Born and raised in the rolling Surrey downs and with several generations of Londoners behind me, I’ve made the wild moorlands of Brontë country my home for more than twenty years. From a background in archaeology, which led me to work in various parts of England, Scotland and France, I had stints in publishing in London and Gloucester before turning freelance as a copyeditor, proofreader and, more recently, independent author of books for children aged 10+.
My first novel, Time out of Time, won the 2012 Chapter One Children’s Book Award and slips between the 14th, 17th, 19th and 20th centuries, drawing on my enduring love of archaeology. My second, ‘The Tower’ [working title], was also inspired by an excavation in Scotland. It was scarce half made-up and had to be put on the backburner (yet again) when it was announced in February 2013 that the grave of King Richard III had been discovered under a car park in Leicester.
I have been a Ricardian since a teenager and I was surprised to discover in 2013 that there were still no books for children aiming to tell the story of the real Richard III, rather than the monstrous villain so beloved of traditional history since Shakespeare’s famous drama. Thus was born Matthew Wansford, the lead character of my first published novel, The Order of the White Boar.
The Order has been incredibly well received, with the Ricardian Bulletin of the Richard III Society calling it ‘a wonderful work of historical fiction’ and Wendy Johnson of the Looking for Richard Project team (who found the king’s grave) saying ‘this engaging and exciting story has the power to captivate readers of any age’. Liz Flanagan, author of ‘Eden Summer’, not previously a Ricardian herself, found it ‘A really gripping historical novel . . . well written, vivid and absorbing.’
The sequel, The King’s Man, which takes the characters through the Year of the Three Kings of 1483 to the Battle of Bosworth and beyond, has also met with fabulous reviews, with one calling it ‘A cracking read … a book full of action, heart, fire and hope’.
A third book in the sequence, King in Waiting, was published in September 2021, and picks up the story of Matt and his friends in 1486, during the early years of the reign of Henry Tudor… Wendy Johnson calls it ‘evocative and intriguing … it brings the dangerous times after Bosworth to life’. A fourth book, Sons of York, will be published in 2022.
When I’m not striding across the local moors listening to my characters chatting in preparation for my next book, I’m planning visits to schools and medieval festivals (watch out Barnet, Tewkesbury, Middleham and Bosworth!) If your local school or library would like an author visit, please get in touch: AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.
Alex’s books can be found at all good bookshops or on Amazon at:
My Twitter handle and Matthew Wansford’s