Welcome to The Whirligig, the website for Richard Buxton.
Richard is a multi-award winning author. On this site he will talk about the writing craft. He'll muse about inspiration drawn from the world of the present and from the imperfectly remembered past.
Richard writes both historical fiction and stories set in the here and now, though his inclination is strongly towards the former. His time spent at university in upstate New York has imbued him with a lifelong interest in the story of America, in particular the schism and after effects of the American Civil War. He travels there as often as he can for inspiration and research. Learn more about what inspires Richard here.
Richard's first novel, Whirligig, set in Tennessee in the pivotal Civil War year of 1863, was released in the spring of 2017. He is also compiling a collection of short stories that explore the long shadow of the Civil War. Many of his stories have won awards or have been published. His story Battle Town won the 2015 Exeter Story Prize. Roller Coaster won the 2015 Bedford International Writing Competition. The Bread Man won the Fabula Press Nivalis 2016 Short Story Competition.
The stop wasn’t on my itinerary, but I find my way here nonetheless. It’s four years since I was in America and eight years since I was at Chickamauga in the very north of Georgia, just across the Tennessee line from Chattanooga. I’ve finally made it out to check details for my third book, Tigers in Blue, the last in the Shire’s Union trilogy. The battle of Chickamauga is the epicenter of the first book, Whirligig. It’s where the 125th Ohio were christened the Tigers. This place matters to me, but I still wonder at being drawn back here.
It’s an unsettling time. The true meaning of that depends on where you live. For me, in England, every time I think about the news, my gut feels like it’s been dropped from the white cliffs of Dover. In Ukraine, it’s more literal. They are giving up their homes, losing their lives, facing bleak choices we’d believed consigned to the last century. It forces me to ask, why write about a war in America that started over one-hundred and sixty years ago? There is war now.
In modern, popular culture, the word soul is used at least as often in its musical context as it is for considering an eternal life beyond the earthly realm. The idea of a soul, the precious core of our being has, in many places, fallen out of fashion. But I would argue that, regardless of your religious outlook and what you write about, taking the time to consider the wellbeing of your character’s soul can lend extra depth to your writing.