So what research am I doing anyway, you may ask? The book I am writing at the moment is Book 3 of The Forsaken Lands, and that is set in a world that equates with our 18th century Netherlands and England, yet here I am, haring off to look at Neolithic burial chambers, Welsh castles and Norman churches, dovecotes and Anglo-Saxon artifacts from Sutton Hoo.
Well, that’s one of the glories of writing in secondary worlds (that is, worlds reminiscent of ours, but actually mostly made up.)
I can use ideas, adapt them to my world and make it something new and fresh. At the same time, it is important to make the world realistic. Seeing real places and real artefacts from our world therefore supplies both inspiration and reality; they are jumping off points for my fiction.
Here are a few more photos from the complex at St Cross:
Above: a wooden sink lined with metal — tin alloy? surely not lead?? –attached to a pump… Imagine the kitchen drudge washing up the dishes here, day after day.
Below: The Brethren’s Hall where they dined
What did they use that balcony — overlooking the dining hall — for? And why are there six leather fire buckets hanging suspended from it? A writer immediately starts imagining, What if….?