Right from when I was a little kid I was fascinated with the medieval era. It might have had something to do with the Robin Hood series on TV, but also – because I live in England – to do with the lovely old Norman church I went to with my parents, and the primary school which was attached to it which I attended. I didn’t get the chance to go to university straight from school, but when I did go many years later, it was to do a degree in medieval studies. And I loved it! It was the degree I’d always wanted to do, and I became so immersed in that world that I went on to do an MPhil in medieval history, focusing on the Anglo-Saxon era. But even before I went to uni’, I would visit any and every castle and ancient church I could find, lapping up the atmosphere like a sponge – and not just in England, either, Scotland and Wales got their share of visits too!
But my interests aren’t confined solely to the medieval era. I studied the English Civil War during A-levels at school and have kept an eye on that period too. So when it comes to writing about history, I tend to focus on what I know best. It irritates me as a reader when writers make basic mistakes which even a simple internet search would have told them what had really happened, and so I make a concerted effort to keep things as ‘true’ as I can for my own readers. Obviously, we will never know exactly what one person said to another, but it is possible to keep the settings accurate, and to keep things faithful to their own times.
I’m also far more interested in the ordinary people of the past than the rich and entitled, and in that I was lucky to go to Birmingham University, whose History Dept. has a longstanding reputation for looking at the peasants and other ordinary people. It is possible to glean quite a lot of information if you dig deep enough, and I hope you enjoy reading these books which take you away from the well-trodden paths of the high courts, and off into (in my mind) more interesting corners of days gone by to people who are more like most of us are.