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Spy Fever: how spy lies led to the creation of the Secret Service

Posted on: 17/05/2017 with tags: author blog, conspiracy theories, crime fiction, English History, historical crime, historical fiction, 20th Century

For a historical novelist, the usual way of things is to delve into history, to look at what’s interesting or important, a setting, an event, a time period – we write into this, try to recreate, re-imagine, re-use as we see fit. But what happens when this gets turned on its head, when fiction starts turning into fact? In writing my first historical novel – The Irregular, set in 1909 – I discovered a startling example of invention becoming real, of fiction (spy fiction no less) having a very prof…

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Take to the air with Claude Grahame-White and Rebecca Mascull

Posted on: 03/05/2017 with tags: historical fiction, Rebecca Mascull, The Wild Air, 20th Century, WW1

Author of The Wild Air Rebecca Mascull explores women’s position in the aviation industry and the real-life figure of Claude Grahame-White. A major personality of early aviation, Claude Grahame-White is rightly revered for his place in the history of flying. So, this is what’s true and what isn’t about Claude Grahame-White in my book The Wild Air: he was very good-looking – just look at any photograph! And he was married to a wealthy socialite. He was instrumental in the creation and development…

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The Story Behind THE BLACKENED HEART – Alison Weir

Posted on: 09/03/2017 with tags: alison weir, anne boleyn, author blog, henry viii, historical fiction, katherine of aragon, Tudor

Rumours that Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, was poisoned, current after her death in 1536, have always intrigued me, and when it came to writing my novel, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, I looked at the evidence afresh in the hope that I could use it as the basis for a storyline. At Katherine’s autopsy, a black growth was found on her heart. Modern medical science suggests that this was a cancerous tumour, but that was not suggested at the time. Instead, talk of poison persis…

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Read an extract from Karen Maitland’s THE VANISHING WITCH

Posted on: 06/03/2017 with tags: extract, historical fiction, historical novel, karen maitland, Poppet, the vanishing witch, Witch, Medieval, Middle Ages

Using the rake to scrape back the soiled straw down to the beaten-earth floor below, Adam threw the sodden tunic into the hole, then heaped the straw back over it. He’d only just finished when Leonia slipped back inside and brought out a folded tunic from under her skirts. He held out his hands for it, but she shook her head. ‘Let me look at your back first.’ ‘No!’ ‘Don’t be silly, I know you’ve been whipped. Marks are all round your sides. I only want to see if they’ve stopped bleeding. If they…

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