Last evening I was honoured to be invited to talk at one of the ‘Civil War Nights’ being held at the beautiful old Commandery in Worcester, an annual event held by the Battle of Worcester Society. The organisers didn’t want an academic lecture, which is just as well as I am purely an amateur historian, but about the process I used to research and write my English Civil War novel, Royalist Rebel, based on the life of Elizabeth Murray.
After a few nerves, mainly along the lines of doubts that I could talk coherently for over forty-five minutes, I was received by a charming group of people headed by Richard Shaw, and his wife, Christine, all impressively knowledgeable about their subject and to whom I could have chatted all night as they were so interesting.
Fortunately, they appeared equally fascinated by the subject of my novel and I found myself at the end having talked for an hour still with more to say. I spent the journey home regretting the snippets of information I didn’t get to, but hope what I did say kept my audience awake if not enthralled.
This morning I received some lovely e-mails thanking me for attending and saying how much they enjoyed my talk – as I said, a lovely group of people. Their enthusiasm made me want to start researching another 17th Century biographical novel – and that Elizabeth Murrays’ youngest son, William Murray would be a more than suitable subject.
His father died when he was six, spoiled by his mother who had to buy him a naval commission to keep him out of trouble. He killed another officer in a duel, was outlawed for several years, committed an act of piracy against a French ship, punished by being ‘burned in the hand’, was reinstated and covered himself with glory, only to contract yellow fever and die in the Bahamas at 28.
My heartfelt thanks to Richard and Christine Shaw for making me feel so welcome.