Medieval mystery writer researches by doing

Writer Jeri Westerson of Menifee, California loves the Middle Ages, particularly the world of Crispin Guest, her "ex-knight turned detective on the mean streets of fourteenth century London." Scott Butki, of the Seattle P-I has an interview.

When asked about how she creates Crispin's world for her books, Westerson talks about her experience with hands-on research.

I have cooked the food of the time period to know the tastes and smells of what they were eating; I've brewed medieval beer; I've sewn medieval clothing and worn it; and I am also particularly fond of medieval weapons and learned how to use them, so I do drag my cache of medieval weaponry around with me when I do talks and even demonstrate them. Who wouldn't want to see an overweight middle-aged woman swinging a sword around?

Westerson, who is a member of the SCA, although not deeply involved, praises the organization for its research and especially for its work with children. "I think they've [SCA] done some very valuable work, especially when they go into schools to do demos," she said.