I suppose I ought to say a little bit about why I love the medieval period so much. It started when I was a small child and lived in what was really a medieval village with the church - built by the Black Prince, King Richard's father - at one end of the high street and the castle with its moat at the other. It doesn't need much imagination to make up stories about what might have happened in a place like that.

I gained an M.A. from the University of East Anglia and taught for the Open University on the Humanities Foundation course in subjects as diverse as history, philosophy, music and religion.

Since then I have written many plays and contemporary romances as well as the libretti for several chamber operas. I ran a lunchtime theatre in York above a medieval coaching inn, have written for street theatre groups and worked with installation artists on various projects.

I am now writing the Abbess of Meaux series of historical mystery novels set in fourteenth century Europe. I'm pleased to be able to draw on travels in France and Tuscany and bring together my interests in music, politics and history.

The first in the Abbess of Meaux series was published in 2008. Followed by The Red Velvet Turnshoe a year later when Hildegard crossed the Alps. She was back home in York for The Law of angels and the following year off down to Westminster with Alexander Neville's cavalcade to see King Richard open parliament. Meanwhile she fell for a London bad boy involved in the spying game for which she had to go on a penitential pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Back in Yorkshire she stays at the sinister priory in Handale Woods - a horrific dragon and the mutilated body of a young mason are a mystery that puts Hildegard's life in jeopardy once again.

Next, with dark forces building around King Richard, the Prioress has a special assignment for Hildegard. She must go to the pope's palace at Avignon in the south of France to find out whether he will give his support to the King or to his ambitous and deadly uncle, the duke of Gloucester ... But the pope himself has a terrifying secret and Hildegard is the only one who can put all the pieces of the puzzle into place.

Click here to read an interview with Cassandra Clark at bfkbooks.com

The fabulous Dufay Collective playing a salterello from their latest cd A L'Estampida.