It’s always such a pleasure to welcome Jennifer Ash to Being Anne. It’s an equal pleasure when she’s being Jenny Kane really… but it’s Jennifer Ash today, and she’s joining me for the first day of her blog tour on publication day. Here she is to tell us more…
It’s day one of my The Winter Outlaw blog tour. What better place to start than on the lovely Being Anne blog.
The Winter Outlaw is the second book in The Folville Chronicles. It continues the adventures of Mathilda of Twyford (a 19 year old potter’s daughter), as her life within the household of criminal gang- the Folvilles – becomes more complicated- and increasingly dangerous. During Book One- The Outlaw’s Ransom, Mathilda finds herself a prisoner in the Folville family manor in Ashby-Folville, Leicestershire. Now she is part of the household staff- and who knows what she might yet become…
1329: It is the dead of winter. The notorious Folville brothers are on edge. There are rumours of an unknown outlaw terrorising the Leicestershire countryside—a man who has designs on the Folville family’s criminal connections.
Determined to stop this usurper in his tracks, Robert Folville unearths a man hiding in one of Ashby-Folville’s sheep shelters. A steward from far-off West Markham in Nottinghamshire, the cold, hungry Adam Calvin claims he knows nothing of any threat to the Folville family. He has troubles of his own, for he is being pursued by vengeful sheriff, Edmund de Cressy, for a crime he did not commit.
Mathilda of Twyford, newly betrothed to Robert de Folville, believes Adam’s story, but with rumours about a vendetta against the family growing, the Folville brothers are suspicious of every stranger.
After an attack on the household’s trusted housekeeper, it falls to Mathilda to work out who can be trusted and who can’t…
With the Folvilles’ past about to trip them up, it’s going to take a level head and extreme bravery if Mathilda and Robert are ever going to make it to their Winter Solstice wedding.
With the writing of The Folville Chronicles, I’m going back to my roots. Many years ago – long before I ever dreamt of being a fiction writer – I was a medieval historian, specialising in crime and Robin Hood literature. I always hoped that one day I‘d get to write my research into a book. I had no idea that dream would come true- but in a rather a different format than I was expecting. I thought I’d be writing a dry history text book. In fact, I’m writing a set of five (maybe six) novels; all of which reflect the real crimes of the early fourteenth century that I researched in depth all those years ago.
As part of my work I read literally hundreds of original court rolls, goal delivery rolls and Calendar of the Patent Rolls for the years, 1300 – 1348. I concentrated my studies on the East Midlands of England – largely because I am a self confessed Robin Hood obsessive – and I wanted to make sure I included not just Nottinghamshire and Sherwood in my research area, but also Leicestershire. In particular, Ashby Folville, the area of Leicestershire where the Folville family ruled via crime and corruption, in the 1320’s and 30’s.
Many of the Folville family deeds closely represent the stories of Robin Hood in the ballads of the period…and that got me thinking.
What if the Robin Hood ballads were inspired by the actions of Robert de Folville and his band of brothers?
What if the Robert de Folville loved the Robin Hood stories and decided to live his life using the legendary outlaw’s principles?
It was this latter theory which inspired The Folville Chronicles. So if you like medieval mysteries steeped in reality with a touch of Robin Hood’s values thrown in then these are the novels for you!
Robert de Folville, his brothers and their followers are hunting an outlaw – and they need all the help they can get! Here’s a tiny taster to whet the appetite. (It’s only dinky because I don’t want to ruin the story for you!)
…Three of Robert’s followers had established themselves inside the tavern, with strict orders not to drink more than was sensible. Everyone needed their wits about them.
Each man’s orders were the same. No one was allowed in or out of the village, because no one knew which families were in Leigh’s pay and which were just putting up with his presence because it was too dangerous not to.
As he dismounted his horse, preparing himself to leave the village of Lubbesthorpe behind, Robert asked his companions again if they were sure they wanted to risk their lives. Neither replied. Oswin and Adam simply pulled scarves over their faces, muffling the sound of their breathing as they moved silently though the dead of winter.
With a resigned but grateful nod, Robert instructed both men to think like Robyn Hode, and then bid them good luck. With a grim but knowing smile from each man, Robert mouthed a prayer of fortune in their direction, while weaving his own way along the narrow path to the meeting place alone…
Jen, thank you – and wishing you every success with this one!
About the author
With a background in history and archaeology, Jennifer Ash should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, and writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jennifer writes stories of medieval crime, steeped in mystery, with a side order of romance.
Influenced by a lifelong love of Robin Hood and medieval ballad literature, Jennifer has written the first two novels in The Folville Chronicles series.
The Outlaw’s Ransom – Book One in The Folville Chronicles (pub. 2018, Littwitz Press) – is a short novel, which first saw the light of day within the novel Romancing Robin Hood (written under the name Jenny Kane; Pub. Littwitz Press, 2018).
The Winter Outlaw – Book Two of The Folville Chronicles (pub. 2018, LittwitzPress) – is a full length novel continuing the adventures of Mathilda of Twyford.
Edward’s Outlaw – Book Three of The Folville Chronicles – will be released this coming winter.
All of Jennifer Ash’s and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk: follow her on Twitter at @JenAshHistory
and @JennyKaneAuthor. You’ll also find her on Facebook as both Jennifer Ash and Jenny Kane.
Jenny also teaches creative writing at www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk.