Fiction and Creative Writing

Historical fiction

In the 11th century, Yorkshire was invaded many times.
11th century Yorkshire was a war-zone.

I began writing fiction in 2016, inspired by the many people I met while writing for Yorkshire’s Dalesman.

People I met spoke of the Harrying of the North, of the vibrant, internationally-connected city of Jorvik, and of the origins of Yorkshire’s language, a mixture of Old English and Old Norse.

I began to imagine, what must it have been like to live in those times?

And, I thought  – I’ll bring it all back to life.  I’ll write a historical novel!

I plunged in – to discover that writing a novel is far more complex than a 3-page magazine feature.

I had much to learn – so I set out on a new adventure.

Creative Writing

I joined a local writing group, Thirsk Write Now. It’s a friendly, supportive group, where everyone is encouraged to get creative. Each story I wrote for them taught me something about style, about content, about pacing. And, most of all, about creating characters.

I’ve had some of my short stories published, details on my published page.

I worked on novel-writing.  I’m particulary enthused by historical fiction set in 11th century Yorkshire. I believe it’s an important period, that set the scene for the North-South divide we see today.

I’ve written four novels to date, and the one I’m most pleased with is Bladesmith.   Set against the Harrying of the North, it tells of Gudrid, an 11th century village blacksmith’s daughter who dreams of crafting the world’s finest, most desirable swords.  But when William the Conqueror decides to crush English resistance, Gudrid sees the swords she coveted deal death.  She and her six-year old sister escape into the wild, but how can Gudrid keep them alive amidst snow, hunger and marauding armies?

While I wait for Gudrid to find a home with agent and publisher, I have begun The Healer.  Again in 11th century Yorkshire, Frida, a healer, tends hundreds of men injured in the battle of Fulford. Widowed by the battle, she goes home to raise her young son alone.  But a new invader comes: William the Conqueror, with a new policy to ‘blend the races under his jurisdiction’.  Forced to marry a foreigner whose language she cannot even speak, how far will Frida go to regain her independence?

Yorkshire roses

My other novel is completely different: set around the Great War of 1914-18, it’s a romance that grew from a short story I wrote for Thirsk Write Now. My companions loved my character so much, they wanted to hear more about her. Felicity is a Yorkshire heiress, sent home from boarding school to make a suitable marriage. But who decides what is ‘suitable’?