I’ve been desperately trying to interest a publisher in the biography of a naval figure contemporary with Nelson. He was very successful and famous in his day, and being local to my neck of the woods his name lives on in at least two pubs. But sadly, publishers now are less and less interested in the literary merits of an idea and more and more in the financial ones (unless you are a celebrity or a member of the London in-crowd) and I can’t find a taker. However, something good has come of my attempts.
Amberley Publishing reluctantly declined the idea, but to my surprise asked me if I would be interested in writing something about the Battle of Waterloo instead. Flattered though I was, I was a little reluctant because I felt it had been done to death. For the first time in my life I almost rejected a publisher rather than the other way round!
But history is my passion and I kept thinking about it, and when I came up with what I thought was a relatively different angle, I decided to go for it.
Eyewitness Waterloo 1815 is due out in 2015 to mark the bicentenary of the event. As the title suggests, I wanted to tell the story almost solely in the words of those who were there at the time, rather than rehashing the usual information about generals, tactics, troop movements, outflanking manoeuvres and the like. I’ve come up with some fascinating accounts – but still a lot of work to do!
(Blimey – the spellchecker says I got manoeuvres right first time!)