Sunday, August 31, 2014

Knights Templar: Fact and Fiction

I learned about the fiction of Dominic Selwood by reading a piece of riveting nonfiction--an article in the Daily Telegraph titled "How a Protestant Spin Machine Hid the Truth About the English Reformation." (Read it here.) In the nearly 10 years I've been researching England's break from Rome, the backdrop to my historical thrillers, I'd come to many of the same conclusions about Henry VIII and Cromwell's actual agenda as this writer. I "etroduced" myself on twitter, and soon learned that apart from being a historian and former criminal solicitor, Dominic too was writing fiction. His thriller, set in modern times, is called The Sword of Moses.

To read my interview with Dominic, go here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Medmenham Abbey: Heaven and Hell

In my blog post for English Historical Fiction Authors, I researched an abbey ruin like no other: Medmenham, a Cistercian community in Buckinghamshire.

Many people have vaguely heard of a Hellfire Club. The one most written about was formed by a rich English aristocrat, Sir Francis Dashwood, and met in the abbey he'd leased in the 18th century. He wanted privacy for his various misdeeds, whether just drunken silliness or actual depravity is up for debate.

Francis Dashwood, by Hogarth

But before it was a meeting place for the "Monks of Medmenham," it was an actual monastery, founded on lands granted by a very different sort of aristocrat, a medieval heiress. To learn about the history of this fascinating place, go here: