GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Jacey Bedford Confession: I write both science fiction (space opera) and historical fantasy. | I Smell Sheep

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Jacey Bedford Confession: I write both science fiction (space opera) and historical fantasy.

Confession: I write both science fiction (space opera) and historical fantasy. 

The two are not mutually exclusive. I can easily switch from one to the other. My first published trilogy is space opera (the Psi-Tech trilogy) and my second trilogy completes in November with the publication of the third book, ROWANKIND.

With space opera, you can largely make stuff up as long as you are consistent and logical, but with historical fantasy, you've got to get your history right. It's the solid background of history that grounds your book, even if you inject elements of magic. It may be that your history has diverged from 'real' history at a specific point and therefore everything is now one sideways step from the real timeline, or it may be that real history is happening around your storyline with the addition of (say) magic.

That's what has happened in my Rowankind trilogy, set in 1800-1802.

I try to get my history right. This involves a lot of research because I'm not a history scholar. I have to fact-check everything, from the Napoleonic Wars, to the best timber to make the hull of a sailing ship. (Bermuda teak if you want to know.)

So I'd been ultra-careful when writing ROWANKIND and its predecessors, WINTERWOOD, and SILVERWOLF. I had to research Georgian England, from street maps of Plymouth and London in the relevant periods, to costume, transport, housing (right down to available paint colours), and the length of time it took for the mail coach to reach London from Barnsley.

But sometimes you need to know what you don't know in order to be able to look it up.

ROWANKIND was finished and delivered to my publisher (DAW in the USA). I was waiting for the page proofs, which is the final stage that the author has any involvement. With page proofs, you can't add or subtract a great deal. You can correct typos and make minor adjustments to punctuation, but you can't add in a new scene or even a substantial paragraph. At the climax of the book, my main characters are observing Parliament debating [something… but if I tell you what, I'd have to shoot you]. I was happy with the way the book ending was working… and then… I heard an article on BBC Radio4 about women being allowed to view parliamentary proceedings for the first time in the 1830s. And I had women viewing Parliament in 1802. (Not only viewing but interrupting the proceedings from a non-existent public gallery.)

That may not seem like such a huge mistake to you, but you can bet your bottom dollar, that someone would have pointed it out to me within a day or publication. Luckily a quick email to my publisher got me dispensation to make the necessary alteration at the page proof stage. Whew! Saved by the BBC. I love Radio4.

by Jacey Bedford
November 27, 2018
479 pages
Publisher: DAW

"Swashbuckling action, folklore and characters to care about: this is an authentic English take on historical fantasy, magic and class." - Kari Sperring, author of The Grass King's Concubine.

What do you do with a feral wolf shapechanger who won't face up to his responsibilities? How do you contain magical creatures accidentally loosed into Britain's countryside? How do you convince a crew of barely-reformed pirates to go straight when there's smuggling to be done? How do you find a lost notebook full of deadly spells while keeping out of the clutches of its former owner? How do you mediate between a mad king and the seven lords of the Fae?

Ross and Corwen, she a witch and he a shapechanger, have several problems to solve but they all add up to the same thing. How do you make Britain safe for magic users?

It's 1802. A tenuous peace with France is making everyone jumpy. The Fae, and therefore Ross and Corwen at their behest, have unfinished business with Mad King George, who may not be as mad as everyone thinks--or if he is, he's mad in a magical way. The Fae have left mankind alone up to now because they don't care to get involved with mortals, but don't be fooled into thinking they're harmless.

"It's like an irresistible smorgasbord of all my favourite themes and fantasy elements all in one place, and a strong, compelling female protagonist was the cherry on the top." - Bibliosanctum

About the Author:

Jacey Bedford has a string of short story publication credits on both sides of the Atlantic. She lives a thousand feet up on the edge of the Yorkshire Pennines in a 200-year-old stone house. She has been a librarian, postmistress, rag-doll maker, and a folk singer in an a cappella trio.


  1. Oh geeze! Glad you were able to fix it!

    1. Phew! Yes. It was pretty close to being too late, but Josh (managing editor at DAW) said I could make the changes. It's amazing what random facts you can pick up while getting dressed in the morning to the sounds of BBC Radio 4. I like talk-radio for that.