A conversation with Historical Fiction author, Jennifer C. Wilson
Hello! I’m Jen, writing under Jennifer C. Wilson (I’ve always been very proud of my ‘C’!), in the genre of historical fiction, and paranormal historical fiction.
Hi Jen, it is so great to have you back on the blog. I have always been intrigued by your stories. What inspired you to write Kindred Spirits: York?
Kindred Spirits: York is the fourth of the Kindred Spirits series, so in terms of overall inspiration, it’s the continuation of a world I’ve been writing since 2013, the first having been published in 2015. In terms of York specifically, I wanted to write a novel set closer to home, and in a location I knew well again. York is a city I’ve been visiting since I was a child, so I know the main settings, but it was great fun getting to know places I had never even heard of.
|Barley Hall — York.|
York is one of my favourite cities as well. Did you face many challenges with regards to researching for your series?
The Kindred Spirits series have always been challenging from a research perspective, due to the concept of characters from almost any period of history all ‘mucking in’ together. In York, I’ve got Romans rubbing shoulders with Vikings, a Plantagenet Duke, and a highwayman, so there was quite a bit of reading to do. Having said that, with the series being set in the modern day, it does mean I can get away with a few anachronisms. I remember writing a scene for Book One where Anne Boleyn rolled her eyes, replying to an insult with ‘whatever’. I think though, given that all my characters are ghosts, and that some have been dead (and together) for centuries, then of course they’re going to pick up some bits of modern language and slang. Not that I have them going around speaking in text-speak, and I have tried to stay true in terms of historical voices, but it does take the pressure off. And after all, somebody like Anne Boleyn was, in her own way, a very modern character, so she fits in to the modern time quite nicely.
As for York itself, the majority of my research was to visit the various locations. I really enjoy getting under the skin of a place, whether I’ve been there a dozen times before, or never in my life.
I love the way there are so many characters in your book. Historical Fiction is a very competitive field. Can you tell us three things that set your noels apart?
That’s a tricky one. But I think I would go for:
•It’s only a quasi-historical fiction novel, perhaps? The ghosts of historical characters, in contemporary settings, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not completely knowledgeable in any particular era.
• I get to ‘mix and match’ my people and settings. This time, for example, we have Harry Hotspur settling down for a chat with Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin in Barley Hall. This is the bit I really enjoy, if I’m honest, thinking about which historical characters will or will not get on – where friendships will form, or fireworks fly!
• I like to think they’re a
light-hearted approach to historical fiction. Not that most historical fiction
is overly, or too serious, but there are often big issues being included. With
the Kindred Spirits series books, that hasn’t really been the case, and hopefully,
that makes them a nice, easy and fun read for people.
One last question, can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I’m working a project very close to my heart at the moment: The Raided Heart. It’s a historical romantic adventure, set in the world of the border reivers, on the Anglo-Scottish border, and one which I wrote the first draft of when I was just a teen. Clearly, the quality back then wasn’t particularly high, but the core plot is there, and I’m happy with it, so I’m reworking that, with the aim of self-publishing it later in 2019, all being well.
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for taking the time out to chat with us.
Scroll down to find out more about Kindred Spirits: York
Kindred Spirits: York
In the ancient city of York, something sinister is stirring...
What do a highwayman, an infamous traitor, and two hardened soldiers have in common? Centuries of friendship, a duty to the town, and a sense of mischief – until they realise that someone is trying to bring chaos to their home.
Joining forces with local Vikings, the four friends keep an eye on the situation, but then, disaster strikes.
Can peace be restored both inside and out of the city walls?
Jennifer C. Wilson
Jennifer C. Wilson is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history and historical fiction whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots on childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III). Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east of England for work reignited her pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since.
In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and has been working on a number of projects since, including co-hosting the North Tyneside Writers’ Circle. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and her timeslip novella, The Last Plantagenet?, by Ocelot Press.
She lives in North Tyneside, and is very proud of her approximately 2-inch view of the North Sea.