It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to sit down on New Years Eve and write a little something to review what’s happened in the year that’s coming to an end. And here we are again. It’s been…well, it’s been a year full of ups and downs and it’s been exciting in many, many ways.
Publication wise, 2017 has been wonderful. I started out the year with an article in Tudor Life Magazine on English Royalty and the Borgias, for The Tudor Society (an amazing website with loads of cool stuff for members. Swing on by and sign up) before signing a contact for my second book, Girolamo Savonarola: The Renaissance Preacher.
My Savonarola Journey throughout 2017 was just amazing and it’s something I will never forget. In May, my partner and I went to Florence for our holiday – except it wasn’t just a holiday, it was a research trip as well and my opportunity to walk in Savonarola’s footsteps. We spent our days wandering the hallways of San Marco and the Palazzo Vecchio, we stood before Savonarola’s memorial plaque, I sat in both of Savonarola’s cells, I stepped into churches and the Cathedral where he had delivered his fiery sermons. And during that week I felt closer to my subject than I ever had done before. But it was also an opportunity to drink in other parts of Renaissance history – we walked in the footsteps of the Medici, of great artists and scientists. It truly was a wonderful week over in Tuscany, a week of history, plenty of walking, lots of wine and amazing food!
June saw the release of my first ever online course – The History of the Borgias – a very brief course giving an overview of the infamous family for anyone looking to learn the basics. I certainly learned a lot myself in doing the course – and these things are always learning curves. Confidence, it seems, is my issue when it comes to speaking in front of a camera and that is something that I know I need to work on. Confidence, after all, is the key behind public speaking and that is definitely something I need to look to when being in the field of history. It will come! I’m still super pleased with the outcome of the course, though, and really looking forward to working with Medieval Courses in the future (watch this space for news on that front!)
Girolamo Savonarola: The Renaissance Preacher was released into the world on 8 August 2017 and to date is my proudest achievement. That probably sounds really big-headed, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. It was a long and eye-opening journey from start to finish and seeing the finished product in my hands was just…well it was mind-blowing, really. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has brought and reviewed it so far and a thank you to everyone planning to read it! I’d also like to extend a huge thank you to my wonderful publishers MadeGlobal for giving me the chance to publish with them again – I couldn’t imagine a better, more professional, bunch of people to work with!
In October my partner and I took ourselves off to the BBC History Weekend at Winchester where we had an absolutely lovely evening listening to talks by Ian Mortimer and the fabulous Janina Ramirez – I even got books signed by both of them as well as pictures with both! I even shyly gave Dr Ramirez a copy of The Renaissance Preacher. Both talks were absolutely wonderful and we both learned a lot. I was particularly struck by the way the Reformation really began and how it linked all across Europe.
This year I also hosted two very big interviews with two gentleman who are both heroes of mine – the fantastic Dan Jones stopped by to give some advice on how not to procrastinate and tell some stories about how it was he got into history. And then, Mark Ryder dropped in for an interview in which we talked about his role as Cesare in Canal +’s Borgia Faith & Fear, his experiences playing the infamous warlord and which historical characters he’d like to play in future. A huge thank you to both Dan Jones and Mark Ryder for stopping by this year. I also gave my first ever interview over on Adrienne Dillard’s website, talking about the release of The Renaissance Preacher, my ways of getting over writers block and who I’d invite, living or dead, to a dinner part. If you can, do go and pick up Adrienne’s books as she a fantastic author and a lovely person – Adrienne’s books can be found on Amazon.
All in all it’s been a very successful year and I hope that such positivity can carry on into 2018. There are a lot of exciting things planned for 2018, the first of which being a trip to Rome in February. This is a research trip mainly, for what will end up being my third book. I can’t say anything yet on the book, but watch this space for details! I also turn…the dreaded thirty!
I’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. If you’re going out tonight then see in the new year safely and in the same way, if you’re staying at home and watching Jools Holland then stay safe and enjoy yourselves. I shall be cracking open the Prosecco and, if Jools Holland gets too much then I’ll probably end up playing video games. I’ve written my last words for 2018 both here on the blog and for my latest project so here it goes…
See you all next year!