Part of me believes I’d be a far more brilliant writer if only I didn’t have children! …But I also know that in reality, if I didn’t have children I would be a terrible procrastinator, and I’m much better now at not doing that.”
It was an unholy union between visiting a lot of ruined abbeys, and reading one too many Young Adult dystopians! The abbeys prompted me to ask questions about how people felt when something that was so massive and so central to their everyday lives was taken away by their rulers. Didn’t they resist? That led to me finding out about the Pilgrimage of Grace, the rebellion in which many thousands of ordinary Tudor people did try to resist the confiscation of their abbeys, with tragic consequences. I had been reading a lot of dystopian fiction at the time – The Hunger Games, Uglies, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it seemed to me that the themes of darkness against light, people struggling against an oppressive regime, and the idealistic teenager who is forced into situations beyond their previous experience while trying to resist, would fit very well into that historical picture.
Also, I’m happier, and hence less irritable, and have no temptation at all to live my life through them, since I can live out any unfulfilled fantasies in my books.