. Why would you go to all this effort, and do such a great job of recreating the period, if you didn’t let the public in to see it? It seemed a waste to her.
Then she noticed him.
Kate had always hated the phrase ‘skipped a beat’, but that’s exactly what she was certain her heart did, as she saw who was literally holding court in the centre of the room.
King Richard III of England.
And definitely not the actor who had been playing him with such great aplomb earlier. This man’s hair, dark, shoulder length, was real, no wig, and he carried himself with a charisma that was hard to fake, how ever good an actor you were. Kate caught snippets of conversation as she walked through the room; either these actors were keeping far more in-character than any other re-enactment she had encountered before, or, more worryingly, she had somehow been transported back in time, and this truly was 1485. Her mind whirled at the notion, but whatever had happened, and however it had come to happen, she had to deal with the here-and-now first, and get this platter of bread safely onto the table the servant was moving towards.
Following in his wake, Kate was suddenly painfully aware of the length of her dress, and the uneven nature of the floor; even the kitten-height heeled clogs, feeling suddenly like stilettos, were too much for her at that moment. She felt dozens of eyes burning into her, half-hoping, half-fearing that they might just include Richard. Risking a glance at the king, Kate almost dropped her tray. His piercing eyes had indeed found hers, forcing her to meet his gaze, even as she felt herself trembling with, what, desire, terror? She couldn’t quite tell. The liveried servant nudged her forwards with the jug he was carrying, and she reluctantly tore her eyes away from the king to place her tray on the table in the centre of the room.
Hopefully that’s whetted your appetite! If you’d like to join in today’s online launch, you can find it over on Facebook here, or dive in and get the ebook itself here. If you do either, then I hope you enjoy!
Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who spent much of her childhood stalking Mary, Queen of Scots (initially accidentally, but then with intention). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consulting since graduating. Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to develop her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. She is also part of The Next Page, running workshops and other literary events in North Tyneside.
Jennifer’s debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, was released by Crooked Cat Books in October 2015, with Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile following in June 2017. She can be found online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at The Next Page’s website. Her timeslip historical romance, The Last Plantagenet? is available for pre-order now.