Some novels require an awful lot of research, and the one I am currently writing certainly falls into that category. The picture shows some of the books I’ve been referring to – might give a few indications of what the book’s about!
My work-in-progress is set around the time of the Irish war of independence, 1920-21. Back when I was at school, we learned nothing about Irish history, despite the huge impact on everyday life the ‘Troubles’ had on us at that time.
I’ve been married to an Irishman for 25 years, so of course I’ve learned a lot about Ireland, its people and its history, over time. Even so, when I started writing this book I was a bit hazy on many of the details. These books, except the Constance Markievicz one, were all on our bookshelves at home and have been very useful. The Short History of Ireland gave a brief overview of the 1916 uprising, the war of independence and then the civil war that followed almost immediately after. The Story of the Irish Race was published in 1921 when the war was still raging, but was good for learning about the events of the previous centuries that led up to Ireland’s fight to break free of the UK. Great Irish Speeches contains a few from those years – which has helped me understand the Irish nationalist feelings of the time.
While researching I kept coming across the name Constance Markievicz, and at some point read the Wikipedia article on her. She’s a fascinating character, so I bought this book to learn more about her. She was born into Anglo-Irish aristocracy, dabbled as an artist and a theatre producer and actress, married a Polish Count, was a suffragette, set up the Fianna Eireann (kind of military boy scouts) and then became heavily involved in the Irish nationalist movement. She was in the thick of the fighting in the 1916 uprising, and arrested for it, escaping execution only because she was a woman. Quite an unstoppable force. I’m hugely enjoying this book which I’m reading from cover to cover, and it’s certainly inspiring my novel!