Rutherfurd on Rutherfurd
Q. You turned to London next, a place you knew well. Was the process similar to Sarum?
A. I was very fortunate in finding a wonderful team to help me at the Museum of London which is the best and most creative historical museum I know. These curators and historians let me use their library, shared their knowledge and corrected my texts. One day, for instance, one of them showed me a little clay mold they'd just dug up outside the Old London Wall. It had been used to produce forged coins in Roman times, and the curator and I spent a while imagining together the little guy who might have used it, and how he might have been nearly caught. That became the story in the Roman chapter of the book. They'd found a Roman leather bikini as well, which reminded me to give him a girlfriend.
Q. Archeology comes to life.
A. Thanks to those wonderful curators. Working with them really changed the way I looked at museums. When I go into a museum now and see the objects, - a golden ring, a clay pipe, a sword - I don't just see an artefact any more, I see something that belonged to a person just like you and me, with hopes and fears and loves. Every object has a human story, if only we could guess it.
Q. London took five years. Was it a strain?
A. It was fun; but because there was so much to work in, it was technically complex to write.
Q. Was it, like Sarum, an eternal city?
A. London is about the ever-flowing River Thames. It's about the river of life.
Q. It was a huge bestseller.
A. Fortunately. Five years is a chunk of your life.