FOUR HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

Writing is a solitary business. It is rarely a group effort. The writer needs to immerse him or herself in the story, live with the characters, breathe the air that they breathe. There is no room for team talks. Yes, the writer can bounce ideas off other people and ask for opinions, but basically it is down to one person—the author.
So I was rather surprised, but pleased, when I received an email from two novelists who also write historical fiction, suggesting we get together to do some cross-promotion. Wonderful idea. Especially so because they also write about Moorish Spain, an area of fiction that is largely neglected in the English speaking world of the historical novel.
Then a fourth writer joined us and now we are a band of four. They say two heads are better than one, well four heads are definitely much better. And I love working in a team. So the next few months should be fun. Maybe it will boost all our sales, maybe not. But it should be an enjoyable and creative experience.

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So who are these lovely people? The idea originally came from Lisa Yarde, author of a six-part series on the Nasrid dynasty of Granada, a family that has been an obsession of hers for the last twenty-three years. Now that she has completed THE SULTANA SERIES she is turning her attention to a different part of Moorish Spain.

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The idea of cross-promotion was quickly taken up by John D Cressler. He is Schlumberger Chair Professor in Electronics at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and also a writer of historical fiction. His series of books is called ANTHEMS OF AL-ANDALUS and his third book in the series, entitled FORTUNE’S LAMENT, is due to be launched in a couple of weeks, on the 18th April.

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The next person to join us was David Penny, an established writer who in recent years has taken to writing historical fiction set in Granada at the end of the Moorish occupation. He has just released the fifth book in his series THE THOMAS BERRINGTON HISTORICAL MYSTERIES.

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So that just leaves me, Joan Fallon. My own AL-ANDALUS SERIES covers a narrow window in time, from 940AD to 1013AD and the action for all three books is set in either Córdoba or the ruined city of Madinat al-Zahra, which is only five miles outside it.
Between us, we cover a great deal of the 700 years when Spain was under the rule of the Moors and explore all aspects of that rich and exotic life, from the political to the domestic, from the gradual reconquest by Christian forces to the internal power struggles between the Moors, from the early convivencia between Jews, Moors and Christians to the final expulsions. Our novels are written to inform but also to delight the reader, through love stories, intrigue and mysteries, with characters that will stay with you long after the book is closed.

So you can expect to hear more from the al-Andalus team over the next few months. Watch this space.

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Joan Fallon is a writer and novelist living in Spain.

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