Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!
My current project is a series of fantasy novelettes which began with Dragon Child. While not true period pieces, the stories are heavily influenced by the life, language and customs of medieval England. When I set out to write a dragon story, it seemed fitting to place it in the days of kings, castles, and mythical beasts. As a piece of fiction, I am free to alter the particulars to fit the needs of my story, yet I wanted to keep it anchored in history.
Let me tell you, researching the medieval period has been an interesting experience! I needed information on nearly everything: language, clothing, food, occupations, religion, government, common names, housing, transportation, weapons, education, marriage, childbirth, farming, entertainment, and monastic life. Mind you, this partial list only covers the first two stories in the series!
This era is often romanticized in book and movies, but life was short and hard, holding few comforts – particularly for peasants. Did you know:
- 30% of children died before age 5
- peasants shared their one-room windowless homes with their animals
- bathing was rare and streets were filled with excrement
- medical care was virtually non-existent
- average lifespan was around 45
- marriageable age was 12 for girls, 14 for boys
I purposely ignored or altered some of the disturbing/depressing facts when building the world for my stories, but the medieval period provided a wonderful foundation. It’s easier, I think, to imagine dragons living in a mostly forgotten age of long ago, and it’s certainly more fun to read and write. In addition, this strange “new” world of pseudo Middle Ages provides me with a much needed break from contemporary settings.