Biography

Deborah Swift is a USA Today bestselling author who has written twelve historical novels to date. Her first novel, The Lady’s Slipper, set in 17th century England, was shortlisted for the Impress Prize, and her WW2 novel Past Encounters was a BookViral Millennium Award winner.

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Deborah enjoys discussing themes and issues in books, and most of her novels have been published in reading group editions. As well as adult fiction, Deborah has also published a young adult series, The Highway Trilogy. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is a mentor to other writers through The History Quill. She enjoys teaching writing skills from her home in the North of England.

Deborah’s most recent novel is the World War Two drama The Lifeline set during the Nazi Occupation of Norway, and she is currently working on a series set in 17th century Italy.

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Books

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Articles

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Sugar and Spice and all things Nice

Sugar and Spice and all things Nice

The concept of dieting would have been alien to our 17th century forbears. In those days, the plumper you were, the better. Plumpness indicated wealth and class, and women aspired to be plump and white, rather than thin and tanned as is the fashion now. The 17th Century was when sugar became a ...
Servants and Historical Fiction

Servants and Historical Fiction

In my life today I have no servants living in my house. The work done by servants in previous centuries is now done by machines, or automation has rendered it unnecessary. For a historical fiction writer the presence of servants in the house is a massive opportunity for drama and for ...
Law and Order in the 17th century

Law and Order in the 17th century

The Role of the Constable In many of my 17th century novels, people fall foul of the law in one way or another, and so I found it fascinating to examine what was in place to keep the peace in this era before the Police Force. During the 17th century the responsibility for law and order fell on
Writing History

Writing History

Writing HistoryI’ve always been interested in untold stories of World War Two, especially stories from overlooked outposts, such as Jersey The Occupation and now Shetland The Lifeline. Although The Shetland Isles are a long way from the mainland it would be a mistake to think that the ...
Giulia Tofana: Power & Poison

Giulia Tofana: Power & Poison

There is much legend associated with her life as a poisoner, and like all novelists do, I have taken the aspects of the story I liked best, and used a combination or research and imagination to fill the gaps. For the most succinct and detailed analysis of the real facts of Giulia Tofana’s life,
Servilia’s Pearl

Servilia’s Pearl

The Roman historian Suetonius is clearly enjoying himself when he writes, “It is well known that he was keen on his love affairs and spent lavishly on them”.  Suetonius is talking about Julius Caesar, and he goes on to list the noblewomen seduced by Rome’s favourite bald Dictator, as well as a
Historical Heroes: Samuel Pepys

Historical Heroes: Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys began his diary in 1660 and continued to write it for ten years. His famous diary is the best resource we have on London in the 17th century and provides us with a fly-on-the-wall account of daily life in the period just following the Restoration of King Charles II. It includes ...

Book Reviews

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The Lifeline, by Deborah Swift

The Lifeline, by Deborah Swift

Following her two previous wartime saga’s, Past Encounters and The Occupation, historical novelist Deborah Swift has created another striking and impressive World War II account in her latest novel The Lifeline. Swift navigates a story of threatened romance, political upheaval, and the tyranny ...
The Diplomat’s Wife, by Michael Ridpath

The Diplomat’s Wife, by Michael Ridpath

Its every young person’s dream -- to find out that one of your relations has a secret but fascinating past, and that they want to take you on a road trip through Europe to reveal all. This is the premise of The Diplomat's Wife, and the journey is every bit as exciting as you’d hope.In 1979,
The Silkworm Keeper, by Deborah Swift

The Silkworm Keeper, by Deborah Swift

The Italian proverb ‘Old sins have long shadows’ is tactfully used at the beginning of Deborah Swift’s sequel The Silkworm Keeper. Where Swift’s first book in the series, The Poison Keeper, exhibits the nefarious activities of poisoner Giuila Tofana, the sequel sees Giuila wholly transformed as
In the Shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, by Margaret Willes

In the Shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, by Margaret Willes

As soon as I picked up this book I knew it was a brilliant idea, and wondered why no-one had thought to do it before. The answer lies in the book itself, which is that the amount of research taken is enormous. Writing as an amateur, and not a historian, it is a veritable feast for anyone who ...

Author Interviews

Deborah Swift
What prompted you to choose the period that you wrote your first book in?My first book, The Lady’s Slipper’is set in the 17th century, which remains a period I find endlessly fascinating. The novel explores the fate of a wild orchid, which is also functions in the book as a symbol for the land. I wanted to set the novel
Talking History
Could you tell us about The Lifeline and why you set the novel in Norway during the occupation?The Lifeline is a WW2 story with two historical aspects; firstly the Norwegian teachers’ strike, and secondly, the Shetland Bus. The Norwegian teachers’ strike is a little-known example of effective passive resistance against ...
Fiction Book of the Month: Deborah Swift on Pleasing Mr Pepys
Deborah Swift, what is it about Samuel Pepys that makes for such an entertaining subject, even today?I think as a writer I ...