Reading great novels teaches us so much about humans, with all of the accompanying beauty and warts. History books do the same. But reading history usually tells us much more about culture, mores, and societies within which people lived. This is why I was always drawn to historical fiction, because it is a lesson of human character, and of the context and framework within which that character developed.
I have written history and I have written about politics. I have read more about both than I care to remember. So, I often read fiction as a welcome distraction from the reading I did professionally. As I have traveled the world and read about different places and people, I see similar human dramas played out across different continents in varying cultures. I love reading works of historical fiction that describe regular people trying to live their lives during periods of great upheaval and transformation.
If you peruse the section on my website about my family and my ancestors, you see an ordinary group of people. Many of them lived in seemingly momentous times, but everybody in every generation can probably say the same. Witness what is transpiring today as the society we built that is based on global interconnectedness is under threat. Nobody knows what the system will look like in twenty years. My aim with writing historical fiction is to highlight the travails of ordinary people in extraordinary times. And by writing about my ancestors, I will leave a record of them for my family and for future generations of my family. As for my first novel, Above the Water, it is loosely based on a several of my relatives and what they experienced before and during the Second World War.