Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.
Congratulations to four of WWK’s bloggers whose books were released in the last two months. Look for Jim Jackson’s second Seamus McCree novel, Cabin Fever; Linda Rodriguez's new Skeet Bannion mystery, Every Hidden Fear; KM Rockwood's new Jesse Damon novel, Brothers in Crime; and Gloria Alden's third Catherine Jewell Mystery, Ladies of the Garden Club. All of the novels are available at bookstores in print and ebook.
Paula Gail Benson's short story "Confidence in the Family" is featured in the Mystery Times Ten 2013 anthology, which can be bought at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Times-2013-Linda-Browning/dp/0984203583/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1387240857&sr=8-2
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Guest Blog: Jeri Westerson Interview Part II
E.B.D.: How do you research daily life in the fourteenth century?
Jeri: I have this one wonderful book called Chaucer’s London and it’s like a travel guide for time travelers. It tells me what was going on on each street and how the various levels of society interacted. There is also separate research into the various occupations, guilds, morality, and beliefs, because although medieval people thought like us in many ways, in many more ways they do not think like us at all. There is a lot of information out there, especially with the Internet. But a cautionary note about that. Any old website can provide information but is it correct? See if they have a bibliography and then do some back up research the old-fashioned way.
E.B.D: Do you ever find it hard writing about the sexism and cast system of medieval times? I’d have a hard time not making some cryptic editorial comment, not done, of course, but it would frustrate me.
Jeri: These are different people in a different era. We can’t make judgments on them anymore than we can do so on people in other countries or those who worship different from us. Based on their experience of the world they did the best they could. It’s all in context.
People mistakenly call the early Middle Ages the “Dark Ages” but that is an incorrect moniker. There were a lot of innovations just getting off the ground in this period (buttons and button holes, paper, printing press, optical lenses) and it would be a mistake to think of these people as backwards. Just think what people will be thinking about us six hundred years from now. Besides, it’s part of the challenge to embrace Crispin’s prejudices and make them my own, putting myself in his shoes. It’s like an actor getting into character. What motivates him to do the things he has to do? What in his background makes him feel the way he does and what could make him change his mind in the story?
E.B.D.: Have you spent time in London, the setting for your Crispin Guest novels?
Jeri: I have been to London but it was many years ago. And the London of Crispin’s era no longer exists anyway. London had a few big fires between then and now, the great Fire of London in 1666, for instance, that pretty much took out most of it. There are a few structures still from an earlier period, most notably the Tower of London built by William the Conqueror. Westminster Hall is the only remaining structure from King Richard II’s time. It was part of the palace. The Parliament buildings now cover that footprint.
But I have wonderful copies of maps of London from the early fourteenth century and the sixteenth century and taken together, they give me a pretty good picture of London in 1384. I even have street names and info on which church or guildhouse was where. There is a lot of documentation about London.
E.B.D.: Do you ever think that your readers might benefit from a dictionary of medieval terms? From the excerpt provided on www.jeriwesterson.com from The Demon’s Parchment, I’m still trying to figure out what a “solar” is?
Jeri: In the back of each book is a glossary and I try to cover as many as those terms as I can. I’ve been to book clubs and they tell me, “More glossary!” so I’m trying to accommodate.
And by the way, a solar is a room in a house where the family gathers to share one another’s company, as opposed to the more public parlor where business might be conducted. Think of it as the family room or den.
E.B.D.: You were recently interviewed by Channel 32, the Pasadena/L.A. market about your books. How did the TV interview go? Had you ever appeared on TV before? Do you think that it is a good medium for a novelist?
Jeri: It went great! I was on with other Sisters in Crime LA members Ashley Ream and Eric Stone. I’d never been on TV before. They had a very small studio with several cameras and we had a very relaxed discussion between the four of us (including the interviewer) about the benefits of Sisters in Crime and our individual books and careers. I don’t know how many people watched it or if it will translate to sales, but I hope so. Any kind of exposure is a good thing for a novelist. One hopes people watching will be intrigued enough by me and my work to want to buy a book. Our host said it was one of the best shows she had ever done. I got a DVD of it and have yet to watch it but it will soon be up on my website.
E.B.D.: How do you possibly have time to maintain three websites, write new novels and promote your books and other projects?
Jeri: It’s part of the deal when you are in this business. I knew going in that it would require all this other time and expense to get noticed. It’s pretty relentless. The website doesn’t change too much except to update my appearance schedule.
My blog http://www.getting-medieval.com/ takes more time as I have articles on history and the book biz and all that must be researched…unless I go off on a rant. I try not to do that. I like it to read like a magazine with a whole variety of articles and images to look at.
Crispin’s blog, www.CrispinGuest.com is another matter. I try to only post once a month. It’s just a bridge for readers between books so they can keep up with the character to see how he’s doing, but it’s tough writing posts because I can’t write spoilers and I can’t get too far ahead of the book that’s currently out, so they end up being sort of general, everyday stuff. But there is a Mother’s Day post, too. :)
Crispin also has a Myspace page and a Facebook page but I do the Twittering.
E.B.D.: Jeri has several pets, one of which is a tortoise. While spending all those months in hibernation, do you ever have to dust your tortoise?
Jeri: I have a twelve-year-old desert tortoise that we got right out of the egg. We got her from a mating pair that someone owned. Domestic desert tortoises are not allowed to be let loose in the wild (they can give diseases to wild tortoises and wild tortoises can give them diseases) and you cannot sell them so you must give them away.
Her name is Harley, like the motorcycle, though she’s considerably quieter…and slower. When winter is around the corner, she lets us know by not eating and pooping like mad. She gets lethargic (yes, we can tell even though she’s a turtle) and by that we know it’s time to put her in a box and stick her in a closet until spring. Ah, if only you could do that with children.
But because she is in a box, she doesn’t really get dusty.
E.B.D: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Jeri. The Demon's Parchment, Jeri's latest book will be released on October 12, 2010.