Fortune’s Hand is fiction, not history. In writing it, I was trying to imagine what it must have been like to see the world through Walter Raleigh’s eyes.
Now you may say that’s an insane thing to attempt and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with you. But for whatever reason, that’s what I did.
So it’s a work of the imagination first and foremost. But the imagination has to have something to go on. And as I am writing about a world that has long vanished, the fuel for my imagination has to be drawn from research.
The germ of the idea came when I went to see an exhibition about El Dorado at the British Museum, back in 2013. That’s when the story of Walter Raleigh captured my imagination and I first started to think it was something I could write about.
But I’m not a historian. I had never studied the Elizabethan period. Everything I knew about it was drawn from popular culture, especially the second series of Blackadder. I had a lot of catching up to do.
You can never do enough research. Because you will never find out exactly what you want to know. The texture and savour of the past remains elusive, no matter how many books you read.
But here are some of the books I did read, if you’re interested.