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H.B. Lyle: Fiction to fact to fiction – finding nuggets in the archive

Posted on: 21/08/2018 with tags: author blog, crime fiction, espionage, historical crime, historical fiction, Sherlock Holmes, 20th Century, British History, English History, European

It’s perhaps the most dreaded question in the author Q&A: where do you get your ideas from? Setting aside Arthur Miller’s famous response (‘I wish I knew, I’d go there more often’) this is perhaps an easier question for the historical novelist to answer than those working in other genres. For inspiration, we only have to look into the history books. And this is so often the way of things – authors find out versions of what happened then transmute and change and reimagine then in the form of…

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Living in the Past by Robyn Young

Posted on: 06/08/2018 with tags: author blog, court of wolves, historical fiction, historical novel, new world rising, robyn young, European, Renaissance, World History

It’s a summer’s morning and I’m standing in a field with a gun in my hands – a flintlock musket from the English Civil War, long and heavy, the stock hunched into my shoulder, barrel aimed down the field. I struggle to pull back the hammer, needing two fingers to do so.  It’s stiff and I’m nervous.  The pan is loaded with gunpowder and the flint is now poised above it.  I pull the trigger.  The flint snaps down, striking the powder to life with a flash, sending a rush of fire and force down the…

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The Scarlet Ladies by Paul Fraser Collard

Posted on: 26/07/2018 with tags: Frances Clayton, historical fiction, Jack Lark, Paul Fraser Collard, The Rebel Killer, American Civil War

I blame the Monocled Mutineer for my love of impostors. The story of Percy Toplis first caught my attention when it became the basis for the TV series of the same name that was shown in the 1980s. I still remember watching it and being fascinated by the idea of someone taking advantage of the world simply by putting on a fancy uniform and speaking with the right accent. Young Percy, a rogue with little education and a strong northern accent, successfully impersonated British army officers during…

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The Best Historical Fiction Set on Islands by Anna Mazzola

Posted on: 23/07/2018 with tags: Anna Mazzola, historical fiction, Islands, the Story Keeper, 19th Century

  Islands, with their closed communities, their remoteness, their uniqueness, have a special place in an author’s heart. Sometimes they become not just settings, but characters in themselves. I chose Skye for my second novel, partly because I wanted somewhere cut off (as it once was), and somewhere with its own folklore, its own beliefs. Others have gone a step further and created fictional islands: Atlantis, Azkaban, Atuan, Fraxos, Hedeby, Svalvard. Once I’d started thinking about books se…

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