Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Extracts of ‘Murder Now and Then’ and the dangers of writing in the ‘soon-to-be’ future

3Dcover MNATShould I update my opening scene? What do you think in the light of Brexit and Inderef.

I began my murder mystery ‘Murder Now and Then’ with a prologue to set the scene:

“The Prologue

May 9th 2019

‘I wouldn’t kill my husband. How could you think such a thing?’

Joanna sat on the grey plastic bench, her hands in her lap, absentmindedly tearing tiny pieces from a ball of spent tissue and watching them drift down on to the brown tiles; droplets of tears joining the snow-flaked floor.

Even though Joanna was alone, she could feel the glare of DI Norton boring into her, willing her to confess. How easy it would have been to halt his incessant questioning and say ‘Yes, I did it,’ just to silence him? His voice still lingered in her head.

Numb with the enormity of her situation she closed her eyes and sat in a sleepless trance, her hands now motionless and her mind free–falling in a bottomless void.”

So far so good. The novel brought Joanna’s plight immediately to the attention of the reader. Even though it was set in 2019 the passage was fairly timeless.

Next I set the scene of the murder in 1919 ~ notice the change in style for the historical content:

“May 9th 1919

“Sergeant Major Alfred Donald Keith Regmund appeared before the Bedford Division Bench on Wednesday morning. Crowds waited outside Shire Hall to see the prisoner arrive and depart, which he did in a closed cab. Three or four rows of public gallery were filled, as also was the grand jury gallery.

Mr P D Holmer presided, the other Magistrate being Mr A C Greenachre. Superintendant Patterson went into the witness box and gave evidence as follows.

‘On Tuesday May 13th I arrested the prisoner at Haynes Park. He was conveyed to Bedford. On arrival I charged him on suspicion of murdering a girl, Lucille Vardon at Wilshamstead on 9th May. I cautioned him and he said,

‘I understand my unfortunate position, and your justification for arresting me, but I am innocent, and I shall be able to prove my innocence.’

The prisoner was then remanded until 11.15 am on Tuesday next.” 1

 1Bedfordshire Times and Independent May 30th 1919 (names have been changed)

This was a true unsolved murder. The newspaper cuttings were detailed and explicit. Fascinating!

Then I launch into the novel with the up to date murder, but backtracked to July 2017. Confused? When I wrote this in 2013 it seemed a long time into the future, but I realise now that I fell into a trap of making predictions where history has caught up with me:

“July 2017         Joanna and Bob Thomas at Pear Tree Farm

Joanna, a farmer’s wife of forty two years of age, whose youthful make-up-free complexion was more like that of a woman in her early thirties, looked out of the yellowing UPVC faux Georgian windows of their old farmhouse. She smiled at the sight of the small herd of prize Jersey cattle her husband had purchased when Britain had won back independence from the EU. The cows, she felt, were a symbol of that independence since the little island of Jersey had enjoyed self government for centuries.

Britain and the farmers especially, were enjoying the freedom which some couples experience after the break-up of an unhealthy marriage – that of mutually beneficial friendship, without binding ties. Of course all the countries involved had undergone the pain and bitterness of a difficult and lengthy divorce, with complicated legal proceedings stretching both lawyers and politicians to the limits, but now all of that was behind them. In fact, some said that many nations still in the EU, held a silent respect for the British spirit that was willing to believe that it would be best to go it alone.

Still maintaining brotherly and sisterly links within the former British Isles; England, Scotland, Wales and even Cornwall and the South West now enjoyed their own governing body. For England that had been a great victory and each country had celebrated the occasion in style with street parties, the likes of which had not been witnessed since the dear Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee back in 2012. Ireland too now held three councils, one in the north, one in the south and a further umbrella council. This worked much like the Parliament in London had done in the past; a matriarch overseeing the British Isles as a whole.”

Well there you have it. I now have  dilemma. Mind you, parts of the predictions were almost true. The timing was awry though.

What shall I do about it? What do you think? Should I update my kindle version or not. I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter.

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Murder, Murder Now and Then, My books, Writing a novel

To the Supportive Blogging Community – Thank you!

Rewarding, Mutually supportive, fun, uplifting, encouraging, delightful … ~ oh that was so good! In an adjective deprived literary universe it is such a relief to let them flow, especially when talking about the blogging world. An author who ignores this gift of reaching out to other bloggers in the community of writers, deprives themselves of so much … love … yes love!

I’m sure that signing up for a Blog Tour is a good experience too, but there is nothing like reaching out and making ‘on line’ relationships, in the pure sense of the word, with like minded people and the benefits are far greater than selling a few more books – you make friendships which are lasting, often crossing social media to Twitter and Facebook.

My heart-felt thanks today are in no particular order, but here are some very special people whom I’ve been privilege to have ‘met’ over the last couple of years. You can click on the name for a link to their website or blog:

TME Walsh ~ I ‘met’ Tania through mutually sharing the same publishing company for our debut novel. She is now with Carina UK, an imprint of Harlequin – a division of HarperCollins – in 2015 with her DCI Claire Winters Series

Tony Riches ~ ‘The Writing Desk.’ Tony is a writer of Historical Fiction which have been best sellers on Amazon. His latest ‘Owen’ – the first of a Tudor trilogy, has already gained 54 4.5 star reviews! He gives insightful reviews of a variety Historical Fiction.

