As a historian and practicing archivist, Bethany has always been interested in the past. She reads historical fiction and so perhaps it’s not surprising she is having a go at writing it. Her first novel - Scandulum - is set in Ireland and has two timelines, 1420 and 2020. This is her first would be fiction publication. She has had minor publishing successes via her career as an archivist but not yet in fiction.
What is your story, Bethany?
I did my PhD in the UK on Medieval Manuscripts and Literary Archives, and this fuelled my desire to actually get a work of fiction down on paper. My Masters was in Medieval and Tudor Studies and I felt very lucky to spend every Friday morning ensconced in the Cathedral Archives in Canterbury (England) studying medieval manuscripts and learning more about the people who wrote and read them. I also used to curate for the National Trust in England and so have been fortunate to work in, visit, explore and research a plethora of beautiful historical landscapes, many of which have stayed with me in my mind, which fuel creative endeavours.
I moved from the UK to Australia in 2017 and settled in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges just outside Melbourne. I work for a local government agency and am actively involved in archival sector development, regularly giving papers and working collaboratively with sector colleagues to advance our profession.
Where do your ideas for stories come from, Bethany?
I guess I have always been a writer and a reader. I became a historian in my 20s, and trained to be an archivist in my 30s. I’m now in my 40s, and am writing my first novel – Scandulum – and this will be the first of a trilogy. I undertake a number of creative writing courses and also read widely, both in fiction, but also in non-fiction, with a particular interest in all things medieval!