Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Write History?

Guest Blog by Margaret Blake

Lots of people pose that question. It always comes up when I do a talk and ask for questions. My answer is much the same, although it varies a little depending on why they are asking the question. It can be asked in an arrogant way “Why write history?” and you imagine they are thinking, it’s a lot of old hat! Or they can ask because the questioner is perhaps wondering if there is a market out there for the book they have hidden in a drawer.

I write history because I love to delve into the past. Ah too easy that, it has to be more than that. My novels have an element of suspense as well as romance. Believe me it is just a tad easier to write suspense when you don’t have cell phones, or telephones, or fast cars and aeroplanes. When everyone can’t find out anything about anyone else practically instantaneously. No computer, no Facebook…importantly no DNA.

Journeys were horrendous in the medieval times. You went on horseback or you walked. Roads were notoriously dangerous too. Robbers abounded. You could go in the summer when there were more people but again this limits you.

Something important happens in London, it takes ages for the news to be brought to say Yorkshire in the North. News would be brought by visitors, or importantly, by the packmen who travelled the roads delivering goods and who picked up lots of gossip on the way.

All this enables me to really spin out the story. In my novel The Substitute Bride, my heroine changes places with her sister. She will marry Lord Hinchcliffe and she does get away with it for a very long time. But when he does find out, then it is more devastating for she is by then madly in love with him and it is no more a marriage of convenience. Imagine what a photograph could do to that plot!

In Dangerous Enchantment my heroine has a secret, the revelation of which could end with her death. Alfled in A Saxon Tapestry pretends she is boy – again no photographs to show the lie of the disguise. It’s great.

I do write contemporary romantic suspense, as well as contemporary romance, and I enjoy these. Research is easy to do and in A Fatal Flaw my heroines quarry knows almost immediately that she is making enquiries about him. That puts her in danger. So you can have fun with modern technology as well.

However, I do enjoy going back in time. Why do I write history? Simple really, because I like to!

Whiskey Creek Press
Margaret's home Page


  1. I'm glad that you've chosen to write history! I feel like I've learned something from reading your books!

  2. Interesting read, Margaret. Could you imagine being one of those packmen? Subject to constant danger but also privy to news, which makes you the center of attention in town.

  3. Gosh Jen, it's my interpretation of it, others might disagree, especially on my support of Richard the Third, but you know I'm right!

    John, yes those Packmen, subject to all kinds of gossip, I bet it was a bit like Topsy tho and the story growed and growed.

  4. You have such a grasp of the human condition and fascinating to see it played out in another century. And reading your historicals has me grateful for some of our modern conveniences.

  5. Oh yes, Kathy - not least the WC and hot water on tap! Though in Florida yu could just about manage without the latter - you could bath in the many lakes, if you can dodge the gaters, LOL

  6. Good post, enjoyed it. Love your covers.


  7. Hi Margaret,

    Great post. I am like you, I write historicals because I love them.



  8. Hi Margaret and Linda - thanks for stopping by.

  9. Excellent post, Margaret. Especially your comments about communications in the past compared with today. Cellphones and email have changed things forever in contemporary romance!