Jill MacLean


Jill MacLean, Author, medieval novel - photo from Luttrell Psalter

Photo from Luttrell Psalter
Courtesy of the British Library

The image is from the Luttrell Psalter, a book of psalms commissioned by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, a wealthy landowner whose home manor was in Lincolnshire but who owned property throughout England. The psalter dates from 1320-1340, was the work of one scribe and five or more artists, none of whom are known by name, and contains an exceptionally large number of images of everyday life that are inventive, detailed, often humorous and, probably, idealized. The psalter also abounds in “grotesques,” wildly imaginative combinations of animals and humans.

You can see all the images in the psalter in the digital version on the British Library’s website.

I chose this image because my protagonist, Edmund of Flintbourne, is an archer. Note my use of the present tense – he’s very much alive in my head.

I love writing. It can be fulfilling, obsessive, exasperating, exciting and nerve-wracking – all on the same morning. It’s always a challenge.

After the publication of my fifth book for young people, I felt I was getting in a rut, that I needed a new direction – but what? Gradually, into that (frightening) vacuum arose my longtime fascination with the medieval period. I searched out historians who specialized in rural England. I travelled to Berkshire, the county where I was born, for the setting. And finally, I took the plunge (very frightening) and started writing a novel, for adults, set in the 14 th century.

If you’d like to know what else I do besides tapping words onto a blank screen, you can find out more about me here. Interested in taking a quick look at my previous publications? Click here.

Then there’s Book Talk where I post a blog about various aspects of the writing process or about books I’ve read that have really grabbed me. You’re always welcome to join the conversation!

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