Wednesday 20 June 2018

Authors Inspiration ~ Trisha Hughes #amwriting #HistoricalFiction @TrishaHughes

Authors Inspiration ~ Trisha Hughes

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
Rudyard Kipling

Have you ever wondered why it is that when we hear an almost forgotten song, we can remember every single word? Thirty years on, the song is as fresh in our minds as when we first heard it and whether we can hold a tune or not, we sing along with it and we remember the words exactly. So the six million dollar question is, why don’t we do the same with everything else?

When I was at school, learning about the Magna Carta, the Battle of Hastings, Agincourt, Bosworth, Bannockburn, along with the names of unknown kings fighting unknown battles in unknown places was the most boring lessons I could imagine. But now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, my perception has changed. All of a sudden, these characters aren’t eccentric anymore. They were real people with real personalities. They fought violent battles, they won the love of their women, they made mistakes and they were vulnerable to diseases. Just like all of us. Suddenly it became exciting.

Morning of the Battle of Agincourt, 25 October 1415, painted by Sir John Gilbert in the 19th century

Writing my “V2V” British Monarchy series began quite innocently. I was talking to my grandson about his interests. I even did what every grandparent does ... I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up and I asked what subjects he was taking at school. And it turned out that history was one of them. Brightened that we had something to talk about to take his mind off his Facebook page, I said to him 'So you know all about Henry VIII.'

Henry VIII ~ Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1537–1547

It was a statement, not a question, and I fully expected him to say “of course”. Everyone knows who Henry VIII is. Right? Instead, I was greeted with a blank look. I gaped disbelievingly at him. 'You DO know who Henry VIII was, right?' Apparently not.
He does now. We sat and I talked for more than an hour on the subject and I told him the whole sordid story of Henry and his wives: the beheadings, the urgent need for a male heir and the transformation from charismatic eighteen-year-old to obese tyrant. I created an exciting adventure for him full of fierce kings and fragile women, of deadly wars and intense longing. I told him a story that left him enthralled in a world he’d never imagined existed and he was hooked.

What I actually did was bring Henry back to life. Instead of an eccentric character from a dusty history book, Henry became a real person who lived his life full of deceit, lust, betrayal and hope. And my grandson laughed when he was supposed to laugh and he was shocked when he was supposed to be shocked. His rapture made me stop and think. Why don’t we know more about the past? History can be the richest of stories, the saddest of stories and the most shocking of stories. It’s a step back into a world full of danger and intrigue and it can be frightening, astounding and it can be incredibly sad. But the magic of it all is it’s true.

The idea of writing a book on British Monarchy suddenly began to grow in my mind and ideas were running madly around in my brain.

I’d already written and published my memoir, ‘Daughters of Nazareth’, but that was ten years before and although it became a bestseller in Australia, it was a totally different project from what I was planning. The information was already in my head so it just meant sifting through my memories and putting them down on paper. Taking the giant step into historical research was daunting to say the least. And with so many different accounts scattered throughout the internet and in biographies, finding the factual ones was proving to be somewhat of a nightmare. Ask any historical writer.

What I soon realised was that I had to become something of a sleuth. It was like being a time-detective, hunting through the records and the archaeological artefacts, looking for clues that might help build up a picture of what really happened long ago. Then, along with the hard work that goes into that research I had to master the art of story telling.

Then something amazing happened. As I sifted and searched, I felt transported back in time as my imagination kicked in. It’s a delicate balance to ensure the stories are exciting yet truthful but the more I researched the more I realised that I didn’t need to create conflict or twist a horrible knot into my story. It was already there because conflict and intrigue lies at the heart of all history. All I needed to do was tell it as the story.

Five years later, Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of beingKing was born and a year after publication, ‘Virgin to Victoria – The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen’ has followed on. In one more year, I’m hopeful the final book in my V2V trilogy, ‘Victoria to Vikings – The Circle of Blood’ will join the other two and my story will be complete.

Trisha Hughes
I was born in a little outback town called Blackall in Central Queensland, Australia. From there my parents moved to the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley where I grew up to be a tiny, self-reliant little girl.

My first book, ‘Daughters of Nazareth’ is my story, written eighteen years ago, fuelled on by the discovery of a family I never knew I had.  It’s full of family secrets, tremendous heartache but proves the human spirit’s amazing ability to triumph over adversity. Nineteen years ago, after just one phone call, my life changed abruptly. With that change came a passion for writing and I have been writing ever since.

I love writing crime novels but my passion is with the history of the British Monarchy. The first in my ‘V2V’trilogy is ‘Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of being King’ published in 2017. The second in the series is due for release on 28th April this year and is called ‘Virgin to Victoria – The Queen is Dead. Long live the Queen.’ The final book, ‘Victoria to Vikings – The Circle of Blood’ will be released early 2019.

Trisha loves to hear from readers. You can find her... Website  Twitter Facebook

Vikings to Virgin
The Hazards of being King

In Vikings to Virgin - The Hazards of Being King Trisha Hughes provides the reader with a pacey introduction to the many pitfalls faced by the ambitious as they climbed the dangerous ladders of royalty. It is easy to think that monarchs are all powerful, but throughout the Dark and Middle Ages it was surprisingly easy to unseat one and assume the crown yourself. But if it was easy to gain ... it was just as easy to lose.
From the dawn of the Vikings through to Elizabeth I, Trisha Hughes follows the violent struggles for power and the many brutal methods employed to wrest it and keep hold of it. Murder, deceit, treachery, lust and betrayal were just a few of the methods used to try and win the crown. Vikings to Virgin - The Hazards of Being King spans fifteen hundred years and is a highly accessible and enjoyable ride through the dark side of early British monarchy.

Virgin to Victoria

The Queen is Dead. Long live the Queen

After the death of Elizabeth I’s sister, ‘Bloody Mary’, England had high hopes for their new queen when she came to the throne. 25-year-old Elizabeth I attended her first council exuding an air of quiet confidence, even though she was inheriting a bankrupt nation torn apart by religious discord. It was chaotic.

Despite her amazing legacy and despite what her father, Henry VIII, had desired above all else, Elizabeth failed England in one vital point. She never married and did not leave an heir to the Tudor dynasty. By making that one fateful decision, she left the path open for the Stuarts in Scotland to take over and life would never be the same.

‘Virgin to Victoria’ travels in time through Elizabeth I’s amazing life, through the confusion of the Stuart dynasty, through the devastation of a Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell, through horrific battles for the throne and through the turbulent and discordant Hanover dynasty with its intricate family squabbles.

Queen Victoria did not ask to be Queen. It was thrust upon her by the accident of birth and then by a succession of accidents that removed all others who stood between her and the throne. She assumed it reluctantly and, at first, incompetently. Parliament was sure the 18-year-old could be relied upon to leave the job of running the country to the professionals.

Couldn’t she?

Books can be purchased through Amazon, Book Depository, and most on-line outlets and personally signed copies through my website:


  1. "They were real people with real personalities." YES. Yes, they were. As I once wrote: "They went to sleep at night, got up in the mornings, ate huge meals, wore sumptuous clothes, ... relieved themselves, caught the common cold, laughed, cried, and grieved, and *lived*." In other words, I couldn't agree more with you!

  2. Certainly they were real personalities and as novelists we bring them back to life with a stab at how they might have been as personalities.

  3. It is a sad state of affairs when children do not know their history. It is true what you say, though, that stories bring these long dead characters back to life and I think that is why historical fiction will never go out of fashion.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx