A trip to the past
I've changed direction slightly in recent months, or rather, added a new direction to my writing. While I'm still writing my dual time novel, set in 1916 and 2016 (conveniently avoiding the Covid-19 pandemic!), I'm also editing a historical novel I began back in 2013. There are a lot of eye openers when you go back, either to re-read or re-write something you wrote several years earlier. If your journey as a writer has gone as you'd hoped and planned it would and the intervening years have been one of growth and experience, then the first thing that jumps out at you when reading earlier efforts are the weak spots in the story, the lack of character depth and often the immaturity of the writing. I saw all three when I looked over my 2013 partial manuscript, which was depressing at first, but reworking it now, I am also heartened by the improvement in my writing and the maturing of my voice over the last seven years.
Having focused on contemporary novels over the last decade, I'm also discovering the delights of writing a book set many centuries ago, in this case, in the 13th century. There's a certain satisfaction in creating characters who lived a different way, wore different clothes, ate different foods and held different beliefs. And, of course, writing a historical novel requires an element of historical accuracy too, which has to be blended into the timeless story of love and romance. So, as well as doing some serious reading around the period, including Ian Mortimer's wonderful Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, I'm also delving into some historical fiction. Among the books I've enjoyed recently are Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight and The Blacksmith's Wife by the very talented Elizabeth Hobbes and The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, a lovely debut novel by Melissa Oliver, all published by Harlequin Mills and Boon.