I'm a Londoner born and bred but have lived for over 20 years now in the town of Rugby, where the football game of the same name originated. I'm married, with two grown-up children.

I've always been fascinated by history, particularly the early mediaeval period, and was prompted to write my first novel after reading one so poorly researched that I felt I just had to do better.

My first book, "The Gift and the Promise", set at the time of the Norman Conquest, was published originally by Piatkus but is now available in e-book format, as is my second novel "A Masterless Man" which follows the fortunes of the direct descendants of the characters in "The Gift and the Promise" over a hundred years later.

It may well be that future books will see this family's progress through the centuries to the present day.

 

John from Surrey emailed to tell me that he'd found my book listed on the website Historical Novels.info, in the Medieval Normans section. The website has over 5000 historical novels listed by time and place and each section contains a nice little introduction to the history of the period.  I feel somewhat justified in my aim to make my novels as accurate as possible knowing that there are others out there who enjoy stories set in real history.

Although it's not reviewed yet, here's what they had to say:

Sarah Pernell, The Gift and the Promise (1998), about a Norman knight who, to repay a favor, promises to come to the aid of a Saxon child whenever she has need of him and finds he must make good on his promise after the Battle of Hastings when she has grown to womanhood.

 

When I was in my teens historical fiction was extremely popular, although a lot of it tended to have a strong romantic element as well.  I would happily read Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer, but it was the work of Thomas B Costain that really developed my interest in historical fiction. For decades I would claim his novels  Below the Salt and The Tontine as my favourite books, closely followed by Anya Seton’s Katherine.

Although I had lost many of these actual books long before, and they had been out of print for many years, the advent of the internet suddenly allowed me to find again the books I had loved and I happily built up a collection of these lost works. How great was my disappointment when I read them again. It wasn’t the stories that disappointed but the realization that even well-loved writing can quickly become dated.

Later I discovered writers such as Sharon Penman, Rosemary Hawley Jarman and Dorothy Dunnett, all skillful storytellers with a keen eye for accurate historical detail. Of these, Dorothy Dunnett stood out with her wonderful characterisation, the sheer sweep and scale of the historical detail and colourful settings, and above all her incredibly complex plotting.  She was, and perhaps still is, my favourite historical author and her death a few years ago saddened me a great deal. I can’t claim any single one of her books as a favourite as she wrote several brilliant books in each historical series (the Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolò, for example), but I can certainly recommend King Hereafter, a sympathetic take on the MacBeth story.

For me today, it’s writers like Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett who carry the banner now for historical fiction and my current favourite book is probably Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I have to say, though, that I am totally gripped by George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones saga – probably the closest thing to historical fiction in the fantasy genre. I love The Lord of the Rings as well.