Digging deeper…

Every time one ‘picks up a pen’ to write a book, one has to learn about something. One researches. In order to give one’s setting some sort of veracity, one digs up the detail…


The story of Guillaume (Book Two of The Triptych Chronicle) takes place within the religious and merchant communities of twelfth century Lyon. The man himself is a returned crusader, a fletcher by trade, an former archer in service. He becomes a manager and guard for Ame Clochard, whose deceased husband built a successful textile trading company. His friend and companion within that house is a Jewish woman, daughter of one of Amé’s business partners.


Already there are things I need to know:

  • Lyon in the twelfth century
  • Religious communities (the Church and heresies)
  • The Third Crusade
  • Fletching
  • Medieval Judaism and the role of women within Judaism at the time
  • The textile trade

Thus little snippets began to appear out of the blue.


  • I discovered an Italian banking family, the Guardagni, who become extremely important in Lyon at the time…
  • I found that fletching involves horn, linen and feathers…
  • I found that Lyon has the most marvellous manmade tunnels called traboules which connect the town to the river and existed from Roman times…
  • I found that the Archbishop of Lyon was one of the most important men in France and was also a member of the powerful Forez family in Lyon…


All of these little facts are like the warp and weft of good cloth. One can gently tease the thread out, separate it and see that whilst on its own it has merit, as part of the weave it lends greater strength and depth to the whole.


Sometimes, a little bit of knowledge can give a story an edge…


For example, the so-called twelfth century heretics, the Waldensians, (the Poor of Lyon) emerged from the spiritual endeavours of a former merchant called Pierre Vaudès (also called Peter Waldo) and in his lifetime, he was believed to be the first man to have the Bible translated from Latin into the common tongue. This fact has settled in my imagination as a very important part of the puzzle that is my narrative.


And whilst the fabric of the narrative unrolls, Guillaume paces through all of this, most likely with hand on half-drawn sword. It only remains to see whom he meets, whom he keeps by his side and whom he loses as the plot develops.

(NB: I’m more than fortunate to have a dear friend, Brian Cobb, living in Lyon. He is as fascinated with the history of the area as is my narrative, and through footwork and contacts, he has provided me with information that is making my imagination shiver!)