Karen Dahood who writes book reviews on bookpleasures.com is a writer of murder mysteries – The Sophie and Sam Series series. Karen’s novel features in my October book review above.

Pat Ruppel whose blog Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom has stories to inspire full of empathy and warmth. As far as I know she has not written a novel but I treasure her online friendship for the way she always says just ‘the right thing.’

Adam Croft has written a successful murder mystery series which adds delightful humour to the genre. His latest ‘Rough Justice’ is recently released on Amazon.

Mary Ann Loesch’s Allthingswriting.blogspot.com who is supportive of the writing community with her ‘guest blogger’ spot. Her books can be found on Amazon

Debra Brown for her tireless efforts on behalf of authors and readers of historical fiction on Englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.co.uk. Here’s her Amazon page.

JA Beard’s riftwatcher.blogspot.co.uk has wonderful ‘musings’ and insights for authors. Here are all his book releases

Rachel J Lewis whose humour shines through everything she says and will be releasing her debut novel though Urbane Publishers in 2017. Watch this space. Rachel juggles several blogs, organises a Writers’ Group in Ampthill and chaired the Ampthill Literary festival this year. A very busy lady!

Roderick Hart, a Scottish writer who’s novel ‘A Time to Talk’ ~ a mystery in a memoir style, is delightful in an unusual way.

M J Moore with her fantastic articles and resources for ’emerging writers’ and her novel ‘Times Tempest’ which I reviewed last year.

Andy Baskerville with his Fife Photos and Art is a new blogging ‘friend’ who has a mutual love of the Kingdom Fife. His eye for an unusual photo is not only special but it transports me back to a county I’ve come to know quite well, lived in for a year and have written about on my other blog http://www.selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com.

Oh dear. I’m sure I have missed many wonderful people, but to all of you bloggers who find time for others – many thanks. You deserve success as good karma is spread around the globe.

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Filed under Blogs, Book reviews, Historical Fiction, Marketing your novel, Social Media Networking

Amelia Pasch ~ Author of Murder in Mind ~ A 15th Century Thriller

amelia-paschA warm welcome to my blog, Amelia: what inspired you to write historical fiction, in the 15th century especially?

Thank you for inviting me, Diana. There is a two-part answer to this. I have read historical fiction for a number of years so writing it seemed the way forward when I took up writing full time. As for the fifteenth century, well, it is such an important century, marking the beginning of modern history.

 Your current novel is set in Italy. Is it an area of Europe you have a particular interest in?

In the main, Murder in Mind is set in Florence, for which city I have a grand passion.

The danger of historical fiction is lapsing into 21st century speak whereas your writing style is formal and eloquent – totally appropriate for the genre. Did you find it difficult to adopt this style and can you give writers any tips on how you achieved such consistency?

Italians use the formal inflexion of their language much more than non-speakers of it appreciate. An Italian would only say ‘arrivaderci’ to a relative or intimate friend. For others he would use ‘arrivaderla’, the formal  ending of the greeting. I have had this in mind while writing. Some of the formality in my writing may have a further root in my former career as a lawyer. I shun ambiguity. Apart from these influences, my writing voice comes naturally so consistency is assured. I would urge writers to develop their own unique writing voice to ensure consistency in their work.

That’s fascinating. I certainly agree with your advice to authors. I know it’s an impossible question to ask but can you tell a bit about your current novel, Murder in Mind,  in less than 30 words?

Death stalks Florentine streets. An assassin is at large. With colourful panache, a lady Angevin spy, a young man-about-town, and the Security Service’s chief officer ally to thwart him.

 Hey ,well done. I couldn’t have done that! Murder in Mind is historical fiction – murder mystery – spy novel. I am a fan of novels that do not fit into one genre. Life is like that If you had to pigeon hole your novel into one genre what would it be?

I refer to it as an historical thriller. That seems the best in the circumstances but I take your point about work that traverses more than one genre. That was one the the aspects about your novel, Murder Now and Then that I enjoyed.

 What are you currently reading for leisure, Amelia, and what do you think of it?

The book on my bedside cabinet is ‘Grave Concerns’ by Rebecca Tope. It is lighter in tone than my normal leisure reading but none the worse for that. The protagonist is a funeral director which gives it an unusual but appealing aspect. My next read will be ‘The White Queen’ by Philippa Gregory.

 Oh that’s a novel on my list too. Finally, have you any projects in progress which readers can look forward to in the future?

I am working on a second Florentine novel involving the same trio as in Murder in Mind. It begins on Christmas Day 1497 and ends on the first Saturday of Lent 1498, with action aplenty between those dates – and one or two surprises.

 We’ll look forward to that. Many thanks for joining us today, Amelia. I wish you every success with your writing.

 

It was my pleasure, Diana.

Amelia’s can be found on:Murder inmind

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