ABOUT

DOMINIC SELWOOD

Thank you for stopping by!

I don’t really know whether to say something about my history books, novels, or being a lawyer.

Thinking about this – and getting into a twist over it – made me realize that all three have a thread running through them, and it is what keeps me returning. At heart, they are about stories of major decisions or crises in people’s lives or affairs, and what happened. All three have a profoundly human-interest angle.

As a criminal barrister I was mesmerized by the daily chance to be allowed a glimpse into strangers’ lives. This was heightened by the ancient drama of the trial going on around us, pitting competing versions of what had happened against each other, testing all of them to destruction. All the evidence needed to be laid out on the court room’s mortuary table, dissected, examined and understood. Only then could the history of that particular story be written.

It is a funny way of coming to a definitive view on the past. It gives 12 members of the public the power to define reality. On their say so, a person was or was not murdered by a suspect. But I felt absolutely at home in that world, as before starting as a barrister I had spent my days in libraries and archives poking around the evidence of the lives of people from the Middle Ages. As with a court trial – although with fewer wigs, prison visits, and obscenities – it involved laying everything out on the table and testing it from all angles to decide what the historian thought had happened.

So I have realized that is what I enjoy equally in writing history and fiction. Both require the assembling and analysis of evidence. Although in the case of fiction there is the added fun of being able to muddle up all the clues to wrongfoot the reader!

Personality quiz

This is an ‘About’ section, so I am supposed to say something about myself. I am not brilliant at following rules, nor am I very proficient at talking about myself. So, rather than write tedious paragraphs of CV biography, I have randomly taken 10 personality quiz questions off the internet and answered them.