Interview My Character Blog Hop – Sheriff and Priest: Wimer the Chaplain, by Nicky Moxey

A thoroughly enjoyable interview of my Wimer character, and a lovely review – thank you, Vanessa!

Vanessa Couchman

Today it’s my turn to interview a character in the Historical Writers’ Forum “Interview my Character” blog hop. This event has been going on throughout June and will continue through July. I have the great good fortune to be interviewing Wimer, a real-life character who had an interesting – if turbulent – career during the 12th century. He is the main character in Nicky Moxey’s Sheriff and Priest. You can read my review of the book beneath this interview.

And there’s a giveaway! The author has kindly offered a paperback copy of Sheriff and Priest to a UK winner, or an ebook to a winner elsewhere in the world. To enter, simply leave a comment below this post or on the post about this interview on the Facebook page. The draw will be made on 28th June. Good luck!

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Interview my Character: Eleanor Elder

The next instalment of the Historical Fiction Writers’ Blog Hop. These are turning out to be a cracking read – and this one has a giveaway too!

History... the interesting bits!

Today it is my stop on the Historical Writers’ Character Blog Hop, where we interview historical characters, both real and fictional. Watch out for Nicholaa de la Haye coming later in the tour!

And there’s a giveaway! the author has kindly offered a paperback copy of the book to a UK winner, or an ebook to a winner elsewhere in the world. To enter, simply leave a comment below or on the Facebook page. The draw will be made on 12 June. Good luck!

I would like to welcome Lady Eleanor Elder to History…the Interesting Bits. Lady Eleanor is one of the principal characters in Derek Birks’ wonderful series of books, The Craft of Kings, the latest instalment of which, Echoes of Treason was released in May.Ever since I first read Feud, about 5 years ago, Lady Eleanor has become something of a heroine of…

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Character blog hop!

The Historical Writers’ Forum has got a real treat for you over the next few weeks, an interview every couple of days of a character from a novel! (Wimer is in there too, later.)

The process kicks off today; author Jen Black interviews Christine Hancock‘s youthful and courageous ealdorman, Byrhtnoth, of the Bright Axe and Bright Sword books.

Many more to come over the summer!

blog hop overview

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The Indie Showcase Presents, Nicky Moxey

I had the opportunity to talk about my beloved Wimer on my author friend Richard Dee’s blog today…

Source: The Indie Showcase Presents, Nicky Moxey

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No distance at all from the Iron Age…

On Friday I treated myself to a visit to the British Library’s Anglo-Saxon Exhibition. If you’re in a position to go, I’d urge you to – it’s spectacular.

One of the more jaw-dropping items is the Alfred Jewel, on loan from the Ashmolean ( Now I’ve visited this wonderful object many times; but for the first time on Friday I wrenched my eyes away from the striking image, the marvellous crystal, the sheer astonishment of the pierced instription running around the sides – and looked at the business end, where the pointer would have fitted.

This is the classic view, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, source Dresses and Decorations of the Middle Ages, by Henry Shaw, 1843. Isn’t it gorgeous?

But the pointer end isn’t anything particularly amazing.

Now look at this photo, which is how close a look you can get at the exhibition. (This from a user called Richard’s Flickr feed, marked for non-commercial reuse. Thank you Richard! –


What does it look like to you – a boar? A bear? Scroll back up and look at the left-hand picture, showing the top of its head; maybe a great cat? The Ashmolean sometimes calls it a dragon. Not your usual Christian icon, in this sumptuous jewel comissioned by a deeply Christian King. Alfred’s passion was the translation of religious texts into Anglo-Saxon from Latin, and the British Library’s exhibition holds manuscripts which might be his translation and written in his hand (another shiver-up-the-spine moment!).

The speculation is that the jewel was one of many pointers made to accompany such a text and sent as a gift alongside the book. That kingly assocation would explain its richness and beauty – but certainly not its iconography; it simply makes it more of a puzzle. Until, perhaps, you consider who the recipients of such a gift might be – possibly missionaries going out into the perilous wild lands of 9thC Britain, with the Danelaw all up the Eastern side of the country, and tribes not acknowledging Alfred’s rule to the North and West of him.

I’ve been lucky enough to handle several Iron Age coins in silver and gold, and that’s the strongest association I have – that this Christian jewel is also using the power, imagery, and deep, deep roots of the Celtic world to get its message across.

Magical! Do you agree?


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Author Interview – Richard Stephenson Clarke


Just for a bit of fun, I thought I’d have a go at interviewing other authors. Richard Stephenson Clarke’s beautiful book of shaped poety – Presents of Mind – launched last month, and he’s agreed to be my first victim!

I’ve decided to go with a riff on Desert Island Discs – interviewees get to choose 5 music tracks and answer 5 or 6 vaguely literature-related questions, and choose one book and one luxury item to take to their island. As always, they get the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare thrown in.

Me: So, Richard – the important things first; what’s your favourite writing food?

Richard: Oh, cake! Coffee and walnut, preferably.

Me: Good choice! And drink?

Richard: Hmmm. Vintage port… or coffee. Black, no sugar, please.

Me: Is there a coffee-related theme building here? Perhaps we should move on to the music. What’s your first track?

Richard: This is terribly difficult, you know!  it’s like being asked to choose which is your favourite child! Let’s start with the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Archduke trio.

Me: Lovely! I hate to lower the tone – but what’s your favourite TV show?

Richard: Ah, that’s easy! The Big Bang Theory!

Me: No thought required on that one! And your next track?

Richard: How about anything by Supertramp?

