Stubborn Characters: A study of Nathaniel Lewis #amwriting #DDRevsStorySong

I’m convinced that writers straddle the fine line between being creative and slightly delusional. Our characters are real to us, we’re not above having exasperating discussions with them, and we take great delight in their little quirks. All this is true for my character Nathaniel Lewis, barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, a title he never fails to add as though it were a suit of armour. I suspect it is to him. He appeared on my doorstep one day, legal brief in hand, offering his services to the heroine of the first draft of my first book, who was at her…

Pepys’s Passion for the Theatre: A guest post by Deborah Swift #17thcentury #StuartAge

One of my favourite series in recent years has been Deborah Swift’s Pepys series. Samuel Pepys is a famous 17th century diarist who wrote about his day to day life, his business, and yes, even his sexual indiscretions. Thanks to Pepys, historians have excellent insights into life during Restoration London. Deborah Swift has quite brilliantly written a trio of books based on women mentioned in Pepys’s diary. I loved the first two novels, Pleasing Mr Pepys and A Plague on Mr Pepys, so it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to the final book in the series, Entertaining…

Prince Rupert of the Rhine: Pirate Prince of the Caribbean #17thCentury #StuartAge

One of the most dashing and iconic figures of the War of the Three Kingdoms is Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The son of Frederick V, Elector of Palatine, and Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James VI of England, he fought for King Charles I’s against Parliament. The force and swiftness of his cavalry charge usually struck terror in the Parliamentarians (although it could have been more disciplined). To this day, portraits of Rupert still causes hearts to flutter.  While Rupert is mostly known as a Royalist cavalry commander, he did enjoy a brief sojourn as a Pirate Prince, sailing…

The Life of Indentured Servants in Colonial Barbados

The English Commonwealth in 1651 had a challenge on their hands. During the third English Civil War, their commander Oliver Cromwell defeated the forces of Charles Stuart (the future King Charles II) first at Dunbar, and then precisely a year later, at Worcester. But Parliament was left with a pressing concern: What to do with the thousands of Scottish prisoners that they had captured?  Catch and release, even with exacting a promise not to raise arms against them again, wasn’t a viable option, and Parliament didn’t have the resources to keep thousands of Scottish prisoners indefinitely. After the Battle of…

Sugar Production in 17th century Colonial Barbados

Part of researching my next novel, The Severed Knot, included learning about sugar production in 17th century Barbados and how this sweet substance transformed the island. Sugar wasn’t just a luxury commodity. It served as the chief form of currency on Barbados (slaves and servants were paid for in pounds of sugar) and fuelled British colonization in the Caribbean. Colonial Barbados was at the centre of the sugar trade going back to the mid-17th century and was known as the Sugar Island. Colonizing Barbados The earliest English settlement was established in 1627 through a private venture corporation headed by the Courteen…