It all started with my Great Aunt Gertrude. Having investigated her stories about John Stanley and his first wife the “Mysterious” Frenchwoman, I knew from the Isle of Man archieves that John Stanley had served in the Black Prince’s army, in the very junion position of Squire to a distant cousin Lord James Audley.
Things then happened very fast for John Stanley. He succeeded the Black Prince himself as tournament champion of Europe and was made a senior administrator in Ireland at a relatively young age. Of course he was raised to the position of King of the Isle of Man at a time when the Pope had to approve such appointments, which made it quite unusual.
As I mixed research with writing snippets of the story line which was taking place in my head every extension of the story line became more and more concerned which how he rose to a position of power and influence.
I learned that John Stanley fell under the influence of John of Gaunt, second in line to the throne. I then learned of Gaunt’s relationships with the Perez and Roet sisters. Gaunt also had an involvement with his fathers mistress, Alice Perrers. I speculated that Alice was in fact another Perez (Perrers). All these women exerted great power and influence in the mid 14th century, which is, in itself surprising.
From these threads a cohesive story line eventually emerged. I have preserved even the very early plotting exercises in the hope that they may be interesting, perhaps even helpful, to other writers.