How do you write thrillers set in 16th century English monasteries while living in 21st century New York City? By trooping to the northern tip of Manhattan to haunt the exquisite gardens, tombs and chapels of The Cloisters. This museum helped me to write both The Crown—a finalist for the Crime Writers Association’s Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award—and the sequel, The Chalice, from this side of the Atlantic.
The protagonist is a young Dominican novice pledged to a priory in Dartford. I couldn’t visit it: the priory was among the many beautiful buildings demolished in Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. But fortunately there is no better place in North America to get in the medieval mood than The Cloisters. The five places and pieces there that most inspired me are… Read More