With 55000 words on my new book, I am about half way there. I don’t know what’s with historical books, they always seem to be so long. Didn’t quite plan it like this, but as I write, I realize there is still so much that needs to happen. And don’t worry: this will be all in one book. Even though it’s long, I won’t split it.
Btw DOE was meant to be a trilogy from the start, just as this one is envisioned as a single book.
As you know from my previous emails, the writing time at the moment is not only spent by typing words on my laptop but as lots of research too.
I know that the second part of the book needs to happen in a castle, and Switzerland has many of them, one of the most famous ones you might have seen is Chateau de Chillon, at the lake of Geneva. However, since I know the first part of the story will be happening in Rapperswil, also known as the City of Roses, Castle Chillon being 250 km away is too far for my protagonist to reach. Even on a horse.
So I went for a search to find another castle which is a bit closer, and found one that could fit: Castle Lenzburg, some 70 km away. I knew about this castle from many years before because the train I used to take from Zurich to Basel (which was my daily commute when I did my doctorate) passed just under the hill where the castle is situated. Seeing it from below it looked fabulous, but I never actually went in to check it out.
However, with this specific task in mind, I recently did a tour, with a special mention of the early 18th century, so I can fit it into my story.
For many centuries, the Lenzburg castle belonged to the Habsburg family but from the middle of 15 century (1444), Canton Bern took hold of the Castle and a large area around it which was from then on under the influence of a local bailiff. They would come from the aristocratic families of the city of Bern (which is a capital of today’s Switzerland) and they would govern the castle and the surrounding area for about 4 to 6 years, until they were replaced by a new bailiff.
Habsburg family, also known as the House of Habsburg, is one of the most prominent dynasties in Europe, which held the reign over the large part of Europe from 11st (1020) until 1918 when Charles I of Austria renounced his role in state affairs. One of the most famous individuals most people know about is Maria Theresa (1717-1780), who held the power over 40 years, and was “allowed” to be a ruler only because her father Charles VI made a decree that the daughters are allowed to take the throne (as opposed to being handed to a male heir of a brother or other cousins).
The other daughter you might know is Marie Antoinette, who married Luis XVI (when she was 14 btw), and who had an infamous ending in the French Revolution, taking the “punishment” of all the royalty before her.
But as I said, the Castle of Lenzburg is at the rule of Bern at the time the book takes place, and the Habsburg family owning only patches of land of Confederatia Helvetica (CH, today’s Switzerland). Still, they will appear somewhere at some point 😉
Castle Lenzburg turned out to be a gold mine for my story. It has several houses, which were not all built at once, but in 18 century all of them were already there, the last one just being assembled. It has the most fabulous knight house (Ritterhaus), the Clock house, the baroque Bern house, the bailiff house, with a stunning garden overlooking the city of Lenzburg, a large courtyard with a single tree that looks like a crooked hand reaching out of the ground (in winter!), and a dungeon with a two cells and variety of torture weapons.
All in all, this was exactly the castle I was looking for!
So the castle Lenzburg took the role for the second part of the book 🙂
And the story continues…