So, there I am, reading away at the Chronica Majora and biographies of Simon de Montfort, Eleanor of Provence and the Bigot Earls of Norfolk, and I find my eyes glazing over. I begin to realise that writing a novel about the goings on in Henry III's reign isn't for me at the moment. The research is turning out a plot line that is a bit like 'A day at the office with swords'. The hero's wife is coming over as a female version of Tony Blair and the hero himself, being a sensible chappy most of the time, manages to keep himself hidden in the sticks for long periods of time - except for the moment when he has a hissy fit in parliament at Henry III and the 8 years he spends trying to divorce his wife. Bottom line - it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the warning lights had started to blink and I realised I really did not want to do this.
So, heaving a sigh, I moved to plan B, which really should have been plan A to begin with. This time, a big 'Yessssss' sang from my inner writing barometer. The preliminary research has been going very well indeed, the psychic Akashic Record material is fabulous and I can't wait to get started. And who are the stars of the new project? Well, still Roger of Norfolk, but the second earl who was a contemporary of William Marshal and the man responsible for building Framlingham Castle. He married Ida de Tosney, one of Henry II's concubines and the mother of William Longespee, earl of Salisbury. Like William Marshal, Roger had to fight his way from lower down the food chain. In his case he was fighting his way back, rather than up. His father, Hugh Bigod had taken the side of the Young King in the rebellion of 1173 and in consequence, when he died, Henry used a family inheritance dispute to take away the main Bigod strongholds of Framlingham and Bungay and withhold the title of earl. He never did give it to Roger, who had to wait for Richard to come to the throne before he could regain his lands and his title. Behind the scenes there is one hell of a lot of juicy family conflict that would put any modern soap opera to shame - and it echoes down the generations. An additional bonus will be guest appearances from William Marshal and his family. What's not to like on the author's side?
As some blog readers will know, I use the Akashic Records, sometimes known as Remote Viewing, to augment my research. I did a session with my friend yesterday and here, as a small gift, is her description of Roger of Norfolk's physical features:
'He's got ordinary coloured hair - mousey-gold-brown, with a fringe and wavy bits at the side. It's quite fine and floaty but there's lots of it. High cheekbones, straight, very nice eyebrows, tapering at the ends. His nose has a slight bump in the middle. It isn't thin, quite broad at the base. His eyes are intelligent and sensitive and the colour is grey-blue, but more on the grey side. His lips are wide and fine at the ends like his brows, and they're well proportioned. He has a square chin. I feel those features have become finer and sharper since I saw him when he was younger.'
I think I'm going to enjoy working with him - and with Ida. I was going to say 'but that's another story' but it isn't. It's the same one!
The sketch of Framlingham Castle as it might have appeared in the 13thC is from the book Reconstructing The Past by Alan Sorrell