Stories of Serendipity Series Featuring author Jack Hughes

Stephanie Renee dos Santos

Welcome to week eight of the stories of serendipity series, where authors share their tales of serendipity and synchronicity while writing, researching and publishing historical fiction, and their speculations about such occurrences.

This Sunday I’d like to introduce author Jack Hughes and his eureka moment while writing and researching for his novel Dawn of Shadows

Jack Hughes, author“The idea that would change my life, my Eureka moment, occurred one afternoon in 1999. I’d been writing short stories for my own amusement for some time but it was in that moment, when abstract elements spontaneously combust, that I knew I had a story to tell.

I grew up with the Indiana Jones films. The combinations of adventure and history, archaeology and fantasy inspired me, made me wonder if I could write something similar. During a family holiday in Australia I came across a book by Stephen Hayes recounting his experiences as the first Western pupil of famed Japanese ninjutsu master Masaaki Hatsumi. I was fascinated by this historical depiction of the ninja. On returning to the UK, I then watched a documentary about the Knights Templar which provided the inspiration for the story I just had to tell. The story of a fictional order of shadow warriors of the Crusades, entrusted with protecting the greatest of all secrets. That was the moment my novel series ‘Shadows of the Temple’ came into being.

templar crossI imagined the Templars discovering an uninhabited America, taking their wealth with them across the sea, before seeking revenge on their enemies by aiding Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn. But behind it all, I imagined this secret order entrusted with the safeguarding the most incredible and fantastic of treasures that remain lost to this day. Medieval secret agents or the world’s first government ‘spooks’. Pure fiction, I thought. Until I looked closer.

Leaving a factory job to follow my story, I began studying for a history degree where I came FrontCover2_3across a factual book about the trial of the Templars. I was fascinated and began reading. The Templars confessed to many things; crimes and heresies of all sorts and it was here that legend became entwined with fact. It was said the Templars uncovered a ‘great secret’ during their time in Jerusalem, and that a Templar cavalry charge swept the remnants of Edward II’s army from the field at Bannockburn in 1314. Then in 2003 I read about a strange confession. In 1308 a Templar prisoner warned his jailers of another chapter of the Templars, one known only to the Grand Master himself. A chapter who would kill him just for speaking of it. To this day I can’t explain where the inspiration for my story came from. Was it fate or karma? Divine guidance or a strange co-incidence? Whatever the reason, truth, it would seem, can sometimes be stranger than fiction.”

See you here next Sunday, October 27th, for our final installment of intriguing stories by authors: Julie Rose, Margaret Skea, Rachael Pruitt. Not to be missed!


Posted by Stephanie Renee dos Santos

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