Ah, historical fiction!
I’ve read historical fiction as long as I can remember. I read simplified junior versions of historically based classics in primary school. In secondary school, the librarian introduced me to Henry Treece and Rosemary Sutcliffe. And it was at that moment, in Year Seven, first term, that I discovered a love that would never leave me. I have never put a single historical fiction book down in disgust because I felt the author had let me down with diluted fact or loose references. I don’t claim to know everything about every timeframe – how can anyone? So I just trusted every author to take me there as sensitively as they were able. That’s still my philosophy with reading historical fiction.
I was dragged through English Lit in first year university, dreading the heavy tomes on our lists and thus I would sneak off to bookshops and the public library and borrow what I considered far better reads within my favourite genre. I was of course young and brash and wonder now how I could ever have been so dismissive of great pieces of literature. Of course, that was forty years ago and happily the worm turned.
But then, back in 2008, my first book was published and once I had become familiar with social media, I sought other readers and writers online. I was introduced to English Historical Fiction Authors on Facebook when follower numbers were well below a hundred and I truly thought I had come home.
I followed the blog, devouring and continuing to devour every post with interest, even though my timeframe of choice is essentially the medieval era. Every one of the writers on the blog has an intrinsic love for and a loyalty to their timeframe which makes reading their posts AND their books such a joy.
I developed friendships within the group and can’t begin to tell you what it felt like when Debbie Brown contacted me to ask if I would like to write a post in a hurry as one of their number had been delayed with her post. I was so very chuffed. The first of my books in The Gisborne Saga had just been published and it seemed a wonderful opportunity. But I doubted I could contribute any additional information about the medieval era that hadn’t already been offered and was concerned about my contribution.
At this same time, privately, I had been given hitherto unknown information about my own convict forbear in Tasmania. I realised that no one had yet posted about the colonial settlement of Australia and especially from such an emotional viewpoint as my own – the discovery of one of the major taproots of my family tree. So I wrote a post about that man and passed it on with pleasure.
Even more surprise ensued when Debbie announced that to celebrate the first year of the blog a book would be released containing all posts from that first year and that the story of my ancestor, William Owen Millington, would be included. The final published monograph, Castles, Customs and Kings, is a stupendous piece of work from a group of dedicated writers who believe completely in the genre. Iconic historical fiction author, Elizabeth Chadwick says on the cover:
‘Thoroughly enjoyable and diverse reading for any history fan.’
The book has ranked consistently since publication in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > History > Historical Study > Essays and in Books > History > Historical Study & Educational Resources > Essays which must surely be considered a mark of excellence.
So may I say, do yourself a favour and
RUN DON’T WALK PEOPLE,
to your Amazon store and order the book for Christmas.
For yourself, for others and for fun. It’s worth every little penny you will pay!
Trust me, I’m a reader too.