Saturday, 1 March 2014

Researching My Next Book


Well, it's almost three months now since my book Future Confronted was published. It has been some what of a journey I have to say. The learning experience is something I wouldn't have missed, it has been a real eye opener, what with the proof-reading, and the copy-editing. I have had some lovely 5 star reviews on which have touched my heart, and I thank all those who took the time to write one. I am hoping to get my book into libraries, and because I have had some great feedback on the book, I think it will serve me well, and I look forward to seeing it on the non-fiction shelves.


More than two years before I finished Future Confronted, I had started researching a story which I longed to write, one mainly set in Italy during the 15th century, but included a long journey. I love this era in Italian history, it's so varied, so interesting not only politically, but with the church and with art. I had a germ of an idea grow while I was daydreaming looking from my bedroom window out across the sea. The boats in the marina were bobbing up and down, swaying from side to side in the wind, their ropes clanking on the masts. Before I knew it, I had an outline in my head which tucked itself away for a rainy day. The idea surfaced, and I tinkered with it, and tucked it away again while I got on with Rob's story.


So, I'm no longer daydreaming about this long thought of novel, I'm doing more research, a most enthralling process. I love making lists about my research, so there's a list for serious notes, one for doing spider-grams for my story-line, one for researching names, architects of the time, the 'everydayness' of the period. Working out what these people in my imagination would be eating, drinking, laughing about is taking over my thoughts.

Rosslyn Chapel
My novel will be featuring The Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin Glen, Scotland, St. Giles' Kirk, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Chichester Cathedral in Chichester, West Sussex, England, Canterbury Catherdral, Kent, England, and the Basilica Santa Maria del Fiori, in Florence, Italy. Beautiful buildings all. Each unique, with stone work so magnificently tooled, and stained glass windows which demonstrate the ultimate art of story telling. 

St. Giles' Kirk
I have long been fascinated by cathedrals, the messages that their stone work tempts us to unravel. The lives of those who worked on them. How they lived, their families, their fortunes, their misfortunes. The life of the stonemason must have been a really hard and a difficult one. The art and technique of shaping stone into a three-dimensional form is a magnificent gift. To be able to portray one's ideas from mind to paper, from paper to stone, is a process that I have often admired. I have never been to Rosslyn Chapel or St. Giles' Kirk, but I have seen with my own eyes the splendour of the other cathedrals. I will be visiting Scotland later, and will be visiting both the Rosslyn Chapel and St. Giles Kirk, and I am looking forward to it very much.

Chichester Cathedral
The Cathedral at Chichester is just twenty miles from my home. I visit several times a year, because it holds a special place in my heart. A magnificent building standing tall with its now unused bell tower standing off from the main building. The spire can be seen from the bridge that connects Hayling Island, where I live, to the mainland. It stands out like a beacon, as it must have been all those hundreds of years ago when it was first built.

Canterbury Cathedral
In Kent there is the world famous Canterbury Cathedral, the place where Thomas Becket was murdered. A place of pilgrimage for generations. Its magnificence is breathtaking. Its history, although well known, must still hold secrets. There is much literature about Canterbury, the stories, the mysteries, the lives that have been consumed in the building of it.

Basilica Santa Maria del Fiori
Then there is the Basilica Santa Maria del Fiori in Florence, Italy. My word, my word what a wonderful building. So much architectural knowledge in the building of its magnificent dome. The Basilica is so very different from the other cathedrals in Scotland and England. It is an icon of design. It provokes in the imagination the wonder of how it was first conceived. How the impossible became possible. The other cathedrals are magnificent, each in their own very special way; but The Duomo, as it is commonly known, can be recognised from afar, even by those who have never seen it before with their own eyes. Its iconic terracotta brick dome, the largest ever constructed, its Baptistery, and Giotto's Campanile are superb. The coloured stonework and the statues that are placed in and around the walls of the building are staggering in their detail. When I first saw it, I was spellbound, rooted to the spot in awe. The stories of the lives of the people who were instrumental in the construction of the Basilica can only be imagined...the hardship, the sacrifice, the hard labour.

So begins my novel. From here, from my imagination, I will tell the tale of one person who travelled from Scotland to Italy... and when there..... Well now, we will have to wait and see where the story takes us.....for I have no doubt, no doubt at all that even I do not know where that will be....


  1. I love Chichester Cathedral, too. I've only been there once, alas. Also much enjoyed the town, including St. Olave's (which was a bookstore when I visited) and the Market Cross. I would like to return and see the Roman wall.

  2. Wonderful post, Louise! Such fantastic places you will be writing about. xx

  3. Louise, I share your fascination with cathedrals. I visited St Giles' Kirk and Rosslyn Chapel on a trip to Britain a few years ago and found them really beautiful. What a lovely basis for a novel! Best wishes.

  4. How very exciting, and I am very excited for you. Can't wait to read this when it finally arrives.