Welcome to Cliowrite
I’m a former teacher of History with a real aversion to Mr Ford’s celebrated notion of it. It’s anything but ‘bunk’, because it’s overwhelmingly the story of ordinary people in sometimes quite extraordinary situations. Where the great Whig historians told their stories of broad sweeps and national policies, the Age of the Common Man looks a little closer and asks the question “And who’s left when Kipling’s ‘Captains and Kings depart’?” Joe Ordinary, that’s who.
Teaching History convinced me that appreciating the story behind historical events generates an interest in those events that might otherwise be difficult to arouse, so for me the story is all-important. It needs to be credible, because people need to be able to see themselves in it – the worst criticism of all is “That’d never happen” – and it needs to be complete, because a story incomplete is a story poorly told.
That holds for any period written about, and my writing idols – CS Forester, GM Fraser and Frederick Forsyth – are notable for telling great stories backed by painstaking research. Any of their works are among my favourites, but I’d have to say that my favourite work of historical fiction is – the next one.