Before William Wallace, before Robert the Bruce, there was another Scottish hero…
In 1296, newly knighted by the King of the Scots, Andrew de Moray fights to defend his country against the forces of the ruthless invader, King Edward Longshanks of England. After a bloody defeat in battle, he is dragged in chains to an English dungeon.
Soon the young knight escapes. He returns to find Scotland under the heel of a conqueror and his betrothed sheltering in the hills of the Black Isle. Seizing his own castle from the English, he raises the banner of Scottish freedom. Now he must lead the north of Scotland to rebellion in hope of defeating the English army sent to crush them.
I write stories set in a distant time, when emotions ran high and survival was never certain. It was a period of war and stuggle, in which my characters are embroiled. In our world, you can a trip to anywhere in the world and be there within a day. I want my novels to take you ssomewhere you can't go, a fanished world of the past.
In order to do that I have to recreate a world I have never seen. I have to show you battles and struggles that are barely imaginable to us. I want to to experience the excitement, the pain and even the feeling of grief and of loss. I experienced that in Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom. He impressed me with the excitement and intensity of his battles and the believability of the world he brought to the reader. I am determined to bring this kind of experience to my own readers.
I write about the war between Scotland and England and Scotland’s War of Independence as factually c as I can manage. Yes, my novels have taken years of research because you can’t write about medieval Scotland, its people, its battles, its beauty, and its suffering without a huge fund of knowledge about it. Many of my readers are knowledgeable on this struggle for freedom. When I get it right they let me know.
If I get something wrong, they also let me know about that!
It probably surprises people to know that the internet has not made a great difference in this kind of research. While I can sometimes look up a minor point on the internet, most of the in-depth information I need has to be dug out of my extensive library. I have many chronicles that were written during the period such as John Barbour’s epic romantic poem, The Bruce, or Scalacronica: The Reins of Edward I, Edward II and Edward II as recorded by Sir Thomas Gray. However, many historians have written analyzing the
Scottish War of Independence and works such as GWW Barrow’s Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland are also essential reading. It isn’t quite true that I spend as much time on research as on writing, but it is a major endeavor. I visit most of the places I write about and they are also inspiring. Standing atop the Pass of Brandar and imagining Sir James Douglas leading his men through the dark to ambush his king’s enemies can only be stirring. However, my real inspiration is the people. They risked everything, including horrific execution, to fight for “Scotland’s king and law” as the great Robert Burns put it in his poem. They humble me to think about.
Most of the characters in my books were real people who lived, moved and died. My goal is to write about them in such a way that the reader knows them as well as they know their best friend. To do that, first I must not only know about them but care about them – and care about them deeply.
Freedom’s Sword is a prequel to A Kingdom’s Cost, Book 1 of The Black Douglas Trilogy.
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Genre – Historical / War Fiction
Rating – PG
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