This may be my last Sunday update for a while, as I will be driving up to Northumberland next Sunday so I doubt I’ll be able to write my normal Sunday post. I am very fortunate that my family own a small cottage up in the Nortumbrian hills, somewhere I can go to write, relax, and a be inspired.
Anyone familiar with this beautiful part of England will know that Hadrian ’s Wall runs through the county. It one of Rome’s most famous engineering projects and not only divided the British Isles but also continued to shape its history long after the Roman’s left our shores. Would England and Scotland have developed separately without the Romans dividing their lands before either nation existed? Who knows, but I doubt it. Either way, it is an amazing example of their ambition, as well as their military and engineering might.
George R R Martin says it was whilst visiting Hadrian’ Wall that he started to form the idea for the Wall that divided Westeros in his magnificent Game of Thrones series. I’m not surprised, as it is such an awe-aspiring monument, and it was whilst spending long summer holidays walking along the wall as a child, that sparked my imagination and was the reason where my love of Roman history developed. It came in handy during the writing of my novel ‘Roman Mask’ too. Despite the wall being built over a hundred years after my novel is set, it was still instructive to wander around the Roman forts on the wall: Chesters, Housesteads, and Vindolanda. Not only did they give me ideas for the Roman camp in my novel – for example Varus’ having his own bathhouse in his home, just as the commander of Chesters had – it is important to get the feel of a Roman fort so you can clearly picture it in your mind before writing about it. After all, if you can’t picture it clearly, how do you expect your readers to be able to?
This is one of the joys of writing an historical novel. If like me you really love history, the researching of a subject isn’t a chore, or just a necessary step, it is actually fun and one of the most exciting parts of the project – discovering something that can be used in a novel gives me such a thrill.
So I’ll be returning to my beloved Northumbrian Hills, taking in the fresh-air, walking along the Wall, and hopefully becoming inspired for my next novel – although that might be getting a bit ahead of myself…
And the winners are….
The winners of my mask competition are Nige Denton, Michelle, and Karolina Radzicka! Please send me the address you would like me to send the mask to at email@example.com
Thanks for taking part, and I’m sorry to those that took part and were not pulled out of the hat. Don’t worry though, I plan to be doing many more free give-aways in the coming months, so you’ll have more chances to win.