I have done a lot of thinking about this book while I have been in hospital with my stroke, and with some distance from the initial creative spurt have begun to re-think things. My thoughts were confirmed when my daughter-in-law, the historian, returned my manuscript with copious notes. She had come to the same conclusion.
I have become fascinated by this period in history, and although I say that I am using the life of Alina de Breos to hang the story from, I have actually gone and written about everything, with occasional reference to Alina. So it doesn’t work.
I am very attached to what I have written, like most writers, and have to make a hard decision: Do I revert to a straight history of the period, or do I cut out the stuff that is not relevant to Alina? I have concluded that a straight history would not have the appeal that ‘The White Lady of Oystermouth’ would, especially with the opening of the visitors centre in Alina’s chapel at Oystermouth castle next year.
So I have the painful job of rejecting large chunks of my history (though I won’t delete it – you never know when it might come in useful), re-writing some with more relevance to Alina, and adding a lot that I have researched about daily life to tell more of her story. It is harder than I first thought because there is actually very little on record about Alina, or indeed any women in that period. They were considered inferior and just used to make prestigious alliances by marriage.
Wish me luck, and watch this space. I might drop some tidbits about life in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.