The wealth of literary talent in the Manning-Great Lakes never ceases to amaze, and author Terry Stanton is yet another example … Terry’s book, “Deliver Me From Evil”, is based upon a true story – that of Thomas Wentworth, the 1st Earl of Strafford – King Charles I’s most important minister …
Hi Terry. What part of the beautiful Manning do you call home, and how long have you been a resident?
A lovely house in Tinonee on a hill overlooking the river. We moved there from Townsville in 2009.
What’s your career/work background?
I was a litigation solicitor in England for almost 40 years and came to Australia in 2005 with my wife, Christine, as all three of our children had emigrated here.
Christine had various jobs in England, but the one she enjoyed most was being a teacher’s aide in primary school. She did that again in Wulguru, Townsville, where she loved working with the Aboriginal children.
What led you to put pen to paper and write a book – was it always a dream of yours to be an author?
No, it wasn’t a dream years ago. My main hobbies had been acting, playing the clarinet, and tennis.
I retired gradually over about ten years, and on my first part retired day in 1995 I started to write a play about the last 13 years of my main character’s very dramatic and important political life. He was Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593 – 1641). I wrote the play, but had no idea how to get it produced. In 2013 I decided to write his life story as if it were his autobiography, in a novel.
Please give us a brief synopsis of Deliver Me from Evil … without giving away the ending, of course!
Thomas Wentworth was the son of an obscure Yorkshire knight. He rose to be Charles I’s most important minister. It was a corrupt age in politics, but he was as upright, in my view, as anyone could be expected to be, and more so than most politicians of today.
He made many enemies in England as a result of his support of the King and his uncompromising attitude to corruption and support of the poor. He was sent to govern Ireland for the King. He did this fearlessly, and made more enemies.
In the end, the English House of Commons was determined to be rid of him, and what happened then was one of the worst examples of an unfair trial you can imagine. The book deals with all that, and what happened after the trial. It also tells the tale of his three wives and his mistress, Lucy, Countess of Carlisle.
How do you most relate – or conversely, not relate – to Wentworth? What do you like/dislike about him?
I feel that there is so much about him that is like me. I am passionate about justice, and always did Legal Aid work, caring more about that than making money.
He was very arrogant, which is not an admirable quality, but I am pretty arrogant myself, and far from afraid to say what I think and believe. He was a devoted family man, despite having a mistress for a while. I am a devoted family man too, but do not have a mistress!!
Although a work of fiction, your book must have required quite an amount of research to ensure historical/period accuracy. How did you accomplish this research, and what sources did you use?
I got interested in Wentworth at school, and have been reading about him ever since. I read the best biography of him three or four times, a book about his time in Ireland, biographies of other main characters, two 17th Century accounts of the trial, many books about the reigns of James and Charles I, Wikipedia entries for all the other main characters, and more besides.
I could not have done it without the help of the librarians at Wingham and Taree. The pile of sources would stand about a metre high.
What likelihood is there that you’ll write another book in the future … and please give us a bit of a hint about where future story ideas may lead you?
I have just written a novel about an aircraft that disappears in mid flight. If that reminds you of a recent mystery, that won’t be far wrong.
It is currently with two commercial pilots and an investigative journalist, who have been helping me with advice on the technical aspects. It is also being proofread by others before publication. If any of your readers wish to be the publisher, please let me know.
I have an idea for another completely different novel after that. All my plots are based on true stories.
Where can we source a copy of your book, or find out more about you?
The book is in the Port Macquarie Library, and those at Wauchope and Laurieton.
You can also get it from Amazon.co.uk/Terry-Stanton-Deliver-me-from-Evil/dp/0648002147
I can also sell one to anyone who attends a talk by me to their U3A History Group, book club, or similar organisation.