I was tagged last week by writer Elaine Moxon to produce a writer’s shelfie – and here it is!
The books on the shelf are basically of three kinds: research books, books I’ve written and books which have frequently given me inspiration.
The research books are for my work in progress, Book 4 of Rebels and Brothers. It is set during the years 1469 to 1471 – a pretty exciting few years in English history! I’ve been indebted to a clutch of modern authors whose non-fiction works have been extremely useful. Notable amongst them are Alison Weir, Amy Licence and Susan Higginbotham. A few other historical works have been helpful too, especially for information on the two critical battles of spring 1471: Barnet and Tewkesbury. On top of everything sits The Chronicles of the Wars of the Roses which is full of bits of useful – and not so useful – information from fifteenth century sources.
Now how, you wonder, did David Starkey’s Henry VIII creep onto the shelf? Surely it’s got nothing to do with 1471? No, it hasn’t – but David Starkey’s work had some influence on my approach to history: his emphasis on the court, the royal personality and the detail of monarchy was a welcome change from some of the standard works on Henry VIII up to that point. Starkey calls a spade a broad pointy thing and that makes history interesting.
The other books which I like to think have had an influence on my writing include JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, GRR Martin’s Game of Thrones and sundry works by Bernard Cornwell. Recently an Amazon reviewer compared one of my books to “Game of Thrones with real people” though I have to point out that my leading characters are mostly fictional! They do, however, have a tendency to live fairly short lives…
Snuck in there and almost invisible is a book by Peter Ackroyd which is a recent retelling of Thomas Malory’s Death of King Arthur. It’s there because it’s an excellent version and because stories of King Arthur were among the earliest historical books that I read as a child.
Two of my books are there? What hubris, you cry! Well no, they are there for me to refer to in case I forget what my characters did and where they went in previous books. Believe me, with my memory they are pretty essential!
So there you have it – my writer’s shelfie. I’ve now tagged authors Debbie Foulkes [@DeborahCFoulkes] and Mary Tod [@MKTodAuthor] to do a shelfie.