Many years ago, I dreamed that when I grew up, I'd become a historian.
Well, for a variety of reasons, that didn't quite work out.
Instead I became a barrister, and just read lots of history in my "spare" time.
Between 1990 and 2017 I was in practice at the Commercial Bar in London, advising clients on the innumerable problems that beset businesses, particularly ones involved in international trade or insurance, and quite often representing them in court or arbitration.
Being a barrister was a pretty full on job, but every so often cases would disappear unexpectedly, and then I would get a bit of time when I could scurry off to the British Library, or my study, and do some historical digging. It was this sort of time I used for my first researches into Eleanor of Castile and which I ultimately patched together over a number of years to produce "Eleanor of Castile - the Shadow Queen".
Following the success (in medieval history terms) of this book, the nice people at Amberley were kind enough to ask me about whom else I might be interested in writing. Fairly obviously the answer was "Eleanor of Aquitaine!", and I was stunned and delighted when they said I should go right ahead.
That was back in late 2014, and the book emerged in 2019. I am delighted to say that "Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of France and England, Mother of Empires" was one of Dan Jones' 50 Top Books of 2019 for Waterstones and various aspects of the book were highlighted in articles for History Today and BBC History Magazine, as well as in a range of podcasts.
I am currently concentrating on legal writing, though there are various historical projects on the back burner for when I once again get a bit of free time!
What else is there to know about me?
I have been married since 1997 to Nigel - who is also a barrister and also keen on medieval history. In fact, it was his copy of Michael Prestwich's "Edward I" that I was reading when Eleanor first tapped on my shoulder. Nigel was the person who encouraged me to have a go at turning my random bits of research into a book, and was endlessly encouraging in the lengthy process of bringing the book into being.
Nigel has been (almost always) unbelievably patient with my obsession first with with Eleanor of Castile's small doings and then with those of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Though I am not sure I will ever persuade him to join "Team Eleanor" ....