Today I’m delighted to welcome on to my blog once again Jen Wilson, author of the fabulous ‘Kindred Spirits‘ series. And guess what? Jen has a new ‘Kindred Spirits’ book out – titled Kindred Spirits: Ephemera. As part of her blog tour for her new release, she’s going to tell us all about how she first came across her leading man….
Me and Richard III…
By Jennifer C. Wilson
Last November, at a talk in York Library [to launch the anthology Right Trusty & Well Beloved…], I joked that Richard III is my wooden mouse, referring to the wood-worker Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson (1896-1955), who always incorporated a small wooden mouse into his projects. So far, Richard III has featured, or been referred to, in almost everything I’ve written. I even rewrote my historical romance, The Raided Heart, to fit him in when the words weren’t flowing. The result? The words didn’t stop.
It’s no surprise then, that Richard appears in around half the stories in Kindred Spirits: Ephemera.
I can’t put my finger on the exact point I became a Ricardian. I was obsessed with the Tudors, reading as much fact and fiction I could get my hands on, and became entirely immersed in the period. After a while, I felt I had ‘finished’ the Tudors (not really, of course, when is reading on an era ever done?), but had never really found history post-1600 as fascinating, so decided to go backwards instead. That’s when I met the Plantagenets.
I’d never seen or read Shakespeare’s ‘version’ of Richard’s life, but now I started to read everything, and found myself strangely drawn to this maligned monarch. I think for me, it was the Macbeth similarity – two historical characters, entirely (and unfairly) re-shaped by Shakespeare, into these murderous monsters. I realised I had to write about Richard III, but finding a ‘way in’ proved harder than I imagined.
The break-through came when I came across a competition for a poem about ghosts in Writing Magazine, and got hooked on the idea of what the spirits of Richard III and Anne Boleyn would have in common. The poem never went anywhere, the but the idea didn’t go away, and during NaNoWriMo 2013, became Kindred Spirits: Tower of London. This was my way in, and I grabbed it. Throw into the mix the incredible luck of winning a place in the public ballot to be a part of the reburial services for his body in 2015, and my pen just did not leave the paper.
Suddenly, I had found my muse.
Richard III truly is a wonderful historical character for writers to get their teeth into, and I know I am one of a huge number of writers who have found him an inspiration over the years, either looking to help change the public opinion on him (a battle which I think is heading towards a pretty decisive victory, happily), or just delve into the world of the Wars of the Roses in general, with the messy, entangled and confusing family relationships. Richard himself married the widow of the former heir to the throne, the son of Henry VI, showing just how frequently sides could be changed over the course of events. And the period has, of course, given us one of the most notorious and debated mysteries in British history – the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower. My personal belief is that this was orchestrated by Margaret Beaufort, to help clear the path to the throne for her son, Henry Tudor, who subsequently became Henry VII after the Battle of Bosworth, but at the end of the day, I am also fairly confident that whoever was responsible, we are now highly unlikely to know the absolute truth. Too much time has passed, and if it was an intrigue then, it isn’t going to have become clearer now, so many centuries later. Perhaps that is part of the appeal; after all, if there’s one thing for sure, there’s nothing quite so interesting as a murder mystery…
I think what I love most about being a Ricardian writer is being part of the wonderfully friendly and supportive community at the heart of it. We may all write very differently, and have differing opinions on some aspects, but get us all in a room together, and there’s never any shortage of things to talk about! Oddly enough, Richard doesn’t (yet) feature in my current WIP, but I don’t stray from the world of Kindred Spirits for too long at a time, and I’m confident he’ll be back soon!
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera
by Jennifer C. Wilson
The afterlife is alive with possibility…
In this collection of stories, we follow kings and queens as they make important (and history-defying) visits, watch a football game featuring the foulest of fouls, and meet a host of new spirits-in-residence across the British Isles and beyond.
Be transported to ancient ruins, a world-famous cemetery, and a new cathedral, and catch up with old friends – and enemies.
Because when the dead outnumber the living and start to travel, the adventures really do begin.
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera is a charming collection of stories about your favourite ghosts!
Included short- stories are
Kindred Spirits: St Paul’s Cathedral
Kindred Spirits: Jailbreak
Kindred Spirits: Carlisle Castle
Kindred Spirits: The Sisterhood of Hampton Court Palace
Kindred Spirits: Leicester – Return of the King
Kindred Spirits: The Jewel of the Wall
Kindred Spirits: Eurostar
Kindred Spirits: Père Lachaise
Kindred Spirits: York, Revisited
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera is available from:
Jennifer C. Wilson
Jennifer C. Wilson stalks dead people (usually monarchs, mostly Mary Queen of Scots and Richard III). Inspired by childhood visits to as many castles and historical sites her parents could find, and losing herself in their stories (not to mention quote often the castles themselves!), at least now her daydreams make it onto the page.
After returning to the north-east of England for work, she joined a creative writing class, and has been filling notebooks ever since. Jennifer won North Tyneside Libraries’ Story Tyne short story competition in 2014, and in 2015, her debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Books. The full series was re-released by Darkstroke in January 2020.
Jennifer is a founder and host of the award-winning North Tyneside Writers’ Circle, and has been running writing workshops in North Tyneside since 2015. She also publishes historical fiction novels with Ocelot Press. She lives in Whitley Bay, and is very proud of her two-inch view of the North Sea.
You can connect with Jennifer online: Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Instagram • Amazon
Many thanks to Mary Anne Yarde of the Coffee Pot Book Club for arranging the blog tour.
Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK).
Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:
My Twitter handle and Matthew Wansford’s
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