My love affair with history started at a very early age. My aunt loved the subject and read history books to me before I even went to school. (This was in the days without television.) I have continued to read history and eventually took two degrees in the subject. I would like to thank my two universities - the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Central Lancashire for teaching me so well, especially in research techniques. Writing true history is a labour of love, intensively time consuming and usually without a great readership - for very good reasons. My Master's thesis sent my mother-in-law to sleep. She never made it past page 5! One day I will publish it, if only to help people interested in the subject (undoubtedly very few!)
I have always wanted to write books and historical fiction was the natural progression from academic work. There are many wonderful authors in this genre and so many different periods and incidents to write about. Things that happen in the past rarely have complete records and sometimes no records at all. In the days before the internet, research was spent in dusty libraries, reading books in which often only a single line was relevant to the research subject. Hours could pass, travel to distant places might or might not prove useful. Notes written onto index cards got lost or out of order. I have great admiration for the people who wrote and produced such good work under these conditions. Nowadays, the internet can answer queries on almost any subject, to a greater or lesser extent. The secret is knowing what questions to ask. I find myself stopping short and asking such questions as when did rabbits appear in the British Isles? The answer is that the Romans brought them over as a food animal. What is the Manx, Celtic or Old Norse name for Mother? Mummig, Máthair and Modir. Incidentally all of these have variations within the languages, which would have been used in different sentence structures. When writing historical fiction, the aim is to be as accurate as possible without being confusing. Therefore I decided to stick to one word, rather than many and not to write about rabbits in the Bronze Age for example.
They say you should always write about subjects you know. So I decided to write about the Napoleonic period which I studied in university. I knew a fair amount about the principal characters and about the sequence of events but other factors had to be researched. I added a twist of crime to create a police procedural drama and a twist of romance to set the scene for future books . This resulted in the Duval series, two books so far and one nearly ready for publication. They are Duval and the Infernal Machine, Duval at Waterloo and Duval and the Empress's Crown. Available as Amazon ebooks.
In the Manannan Trilogy (Manannan's Magic, Niamh of the Golden Hair and Emer's Quest), on the other hand, I was entering an unknown era. There are few written records, only some oral history that has been passed down and written centuries later. Two cultures, the Celtic and the Norse, were meeting and clashing, which does not lead to good record keeping. I also added some of the myths associated with the sea god, Manannan. In my books he is not a god but a wise man, his magic is more herbal lore than occult magic. But he can see into the future and, by doing so, he is able to make changes in the events that follow. The other books in the trilogy follow the fortunes of his daughter and granddaughter as they travel to locations such as Fingal's Cave on Staffa, the Faeroe Islands and around the Irish Sea in search of healing for those they love..
Self Esteem Rating Part 2
If your success rate is 100, then you do not need to proceed with this exercise.
Look at your lowest score in the first part and answer the following questions about that belief.
1. What do you believe about yourself that stops your self esteem rating from being 10?
2. Where did this belief come from?
3. Who originated or reinforced it?
4. How much do you accept or respect their opinions?
5. How is this belief ridiculous or unhelpful?
6. How will hanging onto it detract from your future success?
7. What would you like to believe about yourself instead?
8. What needs to happen to turn this new belief into a reality?
Now work through the rest of the questions in Self Esteem Rating Part 1 where you got a low score and think about the reasons you did and what you need to do to change those beliefs.
Award winning author, Michele McGrath, was born on the beautiful Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea.