The loneliness of a long-distance writer

The loneliness of a long-distance writer

I’ve written four historical fiction novels over the past dozen years. I have worked alone, with only occasional comments from one or two friends. And at various stages I have sought the advise from professionals – skilled readers and editors. I’ve learned...
How I researched my third novel

How I researched my third novel

The research for my third book began with the so-called “interwar years” from 1919 to 1939. My grandfather returned from four years as a German prisoner of war, a wisp of a man after 1,479 days of hunger and anguish in captivity, weakened and demoralised by the...
How I researched my second novel

How I researched my second novel

My grandfather returned from his six-year tour of duty in South Africa and India in 1906 to a different England to that he had known. When he left Tyneside in 1901, the year of Queen Victoria’s death, the most critical technologies of that era had been the steam...
How I researched my first novel

How I researched my first novel

My Rutherford Chronicles book series follows my grandfather Joe Rutherford, my father, myself and other characters, luminaries and simple working-class folk, through the 20th Century on four continents. The first book begins in the dockyards of Tyneside, North East...
How much researching our past has changed

How much researching our past has changed

When I was doing research for my papers at university during the 1960s, this is what I learned to do. First, I’d visit the library and plan for many hours of scouring the card catalogue, standing at cabinets filled with drawers of index cards that described and...