On World Book Day in March, four members of the Medieval Murderers writing team held court at Newport Central Library in south Wales. The nearest thing to armour present was a metal walking stick in the possession of someone in the audience, indicating what a jolly time was had by all.
The Medieval Murderers holding court were Bernard Knight, Philip Gooden, Susanna Gregory and recent recruit, Karen Maitland. (Others members of the group are Michael Jecks, Ian Morson and C J Sansom.) If anyone arrived thinking this would be an event in which to sit and listen, this was ‘think again’ time. No sooner than the quartet started to speak, questions from the audience ensued and a proper conversation developed. It was like a party where everyone gets to hear the conversation.
Interesting points of note included the following:
Gooden had a few ‘bottom drawer’ manuscripts of the satirical novel variety before heading out on historical crime. He was put off writing contemporary novels because of the need for research to get the detail right. He feels freer in the past. (The first time I have heard that one!) Knight added to this, proving he is the standard-bearer for changing times, by saying that today it’s all boring and citing ‘health and safety’ and ‘bureaucratic nonsense’. Given the collective age of the audience this was ‘Go Bernard!’ time.
Maitland explained her writing production process; for it can only be described as this. She writes a book based on a detailed plan that is a series of bullet points for each chapter at the start. It takes her about a year to produce one and she is under contract for 150,000 words on each.
Knight’s Crowner John series may continue in publication but the stories are coming to an end shortly. But, fear not avid-Knight-reader, because the author is introducing a new series with Severn House. Here, we have a forensic pathologist in the 1950s, based in the borders of England and Wales. Three might be expected for the series.
All Medieval Murderers present were great fun – as they promise – and no one shirked any questions, with attendees liking to probe all matters writing and every detail checked.