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About the Author

I suppose, obeying the conventions by which I live as a writer I should start at the beginning and work my way through the trials and conflicts to the happy ever after!

Elizabeth Chadwick biography
I was born a story teller. At the age of three, before I could read or write, I can remember opening my picture books at my favourite illustrations and making up new tales. Almost like Mary Poppins, I used to ‘climb’ inside the pictures and imagine myself a part of that world. I would watch television programmes and make up new episodes, favourites being ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Stingray’ and ‘Champion The Wonder Horse’. Gender and species were no object. With a child’s imagination, I was Champion, I was The Lone Ranger or Troy Tempest. I didn’t see playing with dolls as great fun, but for my sixth birthday I was delighted to be given a cowboy outfit and six guns!

I came to love historical fiction partly through drama, partly through books and television. I can remember acting out dramatic pieces of Scots history (I grew up in a village just outside Glasgow) in front of the blackboard – half a dozen eight year olds galloping about on pretend horses like the knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, was a sight to behold! But I thought it was wonderful!

Elizabeth Chadwick visiting the medieval location Cartmel Priory founded by William Marshal
In my early teens I fell in love with Charlton Heston in the film The War Lord. Then he was supplanted in my affections by a dark, handsome French knight in the children’s series Desert crusader. That was when I decided to write a book, to make up a story and continue his tale. The character who developed from this was a sort of Medieval James Bond whom no woman could conquer until the fair Cecile came along. Since my knowledge of the Middle Ages consisted of what I had learned at school it was fairly basic and riddled with innacuracy. I set out to research with vengeance. If my story was going to be set in the Middle Ages, then it had to feel right. It was at that point, aged fifteen that I knew I wanted writing historical fiction to be my career.

Years passed. I met my husband, had a couple of kids, continued to write and be rejected by publishers, but I didn’t care. I was doing what I loved and I knew I was getting better because I was starting to win competitions. In 1989, on the strength of the first three chapters and synopsis, THE WILD HUNT was taken on by literary agent Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann and auctioned to Michael Joseph, part of the Penguin publishing group. Together with my husband, I went to London for the first time in twenty years and was taken out to lunch at the Groucho club. “I adore your love scenes,” enthused my new editor “they’re erotic without being pornographic.” “Yes,” grinned my husband “I’m the research assistant!”

the Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick
Elizabeth Chadwick and Prince Charles
Left: My first novel, The Wild Hunt, and meeting Prince Charles.

As in all good novels, there are certain high spots along the way. In 1994 I was hired by Columbia Pictures to turn the script of First Knight starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere into a novel. Sadly I didn’t get to meet either actor, but I did talk to the producer, Gerry Zucker of Naked Gun and Ghost fame. Writing First Knight was great fun and an excellent learning experience, not to say a discipline. I had four months to turn out an 80,000 word novel.

In 1998, my novel The Champion was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists Association Parker Pen Award for the best Romantic novel of the year. I have been shortlisted three more time since then and longlisted twice. In 2011 To Defy A King won their award for the best work of Historical fiction.  A Place Beyond Courage, the story of the great William Marshal’s father John FitzGilbert (equally great in his own way in my opinion, but unsung) was selected by UK bookshop chain Waterstones as one of their Best Books of 2008 in historical fiction. In 2010 The Scarlet Lion was nominated as one of the ten landmark historical novels of the decade by Historical Novel Society founder Richard Lee

In 2009, Sourcebooks began to publish my work in the USA beginning with The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion. The Greatest Knight went on to become a New York Times bestseller.  Sourcebooks has since published many more of my titles and I look forward to a continuing excellent relationship with them.

Elizabeth Chadwick as a baby
Several decades down the line from those early beginnings, I am still jumping into pictures and galloping about in front of blackboards – so to speak. Although an author’s job is not a secure one, whatever the future holds, I’ll still be writing!

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