Sunday, June 21, 2009

Historical accuracy

Thanks to my writer friend Joanna Orwin who alerted me to the fact that there were no potatoes in Scotland in the 11th Century and to a sharp-eyed reader in the Penguin office who said matches were not invented until the mid-1800s. I knew about the matches and it was a slip of the keystrokes (I was thinking of tinder not a match but I used that word subconsciously).

As to the spuds, my researcher and I had thought we’d found them in the 11th Century due to a reference from the Doomsday book regarding tubular underground vegetables. I just translated that to mean potatoes. So, both historical inaccuracies have been amended.

As I say in a note at the start of the book:
Just as William Shakespeare used real history as the basis for the characters in his play, this novel draws on his created history contained within ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’. The vocabulary is a reflection of the Elizabethan era rather than from 11th-century Scotland.

I don’t want people getting picky about bloopers (meaning, I don’t want there to be any so that it distracts from the power of the story which, I believe, as does my agent, transcends 11th Century Scotland).

Now, back to Scotland and those damn rebels who are giving our boy migrains! (and, yes, I know they wouldn't have called them that back then but I'm talking to you from the 21st Century!)

1 comment:

Melinda Szymanik said...

I too had to remove potatoes from the 11th century. Those pesky vegetables just keep cropping up where they shouldn't. I worry about historical accuracy but sometimes its hard to know what I don't know. I found out about the potatoes quite by accident...its probably why my more recent novels have a modern setting :)