My favourite novels are by Jane Austen (all of them) and LP Hartley (The Go Between).
Living authors would be CJ Sansom for his full blooded Shardlake series, Lindsay Davis for her irrepressible Roman detective Marcus Didius Falco, Allan Massie for the depth and intelligence of his Roman and European novels, and Barbara Scott Emmett for her novel The Land Beyond Goodbye, which evokes Australia’s aboriginal heritage marvellously.
In historical non-fiction, Jenny Wormald, John Guy and the late Richard Holmes, all of them for clarity and intellect.
On the lighter side, you can’t beat Jimmy Bain’s politically incorrect Bumble private detective novels. He is a Greenock Raymond Chandler. His fiction’s been described as Weegie Noir and it’s crying out to be filmed.
Do you have a routine for writing?
I work best in the morning and work full time, so it’s usually on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which can stretch to almost all day. Sometimes weekday evenings. What influenced you to set Garlands and Shadows in the Scottish Highlands?
I worked there as a student and it is so beautiful. Also, both my parents are of Highland extraction, from Lewis and Skye.
Will there be a sequel to Garlands and Shadows?
I think so, but I’ve recently been working on a historical trilogy. Doubtful Blood, Counterfeit and Thorn Maker are now available in the Amazon Kindle Store. After these, I have an old Edwardian romance to revise.
To what extent do you think that religious intolerance contributed to the events portrayed in The Warbeck Trilogy?
Hugely. Were it not for Jan being Catholic and Queen Elizabeth a Protestant, most of the events of Thorn Maker would not have happened.
What is your favourite historical era, and why?
The late fifteenth to sixteenth centuries. The portraits, the music, the language of it. The political and religious instability - so much change happened, so much for society to cope with. And such vivid, individualistic people.
If the world was ending, what novel would you save?
Pride and Prejudice, definitely. It’s so witty and always cheers me up!