Despite the current situation with coronavirus causing events to be cancelled this year, the end of March is an important one now, for Ricardians. As well as remembering birth, death, marriage, coronation, we can also mark reburial. Five years ago, all eyes were on Leicester, as one of England’s most famous kings was laid to rest for the second time.
And one of our authors was lucky enough to be there for part of it. So, for Jennifer’s first post in our regular series taking place on the Ocelot Press blog, do forgive a bit of indulgent personal nostalgia, and tell you a bit about the beginnings of The Last Plantagenet? …
When I put my name into the ballot for a place at one of the events that week in Leicester, I only did it to say I had, to be a part of things, but then, then arrived the envelope… I was going to Compline, the service during which the coffin of Richard III would be brought into the cathedral. And more than that – there was a full Saturday of lectures to attend, and the particularly moving service on Sunday morning at the University of Leicester itself, as they bid farewell to the remains they had studied so carefully, and preserved so well, since they found him in that carpark. Walking down the street behind the hearse for a few moments was a very strange sensation, then heading back to my hotel room and watching the rest of its journey on the BBC news channel.
It was a beautiful day all round, and being in Leicester Cathedral to watch the service of Compline is something I shall never forget. There was an odd sense to the day. Yes, it was a funeral, so of course everyone was suitably respectful and sombre in their attitude, but equally, although people had hoped to find King Richard III, it’s not as though anybody was expecting to find him alive, so there was also a sense of celebration to things.
They were even letting people take photos, once the service was over.
That night, after strolling back from the cathedral through the rose-strewn streets of Leicester, I sat in the hotel bar (the smartest-dressed Travelodge clientele I have ever seen!), and pulled out the notebook I’d had in my bag all weekend. I had been playing with an idea for a while, a timeslip novella featuring Richard III, but however hard I tried, couldn’t make it ‘work’. Sitting there, absorbing everything that had happened over the two days, the words flowed. I got my ending, and other than some minor tweaks, the plot was sorted!
The Last Plantagenet? was born…
It’s had an exciting journey, first being self-published in October 2017, then joining Ocelot Press in October 2018. And I was thrilled to bits when it was awarded not only a five-star review from the Coffee Pot Book Club Award, but also an Honourable Mention in the blog’s 2019 Book of the Year Awards.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of this important event, and the night I can pin-point as the start of when everything starting happening for me, writing-wise (I got back and began editing my Kindred Spirits series too!), The Last Plantagenet? ebook is free to download for a limited time.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!