So I did this masterclass on the 20th November with Spread the Word, which was great fun. The people in my group were a terrifyingly accomplished lot and we had a good discussion on the sources that are available to a historical novelist, and I remember at one point saying that one of the great things about research was coming across something that sparks your interest, then following it. I’ve been following my own advice the last few weeks which has led me to knowing rather more secret societies, freemasonry and zombies than, well than I did before. I even visited the Freemason’s Hall in London. Very friendly bunch, considering, the Freemasons. It is an amazing building with an excellent bookshop, even though I was slightly disconcerted by the teddy bears in little masonic sweaters.
I hope I’m not going to give away too much about the plot by mentioning what I am researching, but I doubt it. So much will change in the writing of the book and Book 4 wont make an appearance till 2012 anyway. One thing I do know is it is not going to be like any of Dan Brown’s work, even if I am playing in a corner of his sandbox.
Anyway, all this lead me into reading various alchemical texts found in renaissance grimoires, and one thing I found, to my surprise, was that the poem I wrote for Gwyn (the music and its performance were both stunning, by the way), has a definite tang of alchemy to it. It shows how pervasive and universal a lot of that symbolism is in our culture, and also how when you keep things fairly abstract, what meanings can be poured into a piece of writing after the fact. Not sure exactly what my conclusions are, but its got me staring out into the snow in a way that at least looks profound.
I hope there might be a link to a recording of the performance at some point. While Ned and I were bumbling home after I found myself coming to a sudden halt outside Waterloo and saying to him, ‘Bloody hell, I know what they’ll be playing at my funeral now.’