History – don’t you just love it?
I’ve written all sorts over the years. Nowadays I’m best known for my romantic comedies, like my new book, What Happens at the Beach… , but my first love was historical novels. A few years ago I got hooked on the Middle Ages and I started reading everything I could get my hands on about that period (roughly from the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 to the discovery of America). In particular, I found myself fascinated by a group of people called the Cathars. Never heard of them? Well, you’re not alone. They’re a well-kept secret.
The Cathars were a religious sect that doesn’t look that different to modern eyes from mainstream Catholicism but, back in the thirteenth century, their religious unorthodoxy (and most importantly their refusal to pay taxes to the Vatican) seriously annoyed the pope. As a result, a crusader army was sent into their part of southern France with instructions that were brutally simple. Stamp out the heresy. The pope responsible for the ensuing genocide basked in the dubious name of Innocent III. Thousands died and the region was laid waste.
So why, I hear you ask, is Trevor rabbiting on about events that took place seven hundred years ago? Well, you see, it’s like this. What Happens at the Beach… takes place down there, in that part of France. It’s way down south, near the border with Spain, and it’s one of the loveliest and sunniest parts of that wonderful country. The best-known cities down there are Toulouse, Carcassonne and Perpignan and the coastal area around Collioure has always been a favourite of artists, including big names like Matisse and Picasso. It’s a land of long sandy beaches, rolling hills and valleys running up into the high Pyrenees and some of the most spectacular castles in the world.
Natalie, our heroine, finds herself working for an author who is trying to write a book about the Cathars and their fabled treasure. Whether this treasure ever existed and what it comprised is still very much open to debate, but, for a writer, it’s irresistible. In fact, if I ever decide to make a change from romcoms, I might well have a go at a thriller set in that region, dealing with Cathar treasure.
We used to go on holiday down there every year and I know the area well. I do a lot of cycling and the feeling you get when mountain-biking along a tortuous path through the scrubby undergrowth of wild thyme, rosemary and vicious thorn bushes is amazing. Sometimes you can imagine that the last person to follow this path before you was a medieval knight on his massive, powerful warhorse. If you listen carefully, you can kid yourself that you can still hear the creak of leather and the clank of steel. Climb up to some of the ruined castles, not just the big name ones like Montségur or Pierrepertuse, but tumbledown ruins, invaded by brambles, with snakes and lizards sunning themselves in the rubble, and you can almost feel the lingering presence of the terrified occupants as the invading army drew near and they realised they were fighting for their lives.
I truly love history and I hope some of my fascination for that terrible period of history comes across and inspires you when you read What Happens at the Beach… . Don’t worry, it’s not all history, but hopefully just enough to whet your appetite.
About the book
Published: 11th July 2016 (HarperCollins/Carina UK)
For the perfect summer romance…
It’s finally time for Natalie Dryden to decide what she really wants! After ditching her sparkling engagement ring, and her ghastly fiancé, she jets off for the sun-kissed shores of Southern France – the only place that has ever truly felt like home. For the first time ever, Natalie is determined to forget all about men and follow her dreams!
…head to the French coast!
Only, avoiding the male population isn’t quite so easy, especially when she meets smooth-talking Philippe and gorgeous fisherman, Remy! But then Natalie, quite literally, bumps into brooding millionaire Mark whilst swimming in the glittering azure-blue bay – and her life is turned upside-down.
Love might be off the cards for Natalie, yet suddenly she finds herself in her dream job and working with her dream man! But is it all too good to be true…?
The prize is one ebook copy of What Happens at the Alps – enter here: Rafflecopter
About the author
Firstly, my name isn’t T A. It’s Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…
I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.
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