The HNS New Novel Award 2018

I’m especially really pleased to share with you my good news. My second novel, The Severed Knot, has been longlisted for the HNS New Novel Award 2018. Making the long list is a huge accomplishment. The Historical Novel Society is a respected literary society devoted to the promotion of historical fiction. The Severed Knot is set in the UK and Barbados during the 17th century and follows one of the characters from Traitor’s Knot after the disastrous Battle of Worcester. Here is what they had to say about my work: The Severed Knot Bleakly impossible choices face the protagonists in…

Quackery and 17th Century Medicine by Deborah Swift @swiftstory #Stuarts

I am especially pleased to be able to turn over the blog today to acclaimed author, Deborah Swift. Deborah is best known for her historical fiction novels which are set during the Restoration. Her stories are rich in historical detail and are a direct portal to the 17th century. Deborah’s latest series revolves around some of the women mentioned in Samuel Pepys’s diary. The first in the series, Pleasing Mr Pepys, was one of my favourite reads this year. I couldn’t put it down. The second book in the series, A Plague on Mr Pepys, has just been released July…

The Battle of Hamilton (or Hieton)

One of the best aspects of being a historical fiction writer is learning about the lesser known events in history. This is often the by-product of our historical research. In some cases, it could be a small footnote that serves as the invitation down the rabbit hole, or it could be that you’re leading your characters into an arena that you need to know more about. My interest in Hamilton came as a result of needing to know what my character, James Hart, was specifically walking into on his journey to join the king in Scotland. Quite a bit, as…

Author Spotlight: Nancy Blanton

A finely crafted work of historical fiction transports the reader to another time. It isn’t just the physical details of daily life and the world around the characters which elevates the work from just being set in the past to practically being in the past. Those are definitely crucial. Dialogue is one of those secret ingredients that needs just the right touch. Not enough authenticity and the work feels too modern and general; too much, and most readers find it a hard slog to follow. Nancy Blanton is a historical fiction author who has just the right touch for crafting…

Traipsing through the fields of Culpeper

  One of my favourite resources is the Complete Herbal and English Physician by Nicholas Culpeper which was published in 1653. The Complete Herbal can boast the rare distinction of being in print for over 350 years. Culpeper was a botanist and a physician who spent years cataloguing the virtues of herbs, the preparation of simple syrups and physic. His volume was intended for a household audience instead of the professional practitioner, which is not entirely surprising if you consider that for years housewives kept a ‘receipt’ book with their home remedies which served to treat the various ills of the…