Thursday, December 24, 2015

Welcoming the Light

A Merry Yuletide to all my followers and readers! Thank you for being part of my world for the past year. It's been a long and winding journey with plenty of stones to rattle the wheels of my writing cart, but it's been a marvellous experience. Becoming a published author has realised a childhood dream. As my Nan would have said, I'm as 'happy as a pig in muck'. I wish you all a happy holiday - stay safe and warm and have fun - and I hope you find what you are seeking in the new year. I'd also like to thank all of you who purchased a copy of WULFSUNA and to the reviewers who gave their time to read and feedback on my debut in the 'Wolf Spear Saga' series. It is much appreciated. I look forward to sharing more of my work with you all into 2016, as well as no doubt learning a thing or two from some of you in return.

Beat the boredom with a book! We're all familiar with that festive lull once we've eaten all the goodies and watched the classic films. Now's the time to fit in some reading. If you need a last minute gift, or have an early 2016 birthday looming WULFSUNA is available in eBook and paperback from my publisher SilverWood Books as well as other main online retailers such as KoboBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository and Amazon. Grab some Saxon action and join the Wolf Sons as they sail into the east fens of Bryton. Encounter blood, brotherhood, betrayal and a hint of magic and romance.

For more updates about me and my books and what's happening in the world of Historical Fiction and the 'Wolf Spear Saga', why not follow me via my website at E S Moxon Author and Goodreads? See you around!

All that remains is for me to grab a slice of Panettone, a generous glass of mead and say "Wes ðū hāl ealle!".

Image result for green man winter solstice

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pages Bound in Time

I often talk about the importance of research when writing, as well as my enjoyment of it. It is a question that appears frequently at talks and in author interviews. I therefore decided it was time to blog about it, particularly as I have recently acquired a piece of history – an old edition of the 'History of Britain'. As you will tell from the numerous photographs below, it contains integral maps and I am somewhat excited by this new addition to my personal library!

History of England, G. M. Trevelyan
Map: Celtic and Roman Britain
Map: England, Scotland & Ireland at Time of Viking Invasions
 The book itself is a slice of history, its pages bound in time to the spine of thought at the year of imprint. Archaeology is constantly changing and re-educating how we look at the past and so to have such a book, is akin to owning a time capsule. It is not merely the knowledge of what was known historically at the time of the book’s printing that is enlightening, but moreover how society of the time viewed the past. How this book presents its historical evidence can tell us much about academic thoughts of the time. I find this as equally fascinating as the history reported in the book.

After all, throughout history events and the recording of them have relied heavily upon the viewpoint of one or more individuals (often on the winning side of a conflict). This is why extensive research is necessary when approaching historical fiction. As we all know, there is always more than one side to any disagreement. I love to weigh my historical facts, using a wide spread of reading as the scales. My contemplation of the presented so-called ‘evidence’ becomes the weights that decide when the balance is right.

As I considered the breadth of my reading for research purposes, I recalled conversations with other authors and countless ‘shelfie’ photos of writers’ well-stocked bookcases. I emptied my own bookcase of all the books I have ever used for research (and continue to use) and I was shocked. I remember saying once that we are not only writers; we must also be archaeologists, biologists, horticulturalists, chemists, historians, geologists, butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers! The list is endless. Below is a small portion of the books I found.
I'm going to need a bigger bookcase!

 I have amassed quite a selection covering a broad variety of topics, though I know there are gaps I shall fill in due course. It highlights for me the extent to which writers reach to attain accuracy and depth in their novels. For instance, before I begin a scene I check in which season it is set and note what foliage would be around for the time of year and also the period in history. Not all the plants we see today were around in the 5th Century. My characters are next. I must ensure they are appropriately clothed for the season and period, but also within their particular role in society. For my current work in progress I am studying linguistics (Welsh, Cornish and Old Norse) and equine history (horse behaviour, breeding and tack). I could read reams on these subjects over days and weeks, making copious notes, and it could all be for the sake of one scene.

Eventually, having absorbed the research, I have to write my story. Once more I must weigh prose against historical fact, finding the perfect balance. I redraft and edit, mixing and baking until I feel it is right for publication. That is when I hope all my reading and writing has created pages bound in time; a story that captures imaginations in the same way the idea first caught me.

How much historical fact do you like to read in your historical fiction?

What aspects of historical fiction are important to you in terms of learning about history?

~ ~ ~

Blood, betrayal and brotherhood.
An ancient saga is weaving their destiny.
A treacherous rival threatens their fate.
A Seer's magic may be all that can save them.

Wolf Spear Saga: 2 - coming 2016