dbbks3
dbbks3 asked Elizabeth Chadwick:

How much do you research the period and the people before writing your books? How historically accurate are they? Why did you decide to choose these subjects, especially the Bigods?

Elizabeth Chadwick Hi Deanna,
I research in depth and try to be as accurate as I can, although I prefer to use the word 'authentic' rather than accurate. I have been researching my period - late 11th, 12th and early 13th centuries for over 40 years and I have an extensive library. For me it's not just the immediate research but the constant ongoing immersion of myself in the culture and mindset of the period. Without that layering, it's easy for characters to become modern people in fancy dress. At the moment I'm reading books on pilgrimage and the Holy Land for my new work on William Marshal, and on the sidelines for curiosity I'm reading another book on the culture of food and drink in medieval England. (CM Woolgar's latest from Yale University Press. Yes, people did drink water according to his research, although you'll see the myth promulgated in a lot of places online that they didn't. That's the kind of detail I'm constantly chasing and studying in depth). It's all grist to the mill.
The Bigods were an offshoot of my Marshal novels in that I became interested in them through the marriage of Mahelt Marshal to Hugh Bigod. Hugh's mother was a royal mistress and on studying her story, I became interested in what had happened to her - what effect it had on her. I was also interested in Roger's story - denied his inheritance because of his father's rebellion, and having to rebuild, while fending off rivals. My research included material from a PHD thesis on the Bigods and Marc Morris's book on the same family which gives an overview of the earlier Bigods, although his book is mainly on the 13th century branch of the family.
Elizabeth :-)

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