This book was entered into the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards and received some good comments from the judge. The prime question is typed below in its entirety.
“What did you like best about this book?
A great deal of historical research obviously went into this book in order to blend characters, plot and setting, and I think the effort paid off for the author. I especially liked the historical notes at the end of the book, as well as the reading list. It shows me that the author knows his [sic] audience and opts to entertain as well as educate, which is ideal for readership of this age. In addition, the choice to write in first person served the storyline and character development well. The vocabulary works well for the reader demographic, while still challenging them slightly.”
Why did they not just negotiate? Why did they not just have a battle? Why go to the trouble of building such thick walls which may or may not ever be attacked?
These are tough questions. The answers have to do with cultural ways of thinking.
The ancient Greeks did not build tall walls around their homes. The ancient Romans only built wooden walls around forts on the Northern edges of the empire. Saxons built wooden walls around settlements.
Normans, however, liked to lay sieges and defend against them. It was how they thought about land that made them do this.
It was how they thought about the value of someone’s word that made them reluctant to negotiate for land.
For more info on how the Normans thought differently than the empires which had conquered before them, you can find several good books at your local library.
There will be a hiccup in the online ordering of this novel in late September, due to something the publisher needed to get put right. Hopefully, it will be orderable again in a week or two. Thanks for your patience.
Someone recently asked me if I was writing another novel about these characters in Bridgnorth. The answer was no.
This siege was the most exciting and only story-worthy event that happened in their lifetimes (except Wulfstan and Sir Jehann). So they are not likely to appear in historical novels that I plan on writing.
Could I change my mind? Of course. But am I likely to change my mind? No. The only character that might possibly be in another one of my novels is Wulfstan, as a far younger man. I do plan to write more novels in the Saxon period, but before the Normans arrived.
Have you ever wondered why teachers want you to use novels for book reports and non-fiction books for history reports?
If the writer of the historical novel has done a lot of research, why can’t you use their novel instead of a non-fiction book?
The answer is the plot. A novel writer obeys the needs of the plot. Details can be changed or imagined as necessary if that detail will allow or disallow the characters to do something in the novel.
However, a writer of non-fiction historical books obeys the thesis (the one point he/she wants to make about that time period). So he/she can’t change details and can never imagine them. The writer has to present all the details that will help prove the point.
In “Precious Norman Honor” I did my best to use historically accurate details, though a few times I did have to leave things out. A few other times I imagined details because I could not find out how such-and-such was done from the non-fiction books.
Generally, girls and women did not have a paying job in 12th century England. They worked a lot, but rarely for wages. They helped with the family farm or fishing.
Boys were often trained to the work that their father did. The son of a farmer would become a farmer, the son of a cooper would become a cooper, etc.
The boys would learn the trade by working alongside their father and perhaps by lessons from others in the trade. The guild system with apprenticeships was not yet regulated and popular in this century.
The largest exception was priests, nuns and monks. Their families gave them to the Church as children or teens. They were then schooled and accepted into an Order.
Here’s a link to the 5 Star review from the Midwest Book Review.