Friday, July 25, 2014

Historical Fiction - Ideas and Research

Today we welcome Rosemary Morris – and the rest is history

First of all, thank you very much for inviting me to be your guest.

I am often asked where I get my ideas from. More often than not while I am reading historical non-fiction, something sparks my imagination. For example, I was reading about James II younger brother of Charles II. In my author’s note at the beginning of Far Beyond Rubies I explained. “When the outwardly Protestant Charles II died in 1685, he left a country torn by religious controversy but no legitimate children. The throne passed to his Catholic brother James.

It was an anxious time for the people, whose fears increased when James II, became so unpopular that he was forced into exile. In 1688, James’s Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, became the new king and queen of England.

Some English Protestants, who had sworn allegiance to James II, refused to take a new oath of allegiance to William and Mary and, after their deaths, to Queen Anne, and joined him in France. How, I asked myself, did this affect the children of Jacobites, and wrote Tangled Love.

Subsequently, I set two more novels, Far Beyond Rubies and The Captain and The Countess, in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart, 1702-1714, and two novels, Sunday’s Child, and False Pretences set in Regency England.

I like choosing dramatic events as a background. If the Duke of Marlborough had not won The War of Spanish Succession and The Duke of Wellington had not defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, it would have had far-reaching consequences for the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.

At the moment I am writing Monday’s Child the second of a series set in the period before and after the Battle of Waterloo. I am also revising a novel set in the reign of Edward II who was defeated by Robert the Bruce at The Battle of Bannockburn. This battle, in which the last large English mediaeval army took to the field, changed the history of England and Scotland.

I dislike historical fiction in which the characters act like 21st century people. I don’t think it is possible to get every single detail about the past correct, but my bookshelves and local library bear testimony to my research. Apart from reading, I visit places of historical interest and exhibitions. In recent months, I visited the Georgians Revealed exhibition at The British Library, The Vikings exhibition at The British Library and The Wedding Dress exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and I visited The National Army Museum. I also visit stately homes and gardens. At Hatfield House I saw Queen Anne Stuart’s coronation chair. Elsewhere I viewed palanquins, a gypsy caravan, carriages and much more. Such visits are instructive, bring me closer to the past and always give me ideas.

If you would like to know more about me, view my book trailers and read the first chapters of my novel please visit my website.

My novels are available from MuseItUp Publishing, at, and elsewhere. Far Beyond Rubies is available as an online e book and print book.

Thank you so much for taking time to share, Rosemary

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