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I’m no stranger to writing blogs – I’ve written them for years about the craft of storytelling – but this is my very first from the point of view of an author writing for her readers. Here goes.

I’m guessing you want to know what inspires me to write, how I come up with stories, where characters come from, and those kinds of things. If I’ve got this badly wrong, let me know what you actually want to know.

I’m also guessing you don’t want to know about my political leanings, what I had for breakfast, or my opinions about the teaching profession based on my previous career as an English teacher. I’m assuming you don’t particularly care. That’s fine. When I follow an author, I’m interested in the stories they publish, not which newspaper they take while eating their cereal/smashed avocado/last night’s takeaway.

If you are interested in photos of me clutching a glass of red wine on a Friday evening, or videos of me shooing the cat off my laptop, feel free to find my Facebook page.

Where to begin my blogging journey, then… how about with what inspired me to write The Heretic’s Servant?

I wrote the very first short story about Spicer Hall and its priest hole about eight years ago. It wasn’t called Spicer Hall originally. There was no Molly (the first person narrator of the novel) and it wasn’t even set in the Elizabethan era. It was set today and told the story of a family who won big on the lottery and bought a wonderful old house – a house with secrets.

This story was very different from the novel it has become. I realised that the real story I wanted to tell was not the experience of a modern woman adjusting to a new way of life in a very old setting, but the challenges faced by the women of the house in the days of the Reformation.

I wanted to tell a story about ordinary people, comparatively speaking since much historical fiction follows the lives of royalty. I began writing The Heretic’s Servant in third person and focused on Kate, mistress of the house, married to a minor noble. 

Twenty thousand words in, something wasn’t working. I scratched my head for a bit, drank some wine, then rewrote it in first person – not as Kate but as Molly, Kate’s lifelong maid and friend.

Something clicked. The voice came and the story took on its own life force.

Now it’s out. I’ve done it. A published novel. I’m not going to be falsely modest. I’ve done a good job. Don’t take my word for it, though. Try it. If you like it, let others know.

Let’s chat again soon,

Deanne x