Monday, 18 May 2015

The Silvered Heart Blog Tour

Hello folks and welcome to my stop on the official blog tour for 'The Silvered Heart' by the super talented Katherine Clements. We have something special for you today and that is a guest post from the author herself. But first, here is the blurb to her wonderful book:

1648: Civil war is devastating England. The privileged world of Katherine Ferrers is crumbling under Cromwell's army and, as an orphaned heiress, she has no choice but to marry for the sake of family.

But as her marriage turns into a prison and her fortune is forfeit, Katherine becomes increasingly desperate. So when she meets a man who shows her a way out, she seizes the chance. It is dangerous and brutal, and she knows if they're caught, there's only one way it can end...

The mystery of Lady Katherine Ferrers, legendary highwaywoman, has captured the collective imagination of generations. Now, based on the real woman, the original 'Wicked Lady' is brought gloriously to life in this tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival. 

Guest Post

When Fact Mirrors Fiction

Katherine Clements

There is nothing more astonishing than stumbling across a fact in the historical record that matches something I’ve invented. Authors tell stories about such serendipitous discoveries, but it had never happened to me before working on The Silvered Heart.

Much of the novel is set in Hertfordshire, in and around the town of Ware. As I researched the history of the area, I came across the town’s biggest claim to fame: The Great Bed of Ware. This gigantic Elizabethan bed, dating to the 1590s, was probably built as a tourist attraction for one of the inns. Ware was a staging post on the north road out of London and thousands of people passed through looking for accommodation and an evening’s entertainment. As the bed’s fame spread it became a magnet for drunken dares and revels (12 in a bed, anyone?) and a whole host of more intimate and meaningful meetings. It’s even referenced by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night, when Sir Toby Belch describes a sheet of paper as '... big enough for the Bed of Ware!'
The Great Bed of Ware

Many who stayed in the famous bed left their mark by carving their initials or leaving red wax seals, much like the graffiti we see at significant cultural sites today. In the 1650s, the bed was housed at The White Heart and I had included a scene in which one of my main characters, Rafe Chaplin, carves his initials into the headboard, as a memorial to a pleasurable night spent there.

The bed is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Long after I’d drafted the scene, wanting to get the detail right, I went to take a look. The bed itself is certainly impressive but imagine my astonishment when I noticed the initials carved right in the centre of the headboard – a deep and definite ‘R.C.’ Surely, only a certain type of man would dare make his mark in such a prominent position – one with little regard for convention perhaps?!
You can see the carving and learn more about the Great Bed in this video from the V&A.

Even more surprising was my discovery about the silvered heart itself. In the first draft of the book I’d written about a silver heart shaped charm that my heroine, Katherine, is given by Queen Henrietta Maria. Later, I found out that Henrietta Maria really did own such an item; a heart shaped charm that was given to her by her mother, Marie de Medici, when she was pregnant with the child who was to become Charles II. Henrietta Maria had suffered a miscarriage the previous year and was worried about losing another heir. She mentions the heart in a letter to her mother in 1630, saying, ‘I always wear it on my neck, for I fancy it brings me such good fortune that I am always afraid when I am without it.’
I’ve found no other record of the Queen’s lucky heart, and I don’t know what happened to it, but such a coincidence was too good a chance to miss.

So there you have it folks, an informative and very interesting piece from Katherine Clements.

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Check out my fellow bloggers dates for the tour below: