Today Jennifer C. Wilson stops by with her latest release Kindred Spirits: York. We have an interview feature for you to enjoy too.
Jennifer C. Wilson
Jennifer C. Wilson is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history and historical fiction whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots on childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III). Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east of England for work reignited her pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since.
In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and has been working on a number of projects since, including co-hosting the North Tyneside Writers’ Circle. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and her timeslip novella, The Last Plantagenet?, by Ocelot Press.
She lives in North Tyneside, and is very proud of her approximately 2-inch view of the North Sea.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Kindred Spirits: York is the fourth in the Kindred Spirits series, following the ghosts of historical characters in contemporary settings. The previous books in the series have been set in the Tower of London, Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and Westminster Abbey, and the series features a range of royals, nobles and historical celebrities. This time around, we’ve got Dick Turpin, Harry Hotspur, Guy Fawkes, a host of Romans and Vikings, and plenty more.
In York, there were so many characters who could get involved, through all the city’s periods of history, it was a great one to write.
Who would your book be perfect for?
I’ve had feedback that historical fiction readers will enjoy them, but you definitely don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy them. The books are all set in the present day, and are more about the relationships between the historical characters, rather than the history itself.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
That has to be my very first leading man, Richard III. I first wrote about him in Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, and he’s featured in most of the series since. I had been trying to write about Richard III for so long, but couldn’t find my way ‘in’ at all, until the Kindred Spirits idea came to me. He makes an appearance in Kindred Spirits: York too, as I couldn’t not include him in a book about a city which was important to him.
What inspired you to the write the book?
After writing Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey, I was looking for a new location, and thought I would like to write about somewhere closer to home. York has such a thriving history, across so many interesting periods, as well as a good range of ghostly stories already, so it seemed an obvious choice. The more research I did, the more I found that I was keen to write about, as well as new locations that I found during my reading. Places like St Margaret’s Chapel on the Shambles, or the Bar Convent, as well as finally getting around to visiting the Richard III and Henry VII Experiences.
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
The photo I’ve attached was taken by my mum as myself and my Dad wandered around the Forum in Rome. I’ve wanted to go back for years, after a day trip during a writing retreat back in 2014. It’s an amazing city, and I loved being amongst so much history. Within the Forum, there’s obviously a lot of ancient Roman history, but there’s also a beautiful grotto, as part of a wider complex, built by the Farnese family, the country villa of which I visited during that first writing retreat.
I didn’t realise Mum had taken it, but I do really like the light in it, and the fact that you cannot really see many other people in it.
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
I think that would be the publication of my second novel, Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile. Even having had one novel published, it still felt a bit like a fluke, as though I had just been incredibly lucky. Having my second accepted made me feel like I could genuinely be a writer, it wasn’t just a one-off.
Which ghosts might they want to meet in the future? I love the Kindred Spirits series, and am playing with lots of ideas, but it’s always good to know what might be of interest to people who have read the series so far.
Do you have any questions for your readers?
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory. I wasn’t interested in Henry VIII and his many wives, or the Tudors at all, until a colleague made me read her copy. I was immediately hooked, and from then on, just kept reading and reading, fiction and non-fiction, until I felt I had ‘finished’ the Tudors, and began working backwards. That’s when I discovered the Plantagenets, and of course, Richard III.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently rewriting an old project, The Raided Heart, a piece of historical fiction set in the world of the border reivers. It’s an adventure romance, which I’ve had the plot of in my mind since I was a teen, and it’s exciting to finally be letting it see the light of day.
Kindred Spirits: York by Jennifer C. Wilson
In the ancient city of York, something sinister is stirring…
What do a highwayman, an infamous traitor, and two hardened soldiers have in common? Centuries of friendship, a duty to the town, and a sense of mischief – until they realise that someone is trying to bring chaos to their home.
Joining forces with local Vikings, the four friends keep an eye on the situation, but then, disaster strikes.
Can peace be restored both inside and out of the city walls?
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