This week on Medieval Friends, we’re featuring Thomas Motter’s website, thematteroffrance.com. Thomas is fluent in French, and has lived in Paris and Munich. He’s done extensive research on medieval French history with an emphasis on the Chansons de Gestes. Thomas resides in Salt Lake City Utah and is has another novel in the works for 2014.
1.) You lived and studied in France – what specifically drew you to French medieval history as opposed to other periods?
What drew me to French medieval history was the paradign that named the age – the Dark Ages. Not covered at all when I was in school. I knew that it is in man’s nature to keep a record of his history and build/leave behind a legacy. Just because it’s not written down doesn’t mean the sign-posts aren’t out there. Any archeologist will substantiate this hypothesis. My ancestors were French immigrants. I heard the language spoken as a child and thought it was beautiful. I committed to learing it and somehow finding a way to get to Europe; find the sign-posts and connect the dots. Out of that would come a story or two or three or more.
2.) Why did you decide to write about Chansons de Geste?
In college, (many years ago!) I had a professor who, like so many of his peers in institutions of higher learning around the world, spent too much time trying to intellectualize an arcane French Epic Poem called “The Song of Roland”. Was it about Roland? Was it about Ganelon? Was it about Charlemagne? But in the back of the collective mind of his students was the much bigger question always left unanswered, “Who cares? or even better, “What difference does it make?” Well, as my journey through life allowed and as contemporary history continued to unfold, I came to realize, that none of the aforementioned questions made any sense. Only when I asked this question did any of these ancient “”Fairy Folktales” make any sense; What if it was about us! What if there was a grain of truth? Could it be that “the truth” truly is “stranger (and much more relevant and exciting) than fiction!”
3.) What other writing projects do you have coming up for 2014 and will they be focused on medieval France?
The 3rd manuscript in this first trilogy is finished. It will go to print as soon as my illustrator finishes his work on the project. I’ve already begun the first book in my next trilogy about Charlemagne’s Spanish campaigns and his father’s campaigns on the littoral and in the Midi. Everything is still there; the winding, Roman cobbled streets of Narbonne, the Visigoth stronghold of Carcassonne, the citadel in Tortosa, pieces of the Roman road upon which Hannibal and his elephants would have passed over and so much much more. As a retired military officer who was steeped in tactics, it’s easy to understand and recognize where and how topography, mountain ranges, towns, rivers would have been used related to known events. As a by-product, hopefully people will come to understand the origins of the conflict between Islam and Christendom along with many other current sociel issues that confront us daily.
To find out more about Thomas’s website and current projects, please visit: www.thematteroffrance.com