When it comes to writing, Alexander Hamilton-Brown has done it all: with award-winning screen writing, script writing, poetry.
Now, he can finally add a historical fiction novel to that list.
I’ve “always had a deep interest in history,” Hamilton-Brown said, sitting down in the Observer office with a binder filled with pages from his recently finished book.
“My bio, if you like to call it that, includes very many history productions,” he added, referencing films he had produced for CBC and Discovery over the years. “Productions about leaders in history: kings, queens, princes.
“They’ve been chronicled by scribes for the last 700 years. But I try to look behind the scenes.”
In Hamilton-Brown’s novel, he went behind the scenes to examine the life of King Edward II, an English king who ruled between 1307 and 1327.
Also known as Edward of Caernarvon, the king was the fourth son of King Edward I, and ascended the throne after his father’s death thanks to the premature death of his older brothers. He is often remembered as a king who did not live up to his father’s reputation.
But the really intriguing part of Edward’s life, Hamilton-Brown said, was his love of the common people.
“There was a dichotomy in the man that fascinated me, because he really just wanted to be an ordinary man,” Hamilton-Brown said. “He worked on the streets, cleaning ditches. He thatched their cottages. No king had done that before.”
Hamilton-Brown’s book — which he calls an “adventure story with a good dollop of romance” — dives into the facts of Edward’s life, but also peppers it with a good deal of fiction.
“I did a movie about a poltergeist in Nova Scotia. A woman came up to me and said, ‘There was no fire at the church. Never was,’” he explained. “And I said, ‘Ma’am, I’m sure you’re right. There was not. But in our story, we needed there to be a fire starter.’
“You see, it gives you an idea of what happens in the novelist’s mind. Because we have to move the story forward with conflict and obstacles, and of course their resolutions.”
Hamilton-Brown had worked on his novel for the last year and a half, pulling in support from the local library and its staff.
“They will actually go above and beyond,” he said. “I’m probably a nuisance, because I do a lot of research and I’m always asking them questions. But they are so patient, and they’re very good.”
Now, Hamilton-Brown has gotten his book to the point that its ready to test out the waters of the publishing industry, although he isn’t holding his breath for a release date.
“I have a few good contacts in Toronto — agency contacts there,” he said. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
In the meantime, the long-time writer and producer isn’t letting himself take a break, and plans to start work on a science fiction novel.
“That’s been on my mind even before this one,” he said. “It’s been sitting there and mulling it over.”