One family, two kingdoms, one common enemy ...
I’ve only played with the chronology once, and I do mention that in the author’s notes. I gathered all the known facts and stuck to them. When using less reliable documents I’ve been careful to make suggestions, rather than assertions. I’ve filled in the remaining gaps as plausibly as I can. I’m a historian - when I read historical fiction, I understand that I’m reading a story, but I also want to be able to trust that it’s based on fact, and I hope that readers of ‘Queen’ will be able to experience that too.
Having studied this period for your degree, did you find it easy to turn it into fiction?
Not really, although in Anglo-Saxon England you’re never far away from a mead-hall! The period known as the ‘Dark Ages’ spans six centuries, which is about the same length of time from the Tudor period to present day, so there were great changes between the beginning and end of that era. My characters could perhaps be better described as ‘Early Medieval’ - they have sophisticated governments and laws, and there are no monsters, elves or dragons. I’ve tried to make the dialogue authentic but, unless I had to, I did not use Old English place-names. I’ve also simplified the personal names wherever possible, or given nicknames to make them easier on the eye. Although these people lived a long time ago, I don’t want them to appear too distant, or other-worldly; I wanted to give an insight into their world, but bring them ‘alive’ in the process.