The publication at the beginning of May of the THIRD MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE, De Bohun’s Destiny, marks a turning point in my writing journey. For I’m publishing this book in a different way from the first two Chronicles. To explain…
Fortune’s Wheel and A Woman’s Lot were both published by SilverWood Books, and they did a great job. I am very, very grateful to the team at SilverWood for setting me on the road to publication, because I am certain that I would not now be a published author if it hadn’t been for them. Two and a half years ago, when Fortune’s Wheel was finished and I wanted to have it published, I was so frightened of the unknown world of publishing that I needed someone to hold my hand through the process. And SilverWood provided that hand, as well as a great deal of advice and expertise. Then, last year, when A Woman’s Lot was ready, I went with them again, because it was the easiest thing to do and I knew they would produce a great result.
However, for more than a year, I have also been reading and learning about how to go it alone, to handle much more of the publishing process myself. I thought it would be an exciting thing to do. And so, for De Bohun’s Destiny, I decided to be really brave and embark on a new publishing adventure. I make it sound as if I’m being terribly intrepid and daring, but of course hundreds of authors do publish themselves, and I’m in touch with many of them through social media… But for me it is a new adventure, and I am both scared and excited…
Of course, I can’t do absolutely everything myself. I still have my professional editor, and I’ve found a wonderful cover designer who is very experienced in designing stunning covers for historical fiction.
So, De Bohun’s Destiny is being published under my own new imprint, Riverdown Books…
If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, you may have already seen the cover for the De Bohun’s Destiny, which I’ve revealed in advance of the book’s publication in a couple of weeks’ time.
But, if you haven’t seen the cover already, here it is!
If you are familiar with the current covers of Fortune’s Wheel and A Woman’s Lot, you’ll realise that this new cover is very different! The existing covers are lovely, but for the new book I wanted to try a different cover style. I think the new cover works very well – I hope you think so too!
The covers of Fortune’s Wheel and A Woman’s Lot have also been redesigned to match – look out on social media for a reveal of those two covers before too long.
When I publish De Bohun’s Destiny in May, I’m publishing only the Kindle version and therefore only on Amazon. Similarly when I reissue Fortune’s Wheel and A Woman’s Lot (around the same time as De Bohun’s Destiny), with the new-style covers, they will also be in eBook format only.
But, if you prefer to read a “proper” book, you won’t have to wait too long, for I’m going to publish the paperback edition of De Bohun’s Destiny later in the summer, possibly in August. The current paperbacks of Fortune’s Wheel and A Woman’s Lot will remain available until then, when I will also reissue the paperbacks with the new style of covers.
The new cover style is also going to be carried through into my branding, so it will appear, for example, on my website, and on my Facebook and Twitter pages. How quickly that will all happen I am not sure – but soon, I hope!
I am actually launching De Bohun’s Destiny on 6th May, with a week-long online Book Tour of reviews and guest posts organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. I will post links to the Tour on Facebook and Twitter, so do look out for them, so that you can discover what bloggers think of my new book.
SO WHAT IS DE BOHUN’S DESTINY ABOUT?
I do hope that you are excited as I am about the imminent publication of De Bohun’s Destiny, and that you are looking forward to reading it. But perhaps you’d like to know a little of what it’s about? Here’s the blurb that will go up on Amazon and, eventually, on the back of the paperback:
How can you uphold a lie when you know it might destroy your family?
It is 1356, seven years since the Black Death ravaged Meonbridge, turning society upside down. Margaret, Lady de Bohun, is horrified when her husband lies about their grandson Dickon’s entitlement to inherit Meonbridge. She knows that Richard lied for the very best of reasons – to safeguard his family and its future – but lying is a sin. Yet she has no option but to maintain her husband’s falsehood…
Margaret’s companion, Matilda Fletcher, decides that the truth about young Dickon’s birth really must be told, if only to Thorkell Boune, the man she’s set her heart on winning. But Matilda’s “honesty” serves only her own interests, and she’s oblivious to the potential for disaster.
For Thorkell won’t scruple to pursue exactly what he wants, by whatever means are necessary, no matter who or what gets in his way…
“A lie told for the best of reasons; the truth told for the worst…”
During drafting, the book’s working title was Truth and Lies. I knew it wouldn’t be called that in the end, because it didn’t fit the “fortune” motif of the Meonbridge Chronicles series. However “Truth and Lies” did give a clue to the theme of the story: the perilous consequences of dissimulation and treachery.
Obviously I’m not going to divulge the story here, but I can say that the characters in De Bohun’s Destiny will become embroiled in deceit, either of their own making or of someone else’s, leading the perpetrators and those unfortunate enough to become caught up in their treacherous webs, into very dangerous waters.
One aspect of the new book that might seem surprising to those who have read the first two is that, despite my previous assertions that the Chronicles would be told in the voices of women because “it was the women’s viewpoints that particularly interested me…”, in De Bohun’s Destiny I’m actually allowing a couple of men to have a voice as well! If you have read Fortune’s Wheel or A Woman’s Lot, you will have met the three principal women characters before, as well as one of the two men. But the other is a “foreigner”, who is certainly up to no good...
Unlike the first two Chronicles, the story of De Bohun’s Destiny is a little more focussed on the lives of the occupants of Meonbridge’s manor house – the De Bohuns – rather than those of their tenants. Having said that, if trouble comes to the master, it is almost bound to affect his servants too…
The story starts in 1356, two years after the end of A Woman’s Lot, and so seven years after the Black Death had ravaged Meonbridge and the whole of England. Meonbridge has settled back into a relatively easy-going balance of tension and harmony. Despite the devastation caused by the plague and the resulting huge loss of population, somehow Meonbridge seems to have more or less recovered its prosperity. And the estate, along with Sir Richard de Bohun’s other demesnes across the south of England, appears to be a prize worth winning, by fair means or by foul, if it were ever to become available…
I think it is commonly believed that the Middle Ages were a particularly lawless time, though in practice that probably isn’t true. Mediaeval society was highly regulated: laws governed all sorts of non-criminal things such as dress, food, sex and worship, as well as crime. Punishments were in theory severe. If you’ve read A Woman’s Lot, you will have seen mediaeval punishment in action. But, even if death could be the penalty for a crime, unless the crime was really heinous, some sort of financial penalty was often imposed instead of physical punishment, partly because it helped to boost the king’s war coffers.
But of course you could only be punished if you were brought to court and I can imagine that, then, as now, there were plenty of people, of every class and status, who chose to take the law into their own hands in order to obtain what wasn’t legally theirs by whatever means they had at their disposal. The “foreigner” I mentioned earlier comes from Herefordshire, close to the border with Wales, where tensions between the Welsh and the English had been going on for centuries. By the fourteenth century, the battles between the English king and the Welsh princes had, I think, more or less settled down. But I am happy to imagine – and I am doing so – that a few unscrupulous and predatory men (as they have always done and still do, everywhere) might well, under cover of the relative isolation of those regions, continue the old ways of sporadic border raiding, in order to grab for themselves more land, more livestock and more money. Such men wouldn’t necessarily scruple about causing bloodshed, in the expectation that, mostly, they’d get away with it. For such men could be powerful, and might find ways of avoiding justice. The foreigner, then, is accustomed to this lawless way of life, and won’t object to taking the same approach when a really attractive prize is in the offing.
I won’t say any more…
De Bohun’s Destiny might be a somewhat different type of story from the first two Chronicles, but many of the same characters will play their part, and I will still be drawing another intimate picture of life in Meonbridge and beyond. I hope you think it sounds intriguing!
Look out for another blog post next week and an extract from De Bohun’s Destiny…
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