WHAT IF? As an author of historically-based fiction myself, I am ever reading the work of others writing in the same genre. A common approach, which I’ve often used myself, is to take the facts, setting and characters from real historical events as a background for my fictional story but then ask myself—WHAT IF it didn’t actually happen like that, but instead like this? Thus my story takes off, grounded in actual historical research, but adapted. Some of the real historical characters of the time may be included, but my main cast plus their characters and circumstances are my own creation.
Recently I read a novel by an author new to me, Alexandra Walsh, who asks the most daring WHAT IF? I’ve come a cross. Suppose Catherine Howard was not in fact executed? It’s a gripping read, well researched, and I recommend it: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy.