So, what have I been doing all summer, other than the usual? Well, I’ve put my head down in my new writing room, and have nervously sent off the final edits for my historical adult novel about Mary Queen of Scots called FOR MY SINS.
There’s a bit of a story behind this title. It was one of the first novels I ever completed back when I lived in Edinburgh when I was about 24 years of ago – so… about 5 years ago now!!!! I lived in a little bedsit and wrote like fury, visiting all the places covered in the book, and the title I gave it back then in 1990 was FOR MY SINS, same as now. When Fledgling expressed an interest in it last year, I rewrote and revisited a project that I’d always had a soft spot for – despite the fact I had hidden it in a secret drawer for all those years, with the dust and the cobwebs. When I moved house, the typed manuscript moved with me, and so did the ideas.
My premise is that Mary is sitting in a prison cell at the end of her life, stitching her tapestries, while being haunted by the ghosts of her past.
My life is a web on which sorrow and pain stitches itself
she says… among other things, like
I was wrapped in shadow and there were cold, stone flags beneath my feet. I could smell the solid oak, the dust on the air.
What else? I’m nervous about it, hoping the finished version won’t disappoint, and I will be inviting all and sundry to a book launch at some point in the future.
The book starts with this.
“Royal brother, having by God’s will, for my sins I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered much for almost twenty years, I have finally been condemned to death by her and her Estates…
Today, after dining I was advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a common criminal at eight in the morning… The Catholic faith and the assertion of my God-given right to the English throne are the two issues on which I am condemned…”
From the last letter of Mary Queen of Scots,
8 February 1587
In other news, I’ve also been busy writing another children’s novel. (Top secret – can’t discuss the Muse).
And I’m delighted to have been asked to be one of the authors at the UKYA and Children’s Extravaganza in Newcastle on 17th September. We’re going South of the Border – that was a song that my grandmother (who was from near Newcastle) sang while she was painting walls in her house, apparently… back in the 1940s.