I am delighted to welcome author and Chill With a Book Award winner Lucienne Boyce to the blog today …
Huge congratulations on winning your Chill Award! You must be so happy that your work has been recognised in this way.
So, what inspired you to write this story?
I write historical fiction about the eighteenth century as well as non-fiction about the women’s suffrage campaign. Both are aspects of my interest in radical history and the history of protest. I’m interested in telling stories of how people made powerless by the law are finally driven to resist that law – to become stone-throwers, vandals, arsonists – and in thinking about how far they could and should go in those struggles.
At the same time, I’ve always loved detective fiction – I’m a huge fan of Lord Peter Wimsey, Sherlock Holmes and Inspector McLevy. So it seemed natural to combine all this and come up with a Bow Street Runner as my main character. In that way, I could write about someone whose job is to uphold the law at a time of great social change and unrest.
One of the most far-reaching of those changes was land enclosure, when land previously accessible to the poor was taken into private ownership. For many poor people it was an economic disaster, driving them out of their homes and into the cities, where they provided the cheap labour that made the expansion of industry possible. This is the backdrop to Bloodie Bones.
A major inspiration for Bloodie Bones was John Clare’s poem The Mores, which reminds us that these changes had an emotional impact as well as an economic one. All too often, the history of enclosures (like that of its urban counterpart, industrialisation) has been told as part of a narrative of ‘progress’. Clare’s poem draws our attention to the fact that it affected real people: Inclosure came and trampled on the grave/Of labour’s rights and left the poor a slave.
What does the award mean to you?
Well, to say I’m thrilled is an understatement. What’s so good about this Award is that the criteria are clear; you know what the readers are looking for. And I do like the badge – books and champagne definitely go together well!
What other titles have you published? Tell us a little about them …
To The Fair Land, SilverWood Books
An eighteenth century thriller partly set in Bristol and the South Seas.
In 1789 hack writer Ben Dearlove sets out to trace the anonymous author of a best-selling book about a voyage to the Great Southern Continent. Everyone thinks the book is fiction: Captain Cook proved there was no Southern Continent. But others are interested in the author’s secrets, and the quest proves more dangerous than Ben had anticipated. Before he can discover the shocking truth, Ben has to get out of prison, catch a thief, and bring a murderer to justice.
The Bristol Suffragettes (SilverWood Books, non fiction)
In 1907 suffragette Annie Kenney brought the militants’ fight for women’s right to vote to Bristol. For the next few years the city rang with the cry ‘Votes for Women!’ From colourful demonstrations on the Downs and stone-throwing in the Centre, to riot on Queen’s Road and arson in the suburbs, the book tells the fascinating story of Bristol’s suffragette years. Also includes a map and short walk in the Bristol of the suffragettes.
Are you working on a new book? Tell me about that …
The next Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, will be published in June. During a routine patrol, police arrest two men in possession of human body parts which are intended for sale to the dissecting rooms of a London teaching hospital. Bow Street Runner and amateur pugilist Dan Foster makes the grisly discovery that they are the remains of fellow-officer George Kean. The body-snatching racket soon leads Dan to something bigger and much more dangerous. In a treacherous underworld of vicious pugilists, ruthless murderers, British spy masters and French agents, Dan must tread carefully – or meet the same terrible fate as Kean.
In addition, there’s a short Dan Foster Mystery coming out in May. The Fatal Coin (S Books) is an ebook novella. In the winter of 1794 Dan Foster is assigned to guard a Royal Mail coach. The mission ends in tragedy when a young constable is shot dead by a highwayman calling himself Colonel Pepper. Dan is determined to bring the killer to justice, and will risk his life to bring down Pepper and his gang.
As for works in progress, I’m about to start work on the third Dan Foster novel.
I’m writing a biography of a married Quaker couple who were involved in the suffrage, peace and socialist movements.
And in the next few weeks I’ll be publishing The Road to Representation, a short collection of essays on the women’s suffrage movement.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
Going to the theatre, art galleries, reading, watching Murdoch Mysteries. I’m a steering committee member of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network. I’m currently involved in organising events to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of votes for women (the Representation of the People Act 1918). I give talks on my non fiction and fiction work. I am also interested in the peace movement – recently I organised a day of events on Women and Conscientious Objection, and I’ll be speaking at a day on Women and Peace in Wales in May. And I’m a regular presenter on BCfm Radio, a Bristol community radio station.
Which three authors have most influenced your journey to becoming an author?
Julia Cameron, Dorothea Brande, Charles Dickens.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I have a long-standing interest in the eighteenth century, a period when I think many of the systems we live with today were established or developed, including the policing system. For example, the Bow Street Runners were the forerunners of our modern CID, and even without the assistance of modern forensic processes many of their investigative methods are remarkably familiar. So I think we are still living with the legacy of that era, and many of the issues I write about, such as land ownership, are still relevant today.
I think that historical fiction is the best place to explore those issues as they relate to and affect people then and now; it gives us a depth of understanding that many history text books don’t provide – though I think there’s more of a cross over between the skills of the novelist and the historian these days. After all, history is story. The hinterland between fact and fiction is a fascinating area to explore, and historical fiction offers an ideal opportunity for this.
Which other genre would you chose if you had to change?
Quick fire questions:
Twitter or Facebook? Twitter
Tea or coffee? Tea (redbush)
Marmite – yes or no? Yes.
Marvel or DC? No idea.
Early riser or sleep in? Early riser.
Pj’s or ‘normal’ clothes when writing? Normal clothes.
Planner or pantster? Planner.
Book or kindle? Both.
Pineapple on pizza – yes or no? No.
And finally, What is your favourite book of all time?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Thank you for joining me today Lucienne and many congratulations again on your Chill with A Book Award!
If you’re an indie author and want to know more about the Chill With A Book Award, click here to go to the website!
You can keep up with all of Lucienne’s news by following the links below … I certainly will be, The Butcher’s Block sounds brilliant and I’m looking forward to starting a new historical fiction series!!
Like the look of Lucienne’s award winning book, Bloodie Bones? Here’s the blurb …
“Parsons and tyrants friends take note. We have born your oppreshuns long enough. We will have our parish rights or else Bloodie Bones will drink your blood.”
Dan’s job is to infiltrate the poaching gang and bring the killers to justice. But there’s more to Castle’s death than at first sight appears. What is the secret of the gamekeeper’s past and does it have any connection with his murder? What is Lord Oldfield concealing? And did someone beside the poachers have a reason to want Josh Castle dead?
As tensions in Barcombe build to a thrilling climax, Dan will need all his wits and his fighting skills to stay alive and get to the truth.