Since ‘Reconquista‘ was published I have received lots of kind comments from readers. Thank you for all your encouragement, I am pleased like readers like the book and I will put all the questions and answers into an ‘Ask the Author’ page, but the question I am asked the most is ‘When will the next book be out?’
Of course, people want to know what happens to their favourite characters and ‘Reconquista‘ ends with lots of things unresolved. What will Nathan decide to do? Will he leave Jerez with the former galley slaves? What happens to Don Reza, will Atta and Uncle Taf rescue him from the bandits’ stronghold in the mountains? How does Rebecca respond to Ben’s proposal of marriage? Will Simon be left all alone?
I can’t answer most of these questions ( and I won’t answer others ). This is, in part because I don’t yet know how everything will play out. I do know some of the answers, but don’t know how they are arrived at. My characters may surprise me. This is all part and parcel of writing a sequel.
Right now I am writing an out-line, chapter by chapter, of the plot. Once I have this skeleton I will begin to put flesh upon it, showing how my characters develop and react to events and to each other. They have all changed since they were last all together in their home town, after all, and need to get to know one another again. And there are the reactions of the towns-people to cope with. The ‘snippet’ at the end of ‘Reconquista‘ show readers some of what Rebecca meets when she settles down to life in the Plaza Plateros house with Simon.
I also need to do a lot more research, especially about the mountains to the east of Jerez de la Frontera. The peaks around Ubrique and Grazalema are part of a protected nature reserve, so will not have changed that much for many years. The pine forests there are very old. It is to the fastnesses of the Sierra Pinar and El Endrinal we go, to the acrstic landscape of Evergreen Gorge and Ever Dry Valley, the disinctive peak of San Cristobal and Torreon, the highest point in Cadiz province. There are deep caves and sharp limestone ridges.
Of course there were no tarmac roads in the thirteenth century, the roads were either old Roman paved thoroughfares or dirt tracks and travel was much, much slower. In ‘Reconquista‘ Atta had maps to help him cross these mountains, but still it took him two months. The maps weren’t detailed either, indeed, this area wasn’t mapped properly until much later. Only locals would know the hidden valleys and deep gorges.
The mountains are, of course, also the natural frontier between the west of Al Andalus, now ruled over by King Alfonso and the east of Al Andalus, ruled over by Emir Muhammed of Granada. So expect some confrontation!
I will be returning to Jerez in ten days time, with a view to finding out even more about this landscape I’ll write about it when I return.
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