Simon de Montfort would be hailed as the founder and champion of all the freedoms we hold essential -- were it not that his followers believed he was the Angel of the Apocalypse bringing in the New Millennium. To quell their revolution, the mere speaking of his name was made a hanging crime.
Like the painter who could not paint a sunset as gorgeously colorful as Nature spreads in the sky -- so no writer of fiction would dare devise a life so crammed with improbable battles, defeats and glories as Montfort's actual life presents -- culminating in so stunning an achievement as the creation of modern democracy.
Simon de Montfort's life, as recorded in the 13th century by his friends and mortal enemies, was so laden with conflict, adventure and unlikely reversals that interpreting the known events with clarity has led to my using the novel form as a laboratory for investigating possible causes. Each volume of Montfort includes an Historical Context section with my sources and the reasons for my interpretations.
Regarding myself: writing is my family's trade, my father was a staff writer for Cecil B. de Mille, my mother wrote poetry. What fascinated me about my father's work was the research -- though much of that never got into the films (The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Show on Earth and, for Samuel Bronston, El Cid.) Perhaps it was those bits and pieces of real history that didn't make it to the screen that have prompted me to be such an intent researcher, looking for those hints in old manuscripts that give insight into how the large events came about out of the day to day living of people's lives.