Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roses and wars - my current obsession

The War of the Roses - something of a departure from the usual historic themes which have featured in this blog since I started it in february this year. But the forces which drove me to an interest in the Wars of the Roses were the same ones that brought me to delve into convict history, the Irish Australians and the history of the Goldfields in Victoria. I wanted to write fiction set in a particular place at a particular time and I needed to know what was going on in the world my characters inhabited.

Not for me a superficial reading of the time and place. The historian in me demands that I investigate thoroughly, steep myself in the written history and visit the historical sites to soak up the atmosphere.

So what brought me to the War of the Roses?

Several years ago as I sat in Westminster Abbey an idea came to me for a children's story featuring a little girl called Abbie who encountered a ghost in Westminster Abbey. As my time in London was short, the idea had to go on the fiction back burner until I could manage another trip. I did, however, decide that the ghost had to be a child so I made arrangements with the archivist of the Abbey to do some research into the children who were buried there on my next visit. They were very helpful, allowing me access to their archives at the top of a dusty staircase off the cloisters.

Of all the stories I read, none fascinated me as much as that of the bones which occupied an urn in the Children's Corner, believed to be those of Edward V and his brother Richard. As I set about engaging my Abbie in conversation with a haughty thirteen year old king elect, I realised I had to know what had brought him to his early death.

That was in October 2007. Nearly four years later, I know, at least as well is as generally known, what brought him to his tragic end, although like the members of the Richard III society, I don't accept that his uncle was necessarily the instigator of his demise even if he was the usurper of his crown.

The story of Abbie in the Abbey still needs work before it can go in search of a publisher but the history I have learnt is being put to good use in the class I am conducting for the University of the Third Age in Ballarat.


  1. I was hooked as soon as I started to read your post – can’t wait for the book!
    Love your blog by the way and am going to follow.
    PS I blog about out-of-print children's & illustrated books at

  2. I do need to finish Abbie in the Abbey. I plan to make a series out of it with Abbie having encounters with ghosts in some of the great cathedrals of the world - her parents are writing a coffee table book on the great cathedrals of the world. The only problem is that airfare to the great cathedrals is out of my reach at the moment.

  3. GREAT BLOG....great topic for the blog....history is awesome.


    Stopping by to say hello and to take a look around.

    Stop by my site if you like...I am hosting a Father's Day Giveaway with five books to two luck winners.


  4. I just visited your blog. Great - particularly the image. Can you tell me the name of the place. it looks so like Ireland.