To go back and read Swift and Defoe and Samuel Johnson and Smollett and Pope - all those people we had to read in college English courses - to read them now is to have one of the infinite pleasures in life.
When I read that the British army had landed thirty-two thousand troops - and I had realized, not very long before, that Philadelphia only had thirty thousand people in it - it practically lifted me out of my chair.
I'm very aware how many distractions the reader has in life today, how many good reasons there are to put the book down.
My next book is also set in the eighteenth century. It's about the Revolution, with the focus on the year 1776. It's about Washington and the army and the war. It's the nadir, the low point of the United States of America.
With the Truman book, I wrote the entire account of his experiences in World War I before going over to Europe to follow his tracks in the war. When I got there, there was a certain satisfaction in finding I had it right - it does look like that.
The pull, the attraction of history, is in our human nature. What makes us tick? Why do we do what we do? How much is luck the deciding factor?
In time I began to understand that it's when you start writing that you really find out what you don't know and need to know.
I can fairly be called an amateur because I do what I do, in the original sense of the word - for love, because I love it. On the other hand, I think that those of us who make our living writing history can also be called true professionals.
No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read.
I'm drawn particularly to stories that evolve out of the character of the protagonist.
Real success is finding you lifework in the work that you love.
I love all sides of the work but that doesn't mean it isn't hard.
I love Dickens. I love the way he sets a scene.
I just thank my father and mother, my lucky stars, that I had the advantage of an education in the humanities.
I work very hard on the writing, writing and rewriting and trying to weed out the lumber.