My intent is to allow the reader to walk down the lanes of old London (before it burned to the ground in the Great Fire of 1666) and feel as if you are actually there. You can smell and touch the nuances of London. You'll know what it's like to work your way through the City and its the conflicting laws where religion played in important part of everyday life. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and then there's my French Revolution novel.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet My Main Character



I’ve been tagged by Linda Root & Anita Seymour Davison to tell you about the main character in one of my writing projects, but I really can't do that. I finished The Barbers, and my WIP is now just being born. Instead, I'll tell you a little of my 'Plan'...

Back in the day (a Texas colloquialism great grandparents used) I found Samuel Pepys. Upon reading his journal I realized it was a discussion of local mores, slang, and his life saturated in current events that were so minute, so abbreviated, I couldn't make heads nor tails of it. My understanding of the mid-17th century was nil, and what Mr Pepys wrote in his journal felt like jumping into a whirling chasm filled with bits and bobs only the locals of the time understood.

So, I had to learn of what his journals said, i.e., the life of one living in the 17th century who'd endured the English Civil Wars, and the Restoration, the 1st & 2nd Anglo/Dutch Wars, the death of King Charles II and subsequent exile of James II, then of course, the insane Titus Oates escapade.

I studied London City and its Liberties. I packed my library with all sorts of historical texts filled with random pieces of information my heirs will most likely give to used book stores, or the Goodwill. I mean, not many care about the history of beds or shoes and Livery Companies, the microscope Robert Hooke had made, or that he felt veins and capillaries meant something important. 

For The Barbers I found lovely 17th century published texts that helped my story roll along the foggy lanes of London, on medicine and science, even an experiment on a dog. It was soooo exciting.

My Plan, therefore, is to write of the volatile 1660 decade until London burns to the ground. Each novel will take place in London during one year due to the amazing amount of current events. So far, I’ve managed to write the years 1660-1663. 

My birthing project (Chapter 1 is always painful) is of London 1664. That manuscript has yet to take on a personality of its own. In the interim I’ll tell you of The Barbers, and my protagonist, how she deals with life in general.

 What is the name of your character? Is he/or she fictional or a historic person?
My character's name is Celia Barber, a fictional person. She apprenticed as a barber under her father, and enters the guild (Barber-Surgeons), but as a woman she will never be licensed. (There are some documented cases of women holding licenses outside the 7 mile radius of London, but not within the city proper.) Celia shares a shop with her father who snips hair & shaves chins, while she heals. It is against the guild to be a barber and do the work of a surgeon or physican. King Henry VIII separated the barber/surgeon job functions, which weren't often adhered to, but I digress.

When and where is the story set?
The story is set in London 1663.

What should we know about him/her?
Celia Barber is very interested in science and medicine, and she chafes at the restrictions set against women.

As religious strife settles down, the great brains of England begin to explore medicine and science. Celia strives to see a dissection in the Hall of Surgeons, and an experiment in the Royal Society, but her dreams far outreach reality.

Celia's sister works at the Palace of Whitehall and introduces her to Viscount Deeping, who takes an immediate 'shine' to Celia. He enjoys her quest for knowledge, her dreams to see an experiment at the Royal Society. He takes her there as his lackey where Celia is thrilled to meet Robert Hooke, who created so many tools for the scientist, and wrote theses for the physician.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his or her life?
Her mother is narcissistic, and as a toddler ignores Celia. Finally, when she is about three or four, her mother casts Celia to the streets with a pronounced slam of the door. Her father rescues her, but the rejection takes its toll. Celia never trusts anyone; she'd rather keep to the shadows with her thoughts and dreams, which were many, but life intervenes. She loses one brother, than another, and she can't save them.

What is the personal goal of the character?
To heal people the best she can with local herbs and the latest science, but her goal is sidetracked when her impudent sister sees an inkling of treasure, and the intrusive viscount.

Is there a working title for this novel? And can we read more about it?
The title is set in cement, and the work published. The Barbers, a Tale Most Curious & Rare. 

When can we expect the book to be published?
It’s on the cyber shelves as we speak, paperback and ebook, on amazon, almost all countries. 
Many thanks to Linda and Anita for inviting me on this trip of how my historical fiction develops of itself (after tons of research, that is).

Please click on the links below for The Barbers
USA
UK 

For my other novels, see amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Pym/e/B004GILIAS

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