Red Ned Tudor Mysteries

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Next Big Thing in Tudor England

Greetings my well regarded readers, I hope that all is well with you and yours as we rapidly approach the Yuletide celebrations.  Remember feast and quaff in moderation and if in doubt don’t drive, I’d like to see you all alive and relaxed after the New Year.  Today I have a few announcements before we move on to the body of the blog.  Firstly A very big thank you to fellow Aussie Historical Fiction Author Barbara Gaskin Denvil
for selecting me for The Next Big Thing, a kind of blog style pass the parcel packed full of hidden treasures.
I’m sharing this wonderful experience with several other talent writers so I highly recommend a visit to their sites.
ANNA BELFRAGE on 22nd December -
 A RIP IN THE VEIL is the first book of THE GRAHAM SAGA.

JULIET WALDRON will also post on 22nd December -
ROAN ROSE a tale set in the latter years of the War of the Roses

Darlene is well known amongst historical fiction devotees as a discerning reviewer and I’ve heard some time soon we’ll be treated to her first published novel.

What is the working title of your next book?
Now that’s an easy question, The Smithfield Shambles hopefully out in January 2013.

Where did the idea come from for this book?
Well the wholes series actually, so many fine writers have worked over the machinations and dalliances of the Tudor Court of Henry VIII that I was unsure jemmy open a Ned Bedwell shaped space in the sub genre.  Then I though of one area almost everyone else had seemed to forget.  The King may royally command, the Lord Chancellor may order the writ and the Privy Secretary may seal and instruct.  But after that, who’s the poor sod further down the hierarchy who get the cuff over the ear or the boot in the arse and grumbling over late pay has to get the task done…or else.  In short its Red Ned Bedwell pursuivant, apprentice lawyer and aspiring rogue.

What genre does your book fall under?
Being set in the Tudor era in the reign of Henry VIII the novel slots into the Mystery section of the Historical fiction genre.  I had briefly considered that it may have inclined more towards the adventure end of the genre, but also all of Ned’s tasks involve shadowy Tudor figures, duplicity or treachery so Mystery it is.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
To play the lead of Red Ned we require a certain brash youthful arrogance combined with the misfortunate timing of Johnny English.  One thought is Simon Pegg of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead fame though I’m open for suggestions.
As for Meg Black Penelope Cruz would be pretty good pick, she has the size and the fiery temperament to match the Tudor apothecary’s apprentice.  And if that’s so then only one actor could play her brother Jason Momoa from the recent Conan, Game of Thrones and Stargate.  Finally as the looming threatening presence of Gruesome Roger only one actor immediately springs to mind, Geoffrey Rush who made a wonderful Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean and a very menacing Walsingham in Elizabeth.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Repeated attempts of mayhem and murder upon the person of apprentice lawyer Red Ned Bedwell, while he undertakes his various duties for Secretary Cromwell or his Uncle Richard Rich is nothing new.  Until now, a dark comedy of mistaken identity, murderous intent and a will.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Now that is a very easy question to answer, I personally believe I have more control over my work if I continue to be an Indie self-publisher.  Considering the constraints on writers in Australia, both geographic and cultural, self publishing is the only route that doesn’t take several years of unrewarding effort and heartbreak.

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft of Cardinal’s Angels and Liberties both took one month including all day and long into the night.  In each case the editing and polishing took much longer than the writing as the tale was reforged and refined into a more professional piece.  This time included commas, full stops and paragraph breaks in the right place.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
My fondest hope is to be compared favourably to Lindsey Davis with her Falco series or PF Chisholm and her roguish hero Sir Robert Carey.  In my particular Tudor period I’ve been frequently compared with CJ Sansom, which I find flattering though hardly comparable.  Sansom’s his main character Shardlake is a complex flawed hero and lives in a much darker, grimmer Tudor world.  Young Ned is still brimming with enthusiasm and a somewhat over confident eagerness since he’s only beginning his mystery apprenticeship.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Now I very glad you asked that question because it gives me an opportunity to belatedly blow the sackbut for A Notable Discovery of Coosnage 1591 and The Second Part of Cony Catching 1592, by that scandalous rogue and contemporary of Will Shakespeare, Master Robert Greene.  A ‘gentlemen’ gifted with a quill dipped in vitriol and a vindictive streak wider than the Thames.  His descriptions of the arts of cosenage or to use the modern term ‘scam’ are wickedly amusing and the source for many of Ned’s misfortunes.  Another more recent notable writer also serves as inspiration PG Wodehouse with his amusing anecdotes of the adventures of Bertie Wooster.  While PF Chisholm’s excellent A Famine of Horse gave me the direct impetuous for Red Ned Bedwell.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Humour and a detailed and different view of the Tudor world are two elements that make these stories stand out from the rest.  As is common with most novels in the Historical Mystery subgenre Ned is presented with a puzzling challenge, something or someone is out of kilter and usually unwillingly he is tasked with solving the conundrum.  Unfortunately for Ned being only a young and lowly legal apprentice, he possesses neither the keen intellect of a Sherlock Holmes or the quiet persistence and intuition of Poirot.  Instead Ned has to depend upon his hard won knowledge of cosenage and the nefarious ways of rogues and roisters. 

