The Goose

Linda Proud

An only child (or so I thought), I started writing books early, if only in my head. Around the age of 14 I discovered the novels of Mary Renault, set in ancient Greece, and fell in love with historical fiction.

In 1971 I began a career in picture research in publishing and, after a few years, went freelance in order to devote more time to writing. The Botticelli Trilogy had seeded itself as an idea in 1974, but it was to take 11 years to do the research and develop writing skills. The first part, A Tabernacle for the Sun, was eventually published in 1997. It was not my first published book, however. Whilst trying to find a publisher I wrote Consider England, four essays on the elements of the nation, illustrated by the painter, Valerie Petts (Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994). Further commissions included three from Pitkin Guides, 2000 Years of Christianity, Icons – a Sacred Art, and Angels. I also wrote Knights of the Grail, stories of King Arthur for reading out loud to young children.

A Tabernacle for the Sun won a bursary award from Southern Arts and a month’s residence at the writers’ retreat of Hawthornden Castle.

I gave up picture research with the twentieth century, my skills and experience made redundant by the advent of the new technology. I also gave up the single life, marrying in 2000. With my husband David I now run a small business in publishing services from our home in Oxford, doing mostly editorial work. I also teach creative writing to American students on programmes at the University.And then there is Godstow Press, which we founded in 2003.

In the year I got married, I discovered that I had a half-sister, Teresa, and that my mother had had an untold wartime romance with a handsome young airman who never came back.

In the twentieth century I was an only child and a single woman, and I believed nothing would change with the millennium. In July 2000, however, I suddenly acquired more relatives than I have yet been able to count: it is somewhere in the region of thirty, and growing.

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