For me the first of January was deadline time to have a title for the work in progress. For the last year it's been known as Roger and Ida - the names of the protagonists, but obviously that's not what it's going to be called when it arrives in bookseller's catalogues. I had made a few suggestions to my publisher but there was nothing we could agree on. Finally, over the Christmas break, I got out my bible and headed off to the work of Ecclesiasts, Proverbs and the Song of Solomon to see if there was anything there that would fit. Eureka there was. Roger and Ida I now hereby officially name THE TIME OF SINGING. This comes from the lines:
'My beloved speaks and says to me:
'Arise my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth
the time of singing has come.'
Isn't that just beautiful? I have always loved the song of Solomon. It's a beautiful poem. The quote is very appropriate to the novel because when Roger first sets eyes on Ida she is singing, and she loves music. Gardens and orchards feature quite a lot in the novel too. There's also a line from the poem that says: 'Your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses.' Since Ida had an affair with King Henry II before she married Roger Bigod, I felt that this line was synchronicity. I had been let to the right place and I am relieved to have a title to take the novel forward.
I thought I'd begin listing the research books I've been using to write THE TIME OF SINGING.
Perhaps a handful at a time. They won't be in any sort of order - just as they are assembled on the shelf above my PC at the moment. I have an extensive research library but the books I know I'm going to need to refer to, I pull out of the stacks and keep close.
Obviously biographies of the most important personages are important.
The main ones I have used - other than checking out the Dictionary of National biography online are:
The Bigod Family: an investigation into their lands and activities 1086-1306 by Susan Atkin (PHD thesis)
Henry II by W. L. Warren
King John by W. L. Warren
Eleanor of Acquitaine by Marion Meade
Eleanor: April Queen of Aquitaine by Douglas Boyd
Eleanor of Acquitaine and the Four Kings by Amy Kelly
Richard I by John Gillingham
The Bigod Earls of Norfolk in the Thirteenth Century by Marc Morris
William Marshal, Knighthood War and Chivarly 1147-1219
Who's Who in Medieval England by Christopher Tyerman
Next up in a few days the primary sources: