This is my first novel, which I wrote as I completed my PhD in 18th century history and literature, when – without planning to do so – I served an apprenticeship in the 18th century novels which were being invented at that time. The oppression of women, the rebellion of the poor all came from the history of the time, the love of landscape from my own childhood and the fevered sexuality all my own imagination. I wrote Wideacre in an old ruled notebook by hand, and put on the front, 'Philippa Gregory – Best Selling Novel'. Unbelievably it was. It sold world-wide in a bidding war and I decided to become a writer.