Books, books and more books…

Life is very busy at the moment. As well as preparing for a very important and life changing family event, I’m tutoring at Swinburne University and  working on the sequel of Falling Pomegranate Seeds: The Duty of Daughters.

Fiction writing means to surrender to your imagination. By surrendering, I dream my stories onto the page. I need silence to work. I need to hear myself, and make use of my five senses. My whole body is involved in the creative process. I am forever testing out my text, tasting, savouring words, to see if they make me vibrate. I put myself in the same space as my characters, to feel their pain, their joy – their experience of being.

For me, writing a first draft is like throwing down clay onto the a potter’s wheel.  I try very hard to avoid editing at this stage. When the words flow, I just charge ahead, and try not to twiddle my thumbs by looking behind. Editing can wait until a few hills of narrative have been climbed and vanquished.  Then I shape and shape my clay until I happy with the result.

Anyhow – I just thought I’d share with you the best books I’ve read in my quest to construct my imagined world Katherine of Aragon.

Since I am 100% certain I will be adding more books to my list for the the sequel, I have created a new page on my website for those books.

Books to do with her formative years in Castile.

Isabel the Queen: Life and Times by Peggy K. Liss.

(Excellent – I have the first edition…)

Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen by Warren H. Carroll.

I really, really enjoyed this. It is one of those biographies when you realize that a biographer can really fall in love with their subject.

Isabel la Católica, Queen of Castile: Critical Essays.

Isabel La Católica, Queen of Castile was the book where I found the footnote about Beatriz Galindo. My imagination took over after that.

Here’s my review of this book.

The Art of the Islamic Garden by Emma Clark.

I emerged from this book utterly yearning for an Islamic garden!

Tales of the Alhambra Paperback by Washington Irving.

Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada by Washington Irving Before life opened the door to me visiting Spain in 2007, Irving’s work really helped my imagination to construct Catalina’s world.

Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain Paperbackby Chris Lowney

My review. 

Moorish Spain Paperback by Richard Fletcher,

The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook Paperback by David M. Glitz.

On the way to the port of Corunna, Catalina went to Santiago as a pilgrim, taking advantage of the indulgence of that year. While The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago didn’t answer my question about whether an unwed princess would dress the part of a pilgrim and go through all the various and expected rituals before entering Saint James, this book really has made me yearn to experience * the road* too. If that doesn’t happen, this work I found especially helpful in descriptions of landscape, fauna and flora, etc…

The classic biography of Catherine of Aragon. I used this biography extensively in my research.

Catherine, the Queen by Mary M. Luke

Recommended to me by fellow author C.W. Gortner, I found this book a great read!

Ruth M. Anderson, Hispanic Costume 1480-1530

An absolute gem of a book!

Woman as Healer

The Trotula

Medieval and early renaissance Medicine

Roy Strong, Feast: History of Grand Eating

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