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

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