The official blog of Historical Fiction author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club. Come and join Mary Anne on the hunt for everything historical, as well as mythological. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Author’s Inspiration ~ Gunpowder, Treason and plot ~ Tony Morgan #HistoricalFiction @MorgantheBook
Please give a warm
welcome to historical Fiction author, Tony Morgan.
Gunpowder, Treason and plot
blog describes what inspired me to write two novels focused on the events and aftermath
of the Gunpowder Plot of the early Seventeenth Century.
truth, it all started with a creative writing exercise. I was tasked with
coming up with a six-word sentence which could be the first line or even the title
of a book. Pique the reader’s interest. Make them want to ask questions. Lure
them in to wanting to find out more. (That’s what I was instructed to do
anyway! Whether I got it right or not, only readers and potential readers can
time of year was late autumn, a few days after Halloween, around the time in
the UK when our evening skies are filled with fireworks, smoke from bonfires
and burning effigies of a man called Guy.
was around 7:30pm. I stared through the window into the darkness. I let my mind
wander and wondered. The words “Remember, Remember the 6th of
November” came into my head.
people will want to know why I’ve selected the 6th and not the 5th,
I thought. Some people might even be riled enough to tell me I’ve made a
mistake. If they did so, at least they’d be engaged was my view. As it turns
out quite a few people (mainly from outside the UK) have told me I’ve got my
I had, what I thought, was an intriguing title but no story. What about writing
an account of the Gunpowder Plot, I asked myself? And I was sitting in York
where the apparent protagonist (and the man on the fire) was born but the more
I thought about the subject the more I realised how little I knew.
started researching and reading. Hard copies, paperbacks, histories. My Kindle
creaked with the facts. My favourite work was “The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and
Faith in 1605” by Lady Antonia Fraser. I began to learn and understand. The
parallels with modern life jumped out at me – religious unrest, terrorists on
the streets of London, conflict with Europe, conspiracies, the topic of
increasing government surveillance.
more, other than the name of Guy Fawkes and an attempt to use gunpowder to blow
up Parliament, myself and so many other people knew so little about it. I had
to find out more.
George Cruikshank's illustration of Guy Fawkes,
was history at its most compelling. A critical point in a nation’s, perhaps
even the world’s, timeline. Why were people on both sides (Protestant and
Catholic, plotter and establishment) doing what they did? Why did events turn
out the way they did? What if things had been different?
short, I was hooked…
wrote a short story. It was fact heavy and frankly a little bit rubbish. I
started again and wrote a better novel-length story, with two intertwined
timelines. One was set in the first week of 1605. This told the history through
the eyes and actions of Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, the plotters and their
families, King James, Anne of Denmark, Robert Cecil, his rumoured lover
Katherine of Suffolk and others. The second timeline was set in a subtly
altered modern day. I trialled a draft on a number of people, including a book
club. A few loved the modern element but the majority, including the book club
members, raved about the historical section.
re-wrote the story to create the final version. I dropped the modern-day thread
and extended the historical sections. The plot developed into a thriller set
over the first week of November 1605, leading not just into the 5th
but the 6th also. I did get my dates right after all. The reviews on
Amazon etc to date have been excellent. I hope you like it. Please let me know
initial Kindle ebook came out a year before the BBC’s Gunpowder mini- series,
which debuted in 2017. I watched with interest but also a little
disappointment. In an attempt to create an exciting story, my view is the
producers diverged too much from the actual facts and ended up not getting
either quite right. And you can't get much more exciting than what really
the positive side, the timing of the TV show was excellent. It coincided with
the release of a paperback version of “Remember, Remember the 6th of
November”, the ebook release of the sequel “1617” and helped me sell more books
and raise even more money for my chosen good causes.
inspiration for the second book “1617” is quite simply “what if?”, specifically
“what if the Gunpowder Plot had at least partially succeeded?”. If the King had
been killed, history would have taken an alternate route. What a great
opportunity for an author to close their eyes for a moment and imagine…
Morgan lives in Yorkshire in the UK, close to the birthplace of Guy Fawkes. His
books have been described as a perfect read for lovers of the works of C.J.
Sansom and S. J. Parris and anyone interested in how historic events have
shaped our own times. Profits from his books to date have raised hundreds of
pounds for good causes, including Save the Children UK and York Teaching
Hospital Charity’s dementia appeal.
Remember, Remember the 6th of November is a thrilling retelling of the story of Guy Fawkes and the
Gunpowder Plot.England in 1605 is a country concerned about terrorism,
religious tensions, government surveillance and conflicts with Europe. A small
group of conspirators led by charismatic Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes plan
regime change. In a race against time can spymaster Robert Cecil and his lover
Katherine Suffolk prevent the country descending into all-out civil war
1617 is the exciting sequel
to Remember, Remember the 6th of November - a thrilling alternate history
filled with secrets, treachery and intrigue. Queen Elizabeth has transformed
England into a centre for religious tolerance but conflict is brewing across
Europe and there are continued troubles in Ireland. A peace envoy is needed.
Sir Everard Digby appears the perfect choice but he’s a man with a secret past
which the Queen must never discover…