Saturday, 9 April 2016

Launch of my first fiction book by Heather Flack

Today on the blog we welcome author Heather Flack whose first novel is launched today under her pen name of Fen Flack. It is an honour to have her join us and tell us a bit more about herself and her book. Heather over to you. 

The early 11th century is perhaps an obscure period of history, so why set a novel then? In 1982 I bought a cottage at Ribbesford on the outskirts of Bewdley, Worcestershire. In researching its history I discovered it had been “seized by the Danes” before the Norman Conquest. Intrigued, I began to read about the trouble times of late Anglo-Saxon England and discovered Edmund Ironside. At school I’d learned about Aethelred the Unready and Cnut (in those days Canute) but not the king in between these two. His story was inspiring and the circumstances of his marriage the stuff of novels. However, back in the ’80s and ’90s I was writing other things and Edmund went “into the freezer”.
I was inspired to write a set of novels set in Ribbesford itself beginning with its seizure by the Danes and ending with Harthacnut’s attack on Worcester in 1041. The themes were getting to know God, racial prejudice, healing and forgiveness. But I couldn’t find a publisher.
After 2000 I became more interested in factual local history. I was living in Kings Norton, Birmingham, at the time its buildings won BBC2’s Restoration 2004 and I wrote the guide books and history of the buildings. I still had a house in Bewdley and was contributing to the history of that town too.

I retired in 2007 and did an M.A. in English Local History. Part of my degree was a project on the early history of Bewdley and I succeeded in pushing back its origins some two hundred years. The paper had all the makings of a book, so I bought some ISBNs and got a local printer to produce it. I had the opportunity of speaking to the Bewdley Civic Society on the subject and sold 70 copies on that occasion. I was a published author!
Through some writing classes I built up a portfolio of stories about my local area. I published these as “Pieces of Wyre”, because all the writing concerned places in the Wyre Forest area (north Worcestershire). I found outlets for sales in the local libraries, tourist information centre and also the new Museum of Carpet in Kidderminster.
A more exciting opportunity emerged in 2012 when I was helping in the local secondary school with a project on medieval Bewdley. I worked with the English teacher to help pupils write fictional letters and wills about our town in that period. I wove their material together with mine to make “Bewdley under the White Rose”, which told the story of our town from 1448 to 1485. 

Late in 2014 I was on a writing course and to my surprise, Edmund Ironside’s story came back into my mind and would not go away. I found I could not rest until I had done more reading and worked out a time line. Some books demand to be written and this was one of those. The text was complete in five months. The timing is perfect, as 1016 is a thousand years since Edmund was King.

You can find out more about Heather and her books on her website and on Amazon

Thank you for joining us Heather. Your book sounds fascinating and I am sure readers will be keen to buy.

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