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Masterworks: Legacy - Samantha Wilcoxson - Interview

  Today is the last of a series on nine interviews I'm sharing on the Crowvus Book Blog. These are from the authors of the short stories included in the  Masterworks  anthology by the  Historical Writers Forum . We're running through chronologically, some are video interviews, others are written. I am delighted to welcome the fantastic Samantha Wilcoxson, who is sharing the artist inspiration for her short story Legacy , as well as the appeal of James A. Hamilton, and the delights of researching. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you write (besides Masterworks!), and what inspired you to begin writing. I was inspired to write by my love of reading. After watching me read, write reviews, and keep journals for twenty years, my husband asked me why I didn’t try writing, so I did! Without really planning on it, I ended up writing historical biographical fiction. I’m drawn to a tragic tale but also to lesser known historical figures with emotive stories to tell

#HistFicThursdays - Masterworks - The Maeshowe Dragon as Inspiration for "Proof of the Old Faith"

Video courtesy of Tempest Wright

There are no stories which stick with you more than those from childhood. My childhood was full of stories: myths and legends abounded and tales of Finn Folk, or medieval battles fought with a stone in a sock (I know, I know, it wasn't quite like that, but this was the bit which stuck with me as a child!), were always on hand in the landscape. It was exciting to drive past the locations of Summerdale at the back of the house we used to live in, or to see Eynhallow which Thorodale made visible when he defeated the Finn Folk. But it was still somehow distant and difficult to relate back to those warriors and characters of days gone by.

But imagine, as a child, seeing a message left by someone eight hundred years ago - of blizzards and crusaders.  Or better still: a picture they left behind...

Cue: The Maeshowe Dragon

Stenness, where I spent my early childhood, is seeped in history. It has standing stones and henges which date back into the third millennia BC, and ancient mounds and settlements which remain an enigma today. Tantalising, but difficult to connect with.

Then - after many other inhabitants on the islands - came the Vikings. Invaders, plunderers, and then settlers, the legacy of the Norse race on Orkney is incredible, not least because of the written accounts they left. And this was something I could relate to. Here was that man who scrawled obscenities onto stones, the gangs who egged each other on to enter dark caverns on a dare, the boastful comments about being the tallest or reaching furthest to carve their names... Not a lot has changed in the world of graffiti!

And, in amongst all that, was a picture of a creature. A dragon, perhaps?  A dog? A hare? A griffon? Who knows, for there is nothing in the carvings which explains why he is there.

This little beast has been a mystery for me since those early days so, when the Historical Writers Forum decided to put together an anthology based on artwork, it had to be about him. We know from the sagas that it was Jarl Harald and his men who broke into Maeshowe during a blizzard, and he was quite a character - but, to find out about him, you'll have to wait until next week.

So, please check out this homage to my childhood mystery. Proof of the Old Faith is the second story in Masterworks, and is inspired by the carving of the Maeshowe Dragon. It is written with a great deal of love and affection for my old home. 

And, as always, please leave a review to let me know what you thought!

You can get Masterworks on #KindleUnlimited here!

Strolling through an art gallery gives art appreciators a glimpse at the heart of creativity artists from across time and distance have poured onto canvas, into clay, through wood, metal, and stone. Art inspires us and helps us connect with emotions and ideas. But have you ever wondered what inspired the artists themselves? Perhaps it was a loved one, a moment of suffering or despair, a celebration, or a victory. Have you ever wondered what stories these works tell?

We asked the authors of the Historical Writers Forum these questions, to imagine what stories might be revealed in the history of famous works of art. Through their short stories, you will be transported back in time to the magnificence of works of art from ancient Mesopotamia to nineteenth century America, exploring the people, events, and emotions that may have inspired incredible works of art.

This anthology from Historical Writers Forum includes the following short stories:

A Našû for Ilu
Stephanie Churchill

Proof of the Old Faith
Virginia Crow

La Belle Dame sans Merci
Kathleen Guler

Blood on White Mountain
Eleanor Swift-Hook

The Lacemaker’s Son
Melissa Speed

The Portrait
Lars D.H. Hedbor

The Ambassadress
Ronan Beckman

A Good and Proper Lunacy
Tempest Wright

Portrait of a Lady
Joanne Major

The Watcher on the Wall
Gareth Williams

Samantha Wilcoxson


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