By Jeri Westerson
With my newest book coming out October 15 (SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST), I started reflecting on my Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series.
The great thing about writing my series seems to be the freedom it affords me to write pretty much whatever I like, as long as it still carries with it the "Medieval Noir" sensibilities. That means that my stories follow a hard-boiled detective model, even though they are set in the Middle Ages. It's my own little sub-sub-genre, my own little kingdom.
And my number six, SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST, due out October 15, is largely a treasure
hunt all over London, instigated by a Moriarity-type villain in search of the fabled Philosopher's Stone.
Number seven, that needs to find a home with a new publisher, THE SILENCE OF STONES, (in the outlining stages) involves no murder at all, but a twisting story of a missing "relic" of sorts that Crispin must find or Jack, held in captivity by the king himself, will die. Kathrine Swynford, Lancaster's longtime mistress and eventual wife shows up in this one, as well as three witches from Shakespeare's Scottish play.
In number eight, yet to be outlined, TEARS OF A MAIDEN, is a medieval courtroom drama, with Jack doing the investigating while Crispin languishes in jail.
To be sure, each book still has the hard-boiled tropes of a detective down on his luck, a sucker for a dame in trouble, a hard-hitting action hero who's not afraid to use his fists. And they also have that elusive relic or venerated object, the McGuffin everyone is trying to get their hands on, either pivotal to the plot or just a red herring. Steeped in the time period of fourteenth century London, we can't help but get encompassed by the politics of the time as well. Corrupt officials, rich nobles passing laws in order to stay rich, the ultra religious faction trying to force its will on the reformers...is any of this sounding familiar? Strange how the more I research the more it looks like little changes over time.
I've got other things planned for future books. How about a beautiful con artist and thief? That's coming up. A black comedy? That's coming up, too. The possibilities are endless.I have a definite timeline in mind and know where we are headed for Crispin. His story is by no means over yet.