Skip to Content

The impact of success and writing historical novels

18 June 2018

‘I got insomnia because I was so freaked out. Everyone else was delighted for me but it was destabilising. My friends had to process the success for me. I didn't realise writing was not the final stage. You hope the book speaks for you - you write because you want to make sense of the world through your books, so to have to be the representative of it was challenging...

When I started writing it was like I didn't need to ask permission. Unconsciously perhaps, the roles I created in The Miniaturist were dream roles I wanted to play...

I don't aim to give a history lesson. I get flak for intimating that people in the past are just like us. I don't think it's that simple but, as a reader, when I was growing up I was thrilled to think I could have been a Tudor child. I'm fascinated by the social detail: what did they eat, what did they wear, how did they grieve? It's always an exquisite discovery when you realise there are some things that we have in common with people who are no longer there.'

Jessie Burton, author of the bestsellers The Miniaturist and The Muse, in the Evening Standard