Monday, 16 November 2009

Douglas Jackson - History in the Making

Doug Jackson, author of Caligula and Claudius, talks about what inspired him to write about ancient Rome, and getting a six figure deal with Transworld:

I suppose you could say my new career as a writer began thirty-odd years ago in a large hole in the ground.

I’d left school in Jedburgh a few weeks before my sixteenth birthday, and, like a lot of kids that age I had no idea where my future lay and no immediate prospects. Luckily a friend worked in the local employment office and found me a place on a Youth Opportunities Scheme.

It was just pure luck it turned out to be restoring a Roman marching camp vandalised by the Forestry Commission, who then had a remit to tear up any part of Scotland they liked - a bit like the people who build wind farms today, but with evergreens.

Along with a bunch of hard-bitten labourers, I was transported each morning out into the bleak but beautiful Cheviot Hills, given a large shovel and put to work replacing the long avenues of peat the commission ploughs had churned up. It didn’t take me too long to work out that I was more or less doing what the Roman legionaries had done 2,000 years earlier, but in reverse ...

Full article in the first issue of Words with JAM.

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