It's my pleasure today to welcome historical fiction author Louise Turner as our guest on Heroines of Fantasy.
Born in Glasgow, Louise spent her early years in the west of Scotland where she attended the University of Glasgow. After graduating with an MA in Archaeology, she went on to complete a Ph.D on the Bronze Age metalwork hoards of Essex and Kent. She has since enjoyed a varied career in archaeology and cultural resource management. Writing has always been a major aspect of her life and at a young age, she won the Glasgow Herald/Albacon New Writing in SF competition with her short story ‘Busman’s Holiday’. Louise lives with her husband in West Renfrewshire.
Her first novel, Fire and Sword, is set in the turbulent period which follows the murder of King James III of Scotland, and the succession of his son, the future James IV. At its heart is the struggle endured by John Sempill of Ellestoun, a young man who finds his future put in jeopardy when his father dies fighting for the losing side.
You can visit Louise at www.louiseturner.co.uk.
First of all, a big THANK YOU to Karin Gastreich for her invitation to contribute to the Heroines of Fantasy Blogspot.
I’m Louise Turner, and I’m a writer of historical fiction. My debut novel, Fire and Sword, is set in 15th Century Scotland and is now available from Hadley Rille Books.
You may be scratching your heads and wondering what a writer of historical fiction is doing on a blog dedicated to fantasy. And I must confess, I wondered at first what I could possibly say that was relevant, or appropriate.
But then I looked back along the path that brought me here, and everything fell into place. I was brought up on science fiction and fantasy. My mother raised me on a varied diet of Dr Who and Susan Cooper, J R R Tolkein and Ursula LeGuin.
Is it any wonder, then, that my earliest pieces of writing were fantasy and science fiction?
One thing did, however, set my mother apart. She was a big fan of historical fiction. But somehow – with the exception of Rosemary Sutcliff – it was a genre that completely passed me by. Then I went to university and discovered archaeology almost by accident. It was at that point my life changed completely.
My original intention was to mine archaeology for inspiration so I could write science fiction and fantasy, but as time passed I thought I’d give writing historical fiction a go. And once I started dabbling with the genre, I was hooked.
It was at this time that I started reading historical fiction, but I was often left disappointed. I found history exciting, and vibrant, but most of the time the stuff I was reading just seemed plain dull. The characters often seemed to be manipulated by history, marionettes pulled by the strings of Fate. I wanted to read something different, something which reflected the way in which people interacted with each other to create history. Is it any wonder that my main inspiration came from novels set in the Union-Alliance universe of C J Cherryh, graced with multi-layered plots which make you really feel like you’re witnessing history in the making?
A number of fantasy writers are directly inspired by medieval culture and society, but it sometimes feels like the genres of fantasy and historical fiction are following parallel, but entirely separate, courses. In reality, they have much in common. That common strand tends to be humanity. Even a brief study of ancient and historic societies shows that human beings can exist in infinite variety. But they remain, nonetheless, human. Throughout the millennia, they’ve lived, loved, died. They’ve mourned. They’ve created things of great beauty. They’ve spun tales of wonder and delight. And sometimes, they’ve proved themselves capable of almost unbearable evil and cruelty.
Scratch the surface. Look a little deeper. Whether you’re moving forwards or backwards in time, or you’re exploring realms that are completely invented, you still need the common reference points. Universal problems and truths remain consistent and when the author keeps this at the forefront of their mind, the story will be credible and the characters worth caring for, no matter when and where the story may be set.