The Tapestry Shop

by Joyce Elson Moore

I’m frequently asked where I get ideas for my story plots.  truth to tell, they can come from the most unexpected sources—a snippet of conversation, a tour guide’s mention of an historical personage, a painting, or almost anywhere. However, my inspiration for The Tapestry Shop was not so much my seeking out the story, as much as the protagonist came to me. Yes, an obscure thirteenth-century poet/musician gave me the idea for my upcoming historical novel.

Years ago, in a college textbook (my Grout, for those of you who studied music history), I saw a woodcut of Adam de la Halle, a trouvere, one of those poet/musicians in northern France. He was also called “The Hunchback”, and I wondered why, and if he were really hunchbacked.

A little research turned up his interesting history. He wrote secular music and plays, which are still performed, and one of them was Robin et Marion. Since his writing preceeded the English ballads about Robin Hood, many musicologists believe that his Robin et Marion was the first penning of the Robin Hood legend. Adam lived in northern France, and since he was the protégé of Louis’ IX’s nephew, it’s quite possible he went to the English courts, or that his play was performed there.

I wrote the book, and it won an award, but never sold. I went on to publish other books, but Adam haunted me. A few years ago, I got out the manuscript, completely changed the heroine, retitled the story, and sold it to Five Star/Cengage. It’s about conflicting beliefs, women in the crusades, and the university in Paris, but above all, it’s about two people in love and the obstacles that challenge them on their separate journeys to self-discovery.


Joyce Elson Moore is an award winning author of historical fiction. In addition to her novels, her work has appeared in major newspapers and national publications, poetry journals, and anthologies of selected writers.
After a brief teaching career, Joyce turned to writing full time, and has reached a widening audience with her books. Along with previous awards and contest wins, she was First Place winner of the 2009 PRLA award for best published romance. Her books continue to draw praise and rave reviews, some of which are posted on her website .

Some early reviews for The Tapestry Shop:

from Renaissance Magazine

brilliantly illuminates the nuances of daily medieval life  . . . . is highly recommended

from Romance Reviews Today

. . .  meticulously researched  . . . Beautifully written, this is an excellent novel for the fan of historical fiction.

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16 Responses to The Tapestry Shop

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  9. Joyce says:

    Margaret: Hi, and thanks for stopping by. When I wrote the book, I also read about English outlaws including RH), and I learned that even from ballad to ballad about him, the stories are different as to his real name/origin/etc. So I’m guessing that Sherwood Forest was a convenient locale to use, or maybe it was a place noted for having highwaymen rob you of your purse!

  10. Hi Joyce,
    That was a very interesting blog.Interesting too, how you mentioned Robin Hood. I actually passed near Sherwood Forest on my last trip to England, and was told there was virtually nothing left of Sherwood Forest now.


  11. Joyce says:

    Jackie: I’m thinking the English will still lay claim to Robin Hood, even though this (French) is the earliest reference. The Engl. ballads came later. Thanks for dropping by.

  12. Joyce says:

    Hi Janet, and thanks for stopping by. Yes, it’s the Book of my Heart, and a labor of love. Thanks for the kind words about the cover. I didn’t know about it, because it’s so different.

  13. Joyce says:

    jacqueline: How interesting. It would be nice to know where everyone’s ideas came from. Maybe someone could start a data base!

  14. Truly interesting-we tend to forget how much has changed in the last hundred years! My Memphis in Our Hearts came from the discovery of yellow fever victims near where I lived back in the 1960s!
    Great blog,
    Jackie Griffey

  15. Janet Lane says:

    Joyce, this is one of the most interesting back stories on a novel that I have read. What a personal triumph it must have been to hold this book in your hand. (Esp. with its beautiful cover.) Congratulations!

  16. Jacqueline Seewald says:


    The novel sounds very intriguing, one I will look forward to reading.

    I’ve also gotten ideas for novels from unusual sources.
    THE INFERNO COLLECTION was inspired by a lecture presented by a professor of library science. THE DROWNING POOL was inspired by time spent at a swim club one summer. TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is my unique tribute to Regency fiction.

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