Friday, March 8, 2013

Another Luddite joins the Digital Age

My husband-the-programmer-and-perennial-gadget-lover has called me a Luddite for a long time.  For the non-historian, Luddite refers to the textile workers who were thrown out of work by the invention of machine-driven looms and other devices who violently protested this type of "progress."  Yes, I use a computer all day for work and play, but I don't have a smart phone, my iPod lives on its speaker in my office, and, until today, I never thought about blogging. 

But here we are.  As suggested by my blog's title, I plan to talk about my writing.  I currently have a finished novel that is being shopped around in search of an agent.  It's historical fiction, set in 14th century England during the reign of Edward II.  Isabelle's Confession is the story of his wife.  I first came across her story while I was working on my Ph.D. dissertation, which was an edition and translation of the Anglo-Norman Prose 'Brut,' which is a 14th century manuscript history of England.  At the time I remember thinking, "Hm, that's different," but with a new baby and a thesis to finish she dropped off my radar until Patient Husband and I went to see Braveheart.  Isabelle plays a major (and entirely fictional) role in that film.  When I sketched out the reality to him, PH agreed that truth was stranger and more interesting than fiction, and the spark was struck.

For a long time I wanted to write a scholarly biography of Isabelle, but lacking the time and financial means to travel to Europe to research primary sources I began thinking of how to tell her story in a fictional framework.  I began writing and researching in 2002.  Eight years (yeah, yeah...I work full time) and 177,000 words later, I finished it.  Hopefully soon Isabelle will see the light of day to delight many readers who are aficionados of history, the medieval period, and strong female characters.  She really is one of a kind.

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