You came to me with an impressive word count of 170,000 words. What kept you motivated whilst writing? Any productivity tips for your fellow writers?

Interesting question, at one time my work was featured in a film made by the British Productivity Council. However I am not sure that means I know anything about writing productivity.

The current word count is around  500,000 words. At present all you have seen is book one.

I did  a three year course in profession writing and I continue to mix with other authors. i am only too aware that many of them suffer from writer’s block. It is something which has never bothered me.

I believe that the difference is that I work a normal working week  9-5 Monday to Friday

To me writing is a job.

I do not wait to be inspired. I start work at nine every morning and I only take half an hour for lunch.  In fact I do rely on inspiration but it often emerges from some routine writing task which has to be done anyway.

A weakness is that I prefer the research and scene plotting more than I do writing itself. Therefore I ration the time spent on these activities.

Rules are meant to be broken however.

I do not write words until the plot is well defined. If I become dissatisfied with the plot I stop writing. Then within that plot I identify key scenes. Under the influence of a drama teacher I create a story board  and draw images of the characters taking part in these key scenes.

When the plot is again well established I start writing again.  This early writing is the 10% inspiration, the revisions  are the 90% perspiration. A cliche, but it is true.

I enter into deadlines with third parties; with my son who is also my Webmaster, with my readers, with my editor, Clair Wingfield. To meet deadlines it is necessary to have internal milestones which must be realistic but challenging.

Because of the underlying structure, passages, complete scenes or even chapters can be moved around for maximum effect.

You discovered  the repetition of the scene where the girls are studying Aristotle, which is a case in point. In this instance I had mistakenly copied the scene rather than moving it. I think it had been moved several times.

The rapid movement of “Don Fernandino” when we decided  there was a need for a break in “the Devils Agents” was another example of how structure can help.

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The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.