I spent a most enjoyable morning at Ravenswood this week, talking about researching and writing historical fiction. Using extracts from The Janna Mysteries and A Ring Through Time, I showed the girls examples of how to weave fictional characters into real historical events, how to disseminate information in an interesting way, how to create characters and how to make history ‘come alive’ in the context of the day – with lots of writing tips. As their assignment is based on Catherine the Great of Russia, I also had fun reliving a wonderful holiday in Russia as I showed pix on pp of eg typical Russian churches with their ‘onion domes’ and their icons, plus Peterhof and Catherine the Great’s magnificent palaces and gardens. The girls also did some writing exercises which involved fun discussions on Catherine’s many lovers + foreign and domestic policies and also involving spies, go-betweens, intercepted messages + various other dramas and problems, as well as creating the characters who might be involved in such things and how the situation might be resolved. From a somewhat hesitant response at the beginning when I asked: ‘who likes writing stories?’ the feeling by the end was that the girls now had the tools to do their assignment and the confidence to see it through. It was a fun and interesting morning, and my thanks to all at Ravenswood for making me feel so welcome. Particular thanks to the girls who really entered into the spirit of it all and who came up with some wonderfully creative ideas.