Me: Coming right up! Here’s a “Best of” compilation:

Me: Let’s get back on books – what’s your favourite book ever?

Richard: Anything by PG Wodehouse! I could read those till the cows come home.

Me: And some music to go with that?

Richard: Let’s have Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock. Ideally with Dame Janet Baker, if possible.

Me: I couldn’t find a recording with Janet Baker. Here’s Beverley Sills singing soprano instead.

Richard: Oh yes, that’ll do!

Me: Now, what’s the last book you read?

Richard: I’m just finishing The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil.

Me: That’s a war book, isn’t it? What music would you like to follow it with?

Richard: Hahn’s L’Heure Exquise; I like the Julian Lloyd Webber recording. It’s just such a wonderful evocation of moonlight. The book is about Clementine’s journey through the displacement & horror of war, and I think music like L’Heure Exquise speaks of enduring hope, peace & beauty that transforms the dark.

Me: That is gorgeous. All right, nearly at the end. You can choose one book to take with you to your desert island – what will it be?

Richard: Something silly like The Adventures of Asterix, please. I’d need a good laugh on a desert island!

Me: – good choice! And your luxury?

Richard: A really good Hi-Fi system, please – and my music collection!

Me: All of it? Oh, all right! What would you like to play us out with?

Richard: Anything from the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky – he has the most amazing voice!

Me: Super! One of my favourite artists too. Would you mind if we had one of my favourites? Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater.

Thank you, Richard – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your choices!
Presents of Mind is a collection of shaped poetry: reflections on psychotherapy and the creative energy and healing power of the mind, in a tapestry of metaphors and forms. It is written for anyone who finds life a challenge, for clients and students of therapy, for counsellors, psychotherapists, and others concerned with mental health.

Presents of Mind is available as an A4, full-colour paperback from Etsy

Or as an e-book from Amazon UK or Amazon US

Richard discusses the book, its imagery, and his process on his blog.

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Shaping – the Why

Richard Stephenson Clarke is one of my Dodnash Books clients, who writes the most beautiful poetry; then works to find a shape that reflects the essence of the poetry. It’s such an unusual art form, and such a pleasure to explore! I knew I wanted to help produce Richard’s work as soon as I set eyes on it, and it’s great to hold the book in your hands. Contact me – or Richard – if you’d like a copy.

Richard Stephenson Clarke

When I wrote the first few pieces, I had no idea at all that I would be shaping any of them. Then one poem – which I was rearranging on the page, just to see how the lines could be best presented – began to form a very clear shape. This was the poem called Carvings, which happens to be about the mind working on things over time, quite unconsciously: forming, fashioning, sculpting, putting them away, hiding them from sight – and later rediscovering them. It seemed very appropriate that there was such a carved shape coming to light in the piece itself.

Having watched the first section fall into place, I wondered whether it would be possible to do this throughout the whole piece – and so began the climbing of Everest… I tried it on another piece, and another, and before long I just knew I wanted to…

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Lambert Simnel and Edward V

This article, by Matt Lewis of Matt’s History Blog – well respected, and always a good read – is a classic example of why historical fiction is such an exciting area to write in.
Matt takes a close, well-informed look at the two rebellions by young boys in the reign of Henry Tudor, the usurper who killed Richard lll on the field of battle. Was either one – or both – the son of Edward V, the Princes in the Tower, supposedly killed by Shakespear’s caricature of nasty old hunchbacked Richard the Evil Uncle?
It’s possible. But 15thC records can be obscure, and Henry seems to have been quie thorough in his burning of all relevant records. A non-fiction book summarising all this would have an awful lot of gaps and speculation. Step forward, the historical fiction writer… Someone (not me, not my period) is going to have tremendous fun writing a novel or two about this. I wish them well, and look forward to it!

Matt's History Blog

This post turned into a way longer piece than I meant, so please bear with it!

When I wrote The Survival of the Princes in the Tower, I posited a theory, one of many alternatives offered. This particular idea has grown on me ever since, and I find myself unable to shake it off. I’m beginning to convince myself that the 1487 Lambert Simnel Affair was never an uprising in favour of Edward, Earl of Warwick, as history tells us. I think I’m certain I believe it was a revolt in support of Edward V, the elder of the Princes in the Tower. Sounds crazy? Just bear with me.


Why do we think we know that the Yorkist uprising of 1487 favoured Edward, Earl of Warwick? In reality, it is simply because that was the official story of the Tudor government. It made the attempt a joke; a rebellion in…

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Guest Post: ‘1215 and all that’ by Nicky Moxey, author of Sheriff and Priest

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post! Thanks to Cathy for the opportunity.

What Cathy Read Next...

I’m delighted to welcome Nicky Moxey to What Cathy Read Next today.  A review copy of Nicky’s historical novel, Sheriff and Priest, is sitting in my author review pile.  Unfortunately, it may be there for some time so, in the meantime, I’m thrilled to bring you a guest post from Nicky about the turbulent events of King John’s reign.  It’s also an insight into her research for the sequel to Sheriff and Priest, due out in 2019.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]About the Book

Wimer could have become a monk. Instead, his decision to become a Chaplain – to make his way in the wider world of men – has put his soul in mortal danger.

In 12th Century East Anglia, poor Saxon boys stay poor. It takes an exceptional one to win Henry II’s friendship, and to rise to the job of High Sheriff of all Norfolk…

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Updated cover :)

I just wanted to share this pretty new cover my lovely artist daughter has done for me, adding the awards that Wimer has won 🙂

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00032]

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