|Timothy Dalton as Prince Rupert of the Rhine - 1969|
HOOZAH! On April 1, I have a new book coming out, SECRETS IN TIME, my first foray into time travel, and I am delighted to be back in my 'happy place', writing about the English Civil War.
The English Civil War is used to roughly describe the period from 1642 to the execution of Charles I in 1649. The period from 1649 to the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 is properly called the "Interregnum" (between Kings), although it is generally lumped in with the English Civil War period. I don't propose a lecture on the causes of the English Civil War when Horrible Histories does it so much better! (Scroll to end of this blog!)
|"When did you last see your father?"|
|Boo...hiss..."Right but Repulsive" according to 1066 and All That|
My love affair with the Roundheads and Cavaliers began when I was probably no more than about 8 or 9. My darling father would read to us every Sunday afternoon (no TV in Kenya in those days!). He had a wonderful reading voice and if his choice of subject matter tended to rather reflect his taste than ours, neither my brother nor myself complained.
|Oh, give me a wounded hero...|
|More Timothy...Cavaliers "Wrong but Wromantic"...1066 and all That|
My best friend at school was a budding writer like myself and we set out on our first venture to write a novel at the grand age of thirteen. Mine was, of course, set in the English Civil War and titled “The Locket of Grace” (note to self: not a bad title – I should find an appropriate use for it!). Hers was science fiction and titled “The Intermittent Brain”. We did wonderful illustrations but I don’t think either of us ever finished our ‘oeuvres’. Over my school years I filled shorthand notebooks with stories, all of which closely resembled the last book I read!
Of course nothing is more guaranteed to kill a grand passion more than studying it at university and in first year of my Arts degree I made the mistake of taking “Sixteenth and Seventeenth History”. All my wonderful imaginings and colourful characters were rendered dull and lifeless and I have to confess it was many years before I started writing again, but when I did (following a fortuitous skiing accident) I went straight back to my roots and the book that was to become my Eppie Award Winner, BY THE SWORD, was born.
I’m not sure if I have really answered the question I set myself. When something grips you as a passion, it is very hard to put a logical rationale to it. I just love the English Civil War- I love bucket top boots, lace collars, wide brimmed beaver hats, buff leather coats and lobster pot helmets! Above all I love the opportunity, through my stories, to share this wonderful period with readers. Sadly, because it is not well taught at schools (despite being such an important foundation stone of our modern democracies and judicial systems), or lacks the “glamour” of the French and American Revolutions, it is often overlooked as a rich source of fabulous stories and interesting characters. I have lost track of the number of publishers who have told me they love my books but sorry, “we can’t market the period”.
So, if you are bored with regencies, medieval and blokes in kilts, try a cavalier such as my two gorgeous and troubled heroes from BY THE SWORD and THE KING'S MAN. If you just want to dip your toe into the period then have a look at SECRETS IN TIME with a gorgeous (and for once, level headed) cavalier and his adventures in the modern world with a thoroughly modern and sceptical doctor.
And if you're interested in knowing more about the period, I blog regularly about all things seventeenth century on a blog dedicated just to that century - Hoydens and Firebrands.
HORRIBLE HISTORIES ON THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR
You will find SECRETS IN TIME (ebook only at the moment) at Lyrical Press, Amazon and all reputable on line book stores.
For more information and an excerpt see my website.
*I should add that I would go to sleep willing myself to wake up and find myself magically transported back in time. Thankfully writing about time travel is so much more comfortable!