I have always had a love of history. Pretty much any era, but those from the Dark Ages and Medieval times hold the most fascination. Not so much the Kings, Queens, and Knights in shining armor as the fact that the records of those times are so sparse. Written records are few and far between and those we do have fall across the spectrum from complete truth to complete fantasy. Cultures during those eras relied on oral traditions rather than the written word, and that makes it so much harder to decipher the reality. Then consider that by the time someone thought to write everything down, it was either several hundred years later or written from the perspective of the conquerors. There is no dispute, however, that the Dark Ages/Medieval times were tumultuous and barbaric no matter what part of the world you focus on.
As a writer, that opens up a gold-mine of valuable gaps across the history timeline. Within those lapses of information, one can only imagine what took place. Who were the victors, the pillaged, the battle-hungry, the farmers, etc.? How did they interact with each other? Did they try to get along? Maybe they did have formal governing rules and lived in civilized pseudo-cities, but that information has been lost. I can imagine it any way I want as long as it stays true to the facts that are absolute, and that’s what makes story creation so fun to me. Mix in a healthy dose of mythology, which I believe always has a vein of truth to it because it’s how some cultures try to explain what they can’t understand, and voila.
My ancestors hail from places like Ireland and Scotland, which both have rich Celtic and Nordic histories as well. It’s far more entertaining to believe that there are heroes and heroines in my past that did great deeds, or terrible ones, and deserve to be remembered.
But, at the end of the day, I’m not trying to teach, I’m trying to entertain because remember. . .it’s fun!