Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Fact or Fiction: Writing about Wales

Cwmgwili near CaerfyrddinI first began writing romantic fiction about Wales after my first visit. I little understood the country or the culture – definitely not the language – but I was inspired by the astonishing fact that, in a country which is so little known outside its borders, a vibrant culture in a Celtic language that has been thriving for many, many centuries and all in a very modern country. This is not a tribal community untouched by modern technology. This is a 21st Century land that has held onto its culture and language with so much success and yet, few people know that Wales exists.

I fell in love with the language and that led to falling in love with the people and their culture. I don’t write factually based historical fiction. I think the best way to describe my novels about 9th and 10th Century Wales is Cultural Romances – love stories based on cultural and social circumstances upon which I can build a fictional existence for my characters.


The Holly, the Ivy, the Yew

While researching for my family saga, Pendyffryn, I read several interpretations of The Mabingoi – including Gwyn Jones and Elizabeth Walton.

Yew Tunnel at Aberglasney

1000 year old Yew Tunnel at Aberglasney

My 1955 copy of Welsh Legend and Folk-Tales is tattered and spent but gave me a fresh look at one story I thought I knew until I read the source legend. I included this story in my contribution to Celtic Queens, Donna Goode and Lisa Campbell’s blog in June 2010.


The Red Lady and Bells of the Deep

Paviland Cave on the GowerIn 1822, on the Gower Peninsula, Daniel and John Davies, two of many 19thC Victorian archaeologists, discovered the bones of strange animals and a mammoth’s tusk in Goat’s Hole Cave. The following year, William Buckland (Professor of Geology at Oxford and Dean of Westminster Abbey) discovered the skeletal remains of a human who became the subject of nearly two centuries of speculation.

Buckland first suggested the remains were those of a customs official, murdered by smugglers.  Before he published his findings, he changed his mind and presented a woman of ill-repute, the Red Lady of Paviland. These remains have since been radiocarbon dated and DNA evidence has clarified much of the mystery but, for well over a century, the Red Lady of Paviland held an exulted position: the first human fossil to have been found anywhere in the world.