Regards this Solstice and Yuletide- Greg

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Lord of Misrule Released On Amazon!

New Red Ned Novel Out!

Greetings my well regarded readers, I hope that all is well with you and yours as we rapidly approach the Yuletide celebrations.  Today I have a few announcements before we move on to the body of the blog.  First I would to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the family of Jacinta Saldanha, the staff of King Edward VIII hospital and Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge for the trauma and sorrow caused by the deceitful, cowardly and callous actions of a few of my fellow Australians.  My personal reactions to this crime of fraud and breach of privacy is detailed in my other blog Prognostications and Pouting so for any interested I suggest you clink on the link for a quick visit.

To happier news, I would also like to announce that a new Red Ned story has been released on Amazon- The Lord of Misrule.  This new volume of Red Ned Bedwell’s misadventures is a compilation of the Yuletide tales comprising The Liberties of London, The Fetter Lane Fleece and the latest story A Comfit of Rogues, all brought together into one handy volume.  This will also be the first of my novels that will be committed to hard copy printing and with luck should be available by Christmas.

Now since I’ve already released prologues of all these novellas it’s pretty pointless to do so again.  Instead I thought I’d put up a short list of my Tudor sources, with a brief justification as to why a majority of  historical fiction writers go to such great lengths to present their story in its proper setting.
As with most writers those of us in this genre would like to take you on a journey into the past.  Sometimes just a decade or two, or maybe stretching back deep into the prehistory of the Neolithic.  To weave the visual and mnemonic tapestry of the tale requires a special set of talents, imagination, creativity, commitment, storytelling ability and most importantly resources to draw upon for the historical flavour and texture.  Luckily in these modern times we are blessed with the wonder of the internet, which has been both an enormous boon for its quantity of information and somewhat of a peril for its varying and occasionally dubious quality.  However for the serious historical fiction writer there is always the old standby resource - books.  Lots of them.
Visit the home of just about any writer of this genre and no doubt you’ll find book cases packed to the gunwales of all manner and type, both fiction and non fiction.  For this is the well of inspiration, the salmon of knowledge, where in we dip for the textural landscape of our setting. Such as the size and shape of the buildings, the weft of the clothing the sight and all too often smell of the era.  And most of all the placement and situations of our characters, their families, friends and rivals the very nature of their conflict, adversity or experience.  Without the aid of these splendid props our work would be so much the poorer, merely a thin soup of a serving, instead of a rich spicy banquet fit to stun the senses.
So as an inspiration and an example of some of the library here is a short list of the contents of my library.

The Lord of Misrule Book links

Tudor Bibliography

Tudor London

Elizabeth’s London, Liza Picard

The Riverside Gardens of Thomas More’s London, Christianson
The A-Z of Elizabethan London
The Renaissance European Painting 1400-1600, McCorquodale
Cities of the Renaissance World, Swift and Konstam
The History of London in Maps Barker and Jackson
Walking Shakespeare’s London
Shakespeare’s London


Tudor Warfare

Weapons of Warre- The Mary Rose Trust
Elizabeth’s Wars Paul, E J Hammer
The Confident Hope of a Miracle, Neil Hanson
The Great Enterprise, Mattingly
War and Society in Renaissance Europe, JR Hale
Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe, Bert S Hall.
Gunpowder, Jack Kelly
English Warfare 1511- 1642, Mark Fissel
the Military Revolution, Geoffrey Parker
Early Gunpowder Artillery, John Norris
Arms and Armour Annual, R. Held ed
Art Arms and Armour 1979-80, R Held ed.
Hafted Weapons in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, John Waldman
Osprey Publications
Henry VIII’s Army
Tudor Knights
The German Peasant Wars

