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Friday, November 14, 2008

Welcome to the Seventeenth Century

What is it about the seventeenth century that makes it so unapproachable for readers and publishers?

This was the century that had it all, the century that marked the turning point between the medieval world and the modern world. In England it was a century torn by a civil war, a revolution from which the whole basis of modern concepts of democracy arose; a king was executed by his own people; another king spent years in exile, yet another was deposed. It saw wars, spies, warming pan babies, dispossed royal bastards, the battle for religious freedoms, London burned down and rebuilt, plague...and on the list goes.

As a writer of historicals with a romantic bent, what could be a better source of inspiration than the English Civil War, where the cavaliers "were wrong but wromantic" and the roundheads were "right but repulsive" (to quote Sellers and Yeatman from 1066 and All That)? Yet I have been told by publishers that as a setting for a historical novel it is "unsaleable" and "unmarketable".

I am a reader too! Sitting on my bookshelf is a small selection of my favourite writers of the period beginning as a youngster with Rosemary Sutcliff ("Simon" and my all time favourite "Rider of the White Horse"), Barbara Softly ("Plain Jane", "A Stone in A Pool" and several others now out of print and hard to find), Ronald Welch ("For the King"). My desert island book and the book that began my passion for the ECW "The King's General" by Daphne Du Maurier, the Wintercombe and Heron series by Pamela Belle - all read until they are falling to pieces.

Please add your own favourites to my list...

In the meantime, watch out for a new space for writers and readers to get together - coming soon!