Writing Historical Novels

I was described by one of my teachers as an intellectual butterfly, flitting from one pretty flower to the next. This is not to be encouraged in a historian. Thankfully my degree was in Ancient & Modern History, allowing me to write papers in anything and everything, from Alexander the Great to the rise of nationalism in 19th century Europe, the American Civil War to the Year of the Four Emperors and any number of things in between. It’s fair to say then that I am a generalist, not a specialist.

However, aside from writing a cracking good yarn, the thing that readers of historical fiction crave the most (judging from the legions of Amazon reviewers out there) is authenticity. Reading the newspapers sometimes you would be forgiven for thinking the authenticity comes first. I admit I’ve only seen half an episode of The White Queen, but most of the…

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