Exploring the Power of Women

Long ago, I made deliberate choice to foreground women’s stories from the past and, by doing so, I hope, celebrating the power of women in history and literature. Through extensively researched and creatively fleshed out historical storytelling, I try and bring to life diverse women in different historical settings from England in the 1300s and down through the centuries to Scotland in the1700s.

Aphra Behn: the first professional female writer in English features in The Escapades of Tribulation Johnson
Aphra Behn: the first professional female writer in English features in The Escapades of Tribulation Johnson

The more I research history and go down various rabbit holes, the more I am in awe the strength, resilience, and achievements of women throughout history and the men who stood with them and helped them to accomplish real difference. My books deliberately showcase diverse women from different backgrounds, cultures, and time periods, giving voice to those whose stories have often been overlooked or marginalised. By shining a light on these women, I hope I empower readers – young and old – to appreciate the rich tapestry of not just female experiences, but human ones.

– Maybe it’s my academic background (I was a university lecturer for over 20 years and have a PhD in English/Cultural Studies) or because of my insatiable curiousity and desire to be as accurate as fiction allows, but I’m committed to research. Rather than being didactic, I try and ensure that the intricate details and richness of the historical accuracy enhance the story-telling and thus the reading experience – after all, my books are not textbooks or non-fiction, but designed, above all, to entertain. I want my readers to be transported to different eras, by immersing themselves in the lives of the characters and the worlds they inhabit.

By representing women and men from various backgrounds such as brewers, locksmiths, spies, journalists, writers and playwrights, chocolate makers, fishwives, actresses, actors, and distillers and smugglers (forthcoming book), my wish is that readers from all walks of life can find themselves reflected in the stories.

The terrible witchhunt of 1704-1705 in Pittenweem, Scotland, is retold in The Darkest Shore.

I hope that my novels serve as a reminder that the while the “victors” and powerful, privileged and educated men have written history, there are so many other stories that are equally, if not more valuable, important, and deserving of recognition. After all, while it may be a “woman’s story” it’s still one in which we all partake and thus share. Unlike a great deal of history, herstory gives us a different perspective and greater context for understanding. Taken into consideration alongside history, herstory is our story too.

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