We read any novel set in our period, and are especially interested in stories involving witches, shape-shifters, heretics, mystics or other medieval outsiders.
We are not really interested in detective stories that just happen to be set in the medieval period but that could as well be set in any other period including the present. These are often referred to as "medieval mysteries", but for us the mystery in a medieval mystery has to reflect the medieval world view and be distinctly medieval in character.
We are looking for the magical, the mystical, the inexplicable, and we want it really to happen - or to seem to the characters in the book to happen - for all it remains unexplained.
The author will at least appear to believe in all the mysteries which people of that time believed in and took quite literally.
He/She will also have created a world in which the reader gets lost, then comes to feel at home, and by the end of the book doesn't want to leave ...
Only when one of us comes across such a book is it reviewed on this site.
"Good stories make you feel you've been through a satisfying, complete experience. You've cried or laughed or both. You finish the story feeling you've learned something about life or about yourself."
Christopher Vogler, The Writer's Journey
A Note on Historical Fiction and Historical Fantasy
As Towse Harrison said in The Historical Novels Review [Issue 16, May 2001], writing of The Wolf Sisters, which had been classified by the editor of the magazine as Historical Fantasy, "Is it even fantasy I could ask? If a man sat in a firelit Anglo-Saxon hall and told the tale of Beowulf then I suspect that most of his listeners would believe the story might be true. Shape-shifters, dragons and demons? I can go with that in an age where Christianity has only a tentative hold on the hearts and minds of men and women."
Favourite Medieval Sleuth Survey
up to THREE)
THE ONLY REAL GENRE
"The idea that thrillers are peripheral to literature drives me nuts. The thriller concept is why humans invented story-telling, thousands of years ago. The world was perilous and full of misery, so they wanted the vicarious experience of surviving danger. It's the only real genre and all the other stuff has grown on the side of it like barnacles."
Lee Child, interviewed for Seven magazine, The Daily Telegraph
BORN THAT WAY
"Its none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way."