Ye Blog Hop!

Good day to you! I’m quite excited, as I’ve never participated in a Blog Hop before. I was tagged by the lovely Laura Rahme, who runs the blog below:

Laura Rahme's Blog

I know Laura from Goodreads, which isn’t only a place for reviews, but where I’ve met some really fascinating individuals who love books as much as I do.

1) What am I working on? My fans are so long-suffering! They’ve been waiting for William & Mary since 2011! I had originally only wanted to write one book about the diarchy, but now it’s two books: William & Mary and William Alone. The thing is, I was gearing towards finishing W&M when I was contacted by a publisher who wanted me to write a novella. So, I threw myself into His Last Mistress and W&M went on the back burner. By the time I had finished the novella, I was mentally exhausted by those Stuarts and decided to write the historical horror novel, The Stuart Vampire, because that was just fun to write. I didn’t have to slave away researching things to the nth degree, but rather, let my imagination run wild. Besides the William & Mary novels, I have a few other ideas bubbling away – only in the initial stages, mind you. One is a story about a Restoration actress, which is loosely autobiographical, a non-fiction history of the Stuarts of the 17th-century, a Rupert of the Rhine adventure series, and another which I shall not mention yet! 😉

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2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I don’t think it does differ greatly from others. I do my best to stay as historically accurate as possible, and I think that’s something most historical fiction authors endeavour to do when they truly respect history. I suppose my writing style is heavily, heavily influenced by classic literature. My favourite writers were Hardy and James and Zola, so I like to think they’ve rubbed off on my a bit. I am not a fan of first-person narrative and I love third person omniscient. I do see a great deal of the former in historical fiction, especially when written by women. I don’t know why this is, and it may well change with time, but at the moment I’m just not comfortable writing as though I am the character.

3) Why do I write what I do? Writing historical fiction was a very conscious decision for me. First and foremost, I love history. The writing is secondary. I write it in order to attract people to the 17th-century who probably would never have wanted to learn about it in the first place. Why? Because I don’t like it when time periods are sidelined. It kind of reminds me of high school. Nice kids got sidelined for the really good-looking, popular kids. In my mind, the 17th-century is like a sidelined kid, and the Tudors and the Victorians are the pretty, popular kids. Anyway, going back to my earlier point, ever since I published His Last Mistress, I noticed that searches for “the Duke of Monmouth” “Henrietta Wentworth” “Toddington Manor” and “Monmouth’s Rebellion” have increased dramatically. I maintain that it is through fiction that people come to appreciate history more than if they were presented with a dry academic work. The latter, I must make clear, is great but not really attractive for a large audience. Like her or not, Philippa Gregory’s novels have made many people intrigued by the Wars of the Roses and less well-known Tudors such as Mary Boleyn. Although, I must admit, I find the amount of historical fiction set in the 16th-century a little, well, annoying. Sometimes historical novels are dismissed outright by readers and publishers if they’re not set in the Tudor era. This has to stop! All time periods are interesting! I hope my books can get more people interested in the 17th-century, which was just as (if not more) fascinating as the Tudors!

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4) How does my writing process work?
I usually spend an enormous amount of time researching the historical figures and creating a timeline of their lives. I generally do archival work first, and jot down anything that strikes me. I then use this to plot their story – it’s the skeleton of a fish, if you will, and I’m just fleshing it out with fiction, but always trying to make their motivations and dialogue what they have or might have said. Then, in a method which many will consider “old-school” I usually use of several notebooks where I just let the ideas flow. My office is a mess! There are stacks and stacks of books, papers with ideas scrawled all over, printouts of my characters are taped onto the walls, there are drawing pads and charcoal pencils everywhere, so that when I have an image of a scene in my head I can just draw it and later turn it into a scene. Sometimes, when I’m out at a pub or restaurant, I get ideas and end up scribbling away upon napkins, etc!

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As most of my writing friends and acquaintances have already partaken in this blog hop, I will not tag anyone. If, however, you would like to see more like this, may I recommend you have a look at my friend’s blog, The Private Life of William Pitt. Thanks for reading!

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