It is my great good luck the words I use are English words, which means I live in a very old nation of open borders; a rich, deep, multi-layered, promiscuous universe, infused with Latin, German, French, Greek, Arabic and countless other tongues.
Yes, it seems we've got this mutant gene in our human personality that makes us susceptible to this same kind of mistake over and over again. It's really uncanny how we build these beautiful multicultural edifices and then allow this switch to be flipped and everybody goes, 'Oh, the other, get them out of here.'
We are not the only animal that mourns; apes do, and elephants, and dogs. Yet we are the only one that tortures.
The thing that most attracts me to historical fiction is taking the factual record as far as it is known, using that as scaffolding, and then letting imagination build the structure that fills in those things we can never find out for sure.
I was a news reporter for 16 years, seven of them a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Perhaps the most useful equipment I acquired in that time is a lack of preciousness about the act of writing. A reporter must write. There must be a story. The mot juste unarriving? Tell that to your desk.