The Shire's Union Trilogy

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Welcome to The Whirligig


Richard Buxton is a multi-award winning author. On this site he'll talk about the writing craft as well as muse about inspiration drawn from the world of the present and from the imperfectly remembered past.


Shire's Union is Richard's historical fiction trilogy, set in and around Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio during the American Civil War. The three books are:


The Copper Road 

Tigers in Blue

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, which still resonate loudly to this day. He travels there as often as he can for inspiration and research.  Learn more about what inspires Richard here.

Richard's short stories 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 CompetitionThe Bread Man won the Fabula Press Nivalis 2016 Short Story Competition.

Blog Posts

Deja Vu All Over Again

I’m reading Whirligig and loving it! In fact, I plan to read my whole Shire’s Union trilogy back-to-back. How conceited is Buxton, you might be thinking, to read his own work and trumpet about it. But I’ve never understood those writers or actors who cringe at the idea of enjoying their own work. To be honest, I think most of them are putting on an act, self-deprecation or embarrassment judged a safer harbour than admitting they secretly read their back catalogue under the duvet with a torch. I’m having a ball, and I don’t care who knows it.

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Tigers in Franklin

I couldn’t say how many Civil War regiments there were. It’s probably into the thousands, and I could have picked any one of them. So why did I plump for the 125th Ohio, Opdycke’s Tigers as they came to be known, as a home for my fictitious Private Shire? And how then did their glorious story – more fully revealed to me on a visit to the Carter House – bounce me from penning what was planned to be a standalone novel into writing a trilogy?


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Tigers in Blue - Closing the Trilogy

On my laptop, the 27th of June, 2013, shows as the last edited date on the original draft of the first chapter of the Shire’s Union trilogy. Putting pen to paper (or more likely pencil to notebook) will have preceded typing the words into Word, so the effort will have started long before then. I couldn’t tell you the conception date of book one, Whirligig, though I do know that the trilogy was first imagined in the Carter House basement in Franklin, as far back as 15th May, 2011. 

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