So the holidays are over and it’s time to knuckle down to some serious work.  I don’t mind at all since in my case that means writing.  Having finished the (first?) rewrites of Trade Winds over Christmas, I’m starting a new book and since I write historicals, before I can do anything else I need to do research.

I’ve heard lots of other authors say that the research is their absolute favourite part of writing and that they can lose themselves in it and sometimes go a bit too far.  It doesn’t work that way for me.  Although I love history, I usually find the research the least enjoyable part and even though I know it’s necessary, I’m always itching to get to the actual writing.

Every novel is of course a story and even with historicals it should be possible to just sit down and write it first, then fill in the details that make it authentic to whatever period you’re writing in afterwards.  However, I like to do things in order and that’s why I try to read up on the period first.

This time it’s actually fascinating, because I’m knee-deep in dusty tomes about the Jacobite rebellion and the Highlands.  Okay, I’ll come clean – even though I don’t have a single


Scottish ancestor, as far as I know, I’m a Jacobite.  Or I would have been, had I lived then.  Just as I would have been on the side of the Cavaliers in the Civil War.  I mean, the Stuart kings in question may have been wrong to do some of the things they did, but they still had the right to be king IMO.  That right was taken away from them and that, to me, seems wrong.  Besides, being a romantic novelist, how could I possibly be on the side of the boring, staid and sober Roundheads or the plodding British army under Cumberland?  Flamboyant Cavaliers and Highlanders in kilts seem infinitely more appealing! 

So, back to the research then …