Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing, Writing, Researching, Researching

These days I'm working on 3 different stories, hopping between them.  The first is a medieval, with a Scottish hero!   Oh, the research to come.  :)

The second is a super-hot novella set in Elizabethan Ireland, titled CLAIMING HER.  I was going to title it CLAIMING KATARINA, but that seems like a lot of syllables for a cover.  So "Her" it became. 

The 'her' being Katarina, (you guessed that, didn't you?).  The 'him' is Aodh Mac Con Rardove.  Aodh, son of the Hound of Rardove.

(Readers of The Irish Warrior will recognize the name Rardove, yes?)

This story has been require some (fun) research.  The Elizabethan era was a fascinating mix of the medieval and the more modern.  It always seemed to shine brightly out of the past, an era of great advancements in culture and the arts and sciences, from playhouses to architecture.   The best of both worlds.

But of course, such an overlap also had the worst of both worlds.  

Bull- and bear-baiting were still considered great entertainment.  In fact, bull-baiting was required--required.  You could be fined if you killed a bull without bating it first.  (!!!!)  

Workhouses for the poor were set up by the government, which, while having all sorts of negative connotations nowadays, filled a void in the community.  After the Reformation, the role of the Church in such duties (and of the community as a whole) declined significantly.  

Adventurous, vicious and exploitative explorations into of new worlds were going on aplenty.   Religious intolerance and oppression was everywhere, and like most things that are gripped too tightly, more and more people ran between the cracks like grains of sand, into various denominations and belief systems that disdained one another with vicious glee.   Unless you were an atheist, of course.  Then everyone hated you. Atheism was equivalent to treason.

This isn't to say there weren't gorgeous advances.  John Dee (the Queen's astrologer) invented an early robot.  Pencils, pocket watches, compound microscopes (!!!) and flush toilets were invented.  Mechanical clocks had been around for centuries, but now they were able to chime.  Fine goods were flooding into towns and cities and you could get almost anything your heart desired (if you could afford it.  If there wasn't a plague going on.  Which there often was.)   Spices were more abundant than ever, and fine fabrics were dyed and laced and stitched to perfection.  

All this finery in apparel had a dark side though.  All those layers of material made for some unpleasant odors, much worse than body odor of a man who has been working all day.  Even if he didn't take a full bath at night, he wiped himself down regularly, you better believe it, armpits to groin.  In the Elizabethan era, I think this was less common.  Sweating inside all those layers?  Yum, right?  Covering it all up with perfumes?  Double yum.  And if the hundred people around you are doing the same thing...?  Can't even count the yums.  

But, of course, this was less the case out in Ireland, out beyond The Pale, out where the winds blew against nothing but hills and castle walls, and the nights were endlessly dark, broken only by fires in your hall and high along your rampart walls.  And you knew, you always knew, the wild Irishry were out there, just beyond your crumbling gates.  

And what if one got through . . .?

Katarina of Rardove is about to find out.

You can read an except of Katarina and Aodh Mac Con Rardove's explosive first meeting here:

And Now You!
I'd love to hear your impressions/thoughts/knowledge about the Elizabethan era.  Do you feel an affinity for it?  Do you have other favorite eras?  

Or, if you're indifferent to the era, you can just let me know what you thought of the excerpt.  :)


Kim Castillo said...

Kris Kennedy is the best writer EVER!

Anonymous said...

Kris, you are my favorite author. You always write your stories with intense passion. You make us travel through time with your colorful characters.
I can not wait to read it. Read the except and loved it! Bravo!
Nicole Laverdure, Québec

Kris Kennedy said...

Thank-you so much for your enthusiasm and appreciation, Nicole!!