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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Introducing: Friday Fun Facts

For the last twelve months, I have very much enjoyed "Taking Tea" on Friday with a wide range of guests, all with a fascinating story to tell.

But it is time for a bit of a change and from this Friday 8 August, I will be introducing "Friday Fun Facts" with my first guest, Ashley York.

In the course of researching our stories, every author comes across a fascinating bit of trivia/history that may or may not make it into our stories. In fact really good research should be unobtrusive, just fade into the background of the main action.

How many books have you read where you are given a history lesson by the author or told everything you never needed to know about the rigging of a sailing ship because the author spent hours researching it and absolutely HAS to let you know all about it.

So on Fridays from now on, I am asking my guests to share a bit of research trivia with you with the added bonus of showing how they wove into their stories.

I hope this is not too onerous a task for my guests... but I am very much looking forward to reading their posts.

And I suppose in the interests of fairness I should share a fact with you. Here's a short one from my researches into CLAIMING THE REBEL'S HEART...

"Hoist with his own petard"... means to be hurt or damaged by an instrument of your own making.

It derives from an explosive device called a "petard" that was nailed to the door of a besieged house/castle and detonated to allow the besiegers ingress. Of course the poor sod who had the job of nailing the petard to the door did not enjoy a long life span. Firstly he had to get close enough to install the bomb and if he survived the rain of gunfire from the besieged, the bomb itself was inherently unstable and liable to blow up. 
It was, of course, Shakespeare who first coined the phrase (Hamlet). 

And how did I use it?
... (Luke) turned away from her and glanced over the battlements. He turned to Melchior and said, “Blakelocke, bring fire to bear on that party of men. They are carrying petards.”
“What's a petard?” Deliverance asked, cautiously rising to her feet again.
“If you'd read your books, you would know it is a metal object shaped a bit like a hat, that is full of powder. Our friends would like to nail it to the gate. They will then light the fuse and duck as the gate is blown in. Here they come in force.” He raised his voice so it could be heard along the length of the wall. “Fire at will!”


2 comments:

  1. Hi Alison - how fun to know what 'hoist with his own petard' means. Your Friday 'fun facts' day is a great idea.
    In my Viking romance, Viking Sword: A Fall of Yellow Fire - The Stranded One, I had to ~avoid~ a 'fun fact': the 'maidensong'. The Viking goddess of love, Freya, adored poems and songs about love, but in many parts of the Viking world, "maidensongs" were forbidden. Love was considered the most powerful force in Midgard, and that made the songs too powerful to sing. It was feared a maiden might be ensnared by a love song and tempted beyond enduring to yield her innocence or elope with the wrong man. So even though I had a skald (minstrel) traveling with my Vikings, he could not sing maidensongs because of the maiden heroine and the taboo.

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  2. Thanks for calling past, Mairi. There are so many erroneous facts about vikings ( horns on helmets). But I understand it is hard to research the viking period because they did not have a written tradition. I

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