I often get asked why I choose to only write historical fiction. The quick answer is, I don’t! I do, however, only choose to publish historical fiction. I also enjoy writing it above anything else. Far above anything else.
I am a history geek. There, I said it. I freely admit that I was the kid who loved history lessons and got really frustrated when classmates were mucking around throwing ink bombs at the teacher. I was the kid who spent lunchtime in the library reading from dusty old tomes about the Black Death, life in Roman Britain, and Henry Vlll’s wives. I was that kid who sat daydreaming about being a Victorian maid, or a medieval lady, or heck, maybe even a Cornish smuggler in the seventeen century. I still do dream about those things, and I guess that’s the point. We write about what we love.
I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I was somehow birthed in the wrong era. Modern times just feel too, well, modern for this girl. Take me to a museum exhibit about times gone by and I feel instantly at home. Watching period dramas on television, I long to be immersed in the visual spectacle of what once was. My heart belongs in a different time.
Since being small I’ve been deeply interested in the Amercian West – the gold rushes, Civil Wars, and territorial disputes over Native American land. I had no reason in particular to be so fascinated by this, I just was. I still am. I also loved stories of infamous historical figures – the smugglers and highway robbers and other bad boys of a distant age. And so I immersed myself in as much information as I could about them. I even went on to write a book about a Dartmouth smuggler (‘Black Pool Hill’).
When I began researching my own family history I found out about a great great Uncle who, bored with middle-class Victorian life, had taken himself off to the American West for an adventure and settled there permanently. He wrote letters back to his sister telling her tales of near-misses with stampeding buffalo, and dangerous encounters with native Indians, “naked as the day they were born, brandishing bows, arrows and tomahawks.” At last! Something connecting me to my love of that place and time.
As if he wasn’t interesting enough there was a Dartmouth fisherman (yes, really!), a whole collection of Huguenot weavers, and an infamous highwayman (who became the subject of my novel, ‘Highway’).
A strange coincidence? I don’t think so. I think I must have always known, deep down. I think my past is flowing through my veins through generations of passed-down genes and I just had to rediscover it.
I write about history, because I love history. Because I know history. Because I am history. One day I may write and publish a modern novel. I have some ideas for a good story and I may even do it soon. But first I have a novel about the old American West to finish, and you can read more about that here: