I suppose to some it might seem strange that one should choose to write historical fiction. Or, indeed, to read historical fiction. Those who believe only the present day matters may snarl, ‘Escapism!’. They quite fail to see the point. Many even condemn the academic study of history. I remember a former colleague of my husband’s, in the history department of his university, who held an academic position as an ‘historian’, yet who believed it was not worth studying any history earlier than the late nineteenth century and sneered (yes, I do mean sneered) at my interest in earlier periods, dismissing them as irrelevant.