Simeon Ireson is an architectural consultant, single and happy, wholly consumed by his search for the identity of an 18th century sculptor, the man he knows only as the Northern Master. When he discovers a cryptic mark engraved on the cathedral memorial, it opens a door; a door to discovery and understanding; a door to an unexpected relationship; a door to another time. In his search to understand its meaning he’ll begin to understand the consequences of love and attraction, betrayal and loss. But as his love for one woman grows, so the demands of another threaten to change his world. As one hides her enigmatic secret, so another asserts her unwelcome claim. As love and passion, pride and tradition collide across time, only one certainty remains; his life can never be the same.
Targeted Age Group:
For me, writing historical fiction is about the challenge of balancing your knowledge of modern-day human emotions and responses with the unknown of imagined events and unfamiliar environments. Our understanding of the past is at best superficial; we can never truly understand the impact that social conditions, physical environment, beliefs and superstitions had on people’s lives. The further we travel back in time, the harder that becomes.
Language too is a challenge. I try to maintain a nuance of the period, without conforming to our perceived understanding of the way people spoke. Thee, thou, verily and forsooth are best avoided, otherwise your writing becomes a kind of pastiche, and can lose credibility. Similarly a misplaced “wow” or “awesome” can inject an unfortunate dose of modernism into our chosen slice of time.
Inevitably the outcome is usually a compromise, but hopefully one that captures a spirit of the place and time, and maintains a degree of authenticity.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Have a firm belief in your own imaginative powers, and express that imagination in as honest a way possible. It’s an old cliché I know, but avoid trying to write like somebody else; try to be yourself, try to find your own distinctive voice. And write in a genre that is both comfortable for you, and inspires you; resist the impulse to write in a particular genre because you hope it will sell better.
And if you start to feel insecure about your abilities, or anticipate reviews with trepidation, keep the wonderful words of Eleanor Roosevelt in the back of your mind, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I grew up in Yorkshire (in the north of England), studied in Birmingham, and have lived in Oxford and Worcestershire most of my adult life. It’s been a life fuelled largely by my passion for the countryside, for history and music, and for the arts and crafts in all their wonderful manifestations.
An early passion for art and literature set me on the road to book collecting, to reading, and to writing.
I write the occasional article for journals, and I’ve recently published my first novel “Stone Ties”, a historical mystery set in and around the beautiful city of Worcester in the 18th century. With the lion’s share of the research completed, I’m around a third of the way into my second novel.What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I first developed my thoughts around “Stone Ties” in the winter of 2009. One day six words planted themselves in my mind, unannounced, one of those strange bathroom moments. Those six words teased and annoyed me; dared me to make sense of them.
“He pressed his face against it.”
Who was he? What was he pressing his face against? And not least, why? This dislocated phrase compelled me to find out, and so the story was born. An old pebble in my pocket, picked up from a beach long ago, helped me on my way.