Author Highlight - Nigel Tranter
I wanted to start doing highlights of those authors of historical fiction and historical non-fiction that I feel are exceptional and unique. So, starting off I wanted to introduce you to Nigel Tranter.
I was first introduced to this wonderful Scottish author when I went on a study abroad to England and spent a lovely long weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was lucky enough to discover the tiny Scottish Writers Museum down a little back alley. Unfortunately, Mr. Tranter had recently died. To honor him, the museum had a video running about his life with interviews from when he was alive. He talked about the books he wrote, his writing process, and how incredibly valuable Scottish history was to him. He was also very passionate about saving and preserving old Scottish castles for future posterity.
In half an hour I had discovered my first author hero.
What I loved most about Mr. Tranter was his method - he would go for long, long walks in the countryside. As he walked he'd think about the story he was working on, pause to jot notes in a little notebook he carried, and keep walking. It was during this time of treading the soil that he developed the stories based on rich Scottish history he is so well known for like The Bruce Trilogy. I like to think that his walks in the countryside connected him on a deeper level as an author to settings he wrote about. He wrote about all kinds of topics throughout Scottish history including Mary Queen of Scots, Rob Roy, and William Wallace in what he called "period pieces". He did write other books like children's and westerns.
I have had the pleasure of reading just one of Mr. Tranter's books - The Stone. It involves the Stone of Destiny, a stone that is under the Coronation chair for when the kings and queens of England are crowned. It's a wonderful story and a great adventure, including some of Mr. Tranter's own theories about The Stone, which are quite interesting!
It is unfortunate that his books are so difficult to find over here in the states. But if you ever get the chance to pick up one of his books, I'd recommend it. I hope to be able to read more of his books in the future.