Tudor Society

The Elizabethan Underworld, Gamini Salgado
A Notable Discovery of Coosnage 1591, Robert Greene
The Second Part of Cony Catching 1592, Robert Greene
A Groat’s Worth of Wit 1592, Robert Greene
The Early Tudors at Home Elizabeth Burton
The Tudor Housewife, Alison Sim
Tudor Pastimes and Pleasure, Alison Sim
Food and Feast in Tudor England Alison Sim
The Tudor Law of Treason, Bellamy
Strange and Inhuman Deaths Murder in Tudor England, Bellamy
Big Chief Elizabeth, Giles Milton
Undreamed Shores, Michael Foss
Tudor Rebellions, A Fletcher and Diarmaid McCulloch
Tudor England, ST Bindoff
Beer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Richard W Unger
Ale Beer and brewing: Women’s Work in a Changing World, Judith M Bennett
Treason in Tudor England, Lacy Baldwin Smith
The Pilgrimage of Grace, Moorhouse
English Merchant Shipping 1460-1540 Dorothy Burwash
Rethinking the Henrican Era, Herman Ed.
Foul Bills and Dagger Money R G Hamilton
Invisible Power: the Elizabethan Secret Service Alan Hayes
Medicine and Society in Later Medieval England
The Tudor Constitution, G R Elton
Authority and Disorder in Tudor Times 1485-1603, Paul Thomas
A Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England, Mortimer
The Complete works of William Shakespeare
Contested Will Who wrote Shakespeare, J Shapiro
What the Tudors Did for Us, Adam Hart-Davis
All the King’s Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace, Peter Brears
Ale Beer and Brewsters in England, Judith M. Bennett
The Cambridge History of Urban Britain Vols 1-2
The Tudor Tailor, Mikhaila and Malcolm Davies
Period Costume for Stage and Screen 1500-1800, Jean Hunnisett
The Patterns of fashion, Janet Arnold

Tudor Court

In the Lion’s Court, Derek Wilson
The Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell, Merriman
Letters to Cromwell, Cooke
The Lisle Letters, ed Muriel St Clare Bryne
Thomas More, Marius
Thomas More, Ackroyd
Thomas More, Roper and Harpsfield
Wolsey, Cavendish
The Reign of Henry VIII, Starkey
The Statesman and the Fanatic –Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More, Ridley
Rivals in Power, Starkey
A Tudor Tragedy, Lacy Baldwin Smith
The Mask of Royalty Henry VIII, Lacy Baldwin Smith
A Tudor Tragedy, Neville Williams
The Double Life of Doctor Lopez, Dominic Green
Henry VIII’s Divorce Literature and the Politics of the Printing Press, J C Warner
Great Harry, Carolly Erikson
Henry VIII The King and his Court, Alison Weir
The Children of England; The Heirs of Henry VIII Alison Weir
Elizabeth the Queen Weir
Mary Boleyn Alison Weir
The Lady in the Tower Alison Weir
The Six Wives of Henry VIII Alison Weir
Mary Tudor England’s First Queen, Whitlock
Henry VIII, Scarisbrick
Henry VIII, Bowles
The Last Days of Henry VIII, Hutchinson
Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s most notorious minister, Hutchinson
Anne Boleyn, Joan Denny
Who’s Who in Tudor England, Rouse
The Infamous Lady Rochford, Julia Fox
The Queen’s Conjurer Benjamin, Woolley
The Uncrowned Kings of England, Derek Wilson
The Tudor Queens, Loades
Elizabeth, Starkey
Elizabeth’s Women, Tracy Borman
Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, Alison Weir
Arabella England’s Lost Queen, Sarah Gristwood
My Heart is Not My Own, John Guy


The Reformation, Diarmaid McCulloch
The Pursuit of the Millennium, Norman Cohen
God’s Bestseller, Moynaham
Reformation Europe 1517-1559, G R Elton
Bloody Mary’s Martyrs, Ridley
Schisms in Christianity and the rise of Protestantism

Then of course we have the internet sources such as academic articles, national archives, online archives, the Guttenberg Project and university dissertations and if your keen that can take up weeks in the searching and compiling.  I think we’ll leave a taste of those resources for a later occasion.
To all my readers keep safe and well in this lead up to Yuletide and unlike Red Ned quaff in moderation.
Regards Gregory House