Historical mystery novelist Susan Grossey says 'knickers'

Today’s guest is Susan Grossey, the inventor of Constable Sam Plank, one of my favourite law enforcers. “I have been in love with words ever since I realised, at age three, that those squiggles on the page actually meant something,” she says. Susan edited the school newspaper and managed to do lots more reading and […]

Speculative heroines

Some reflections for International Women’s Day…

All fictional characters are, er, fictional. We borrow, mine, or lift characteristics from Real Life, but unless we want to get sued, the finally moulded form is a construct. We can gender mirror (I love using that expression – also made up), we can speculate, we can imagine.

Ditto […]

How to write a 'damnèd, smiling villain'

Octavian (Author photo) Shakespeare’s Young Octavius

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain! My tables—meet it is I set it down That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain— At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark. (Hamlet, Wm.Shakespeare)

“And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear, […]

Our fearless leader – of a lady in armour

The Mitela women of Roma Nova are not the only women warriors to go armoured into battle. Sometimes we glimpse one from time to time in the real historical record. In celebration of the publication of Under the Approaching Dark, historical fiction writer Anna Belfrage introduces us to a(n in)famous one.

Women in medieval times […]

Stephanie Dray and A Year of Ravens

My third guest in the ‘Ravens’ series is Stephanie Dray, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Historical Novel Society conference in Denver this summer. Stephanie is a bestselling, multi-published author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy. Her critically acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different […]