BackStory: Five Questions with Christine Collinson

Prince Rupert and his dog Boye

BackStory: Five Questions with Christine Collinson
Author of Boye

What inspired you to write ‘Boye’?

The Civil Wars era is such a complex, vivid period – societal divisions, widespread conflict, and some fascinating personalities. Finding a unique perspective was challenging but focussing on an animal was not something I’d done. So I gave it a try! Once I started researching Boye, I realised that there is a wealth of intriguing source material.

Were there any interesting facts, details, or turns of phrase that didn’t quite make the final piece?

There were quite a few quirky details in the documents about the alleged activities and qualities of Boye that I could have included. For instance, that he was able to find hidden treasure and he cocked his leg to the name of John Pym, leader of the Parliamentarians! He was supposedly fed capron and roast beef by Charles I and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major-General by the Royalists.

Are there particular images, texts or resources that you used for research or inspiration?

I looked at several contemporary pamphlets and images, including ‘A Dialogue, or Rather a Parley, between Prince Rupert’s Dog whose name is Puddle and Tobies Dog, whose name is Pepper (Anonymous, 1643):

And ‘A Dog’s Elegy: Elegy of Prince Rupert’s Tears for the Late Defeat at Marston Moor where his beloved Dog named Boy was killed by a Valiant Soldier (Anonymous, 1644):

Woodcut of Boye's death

What other moments in history would you like to read or write about in flash?

Everything and anything! My particular favourite settings are WW2 Homefront and seventeenth-century England. I’d love to see rarer periods covered in flash, for example Roman, medieval or Tudor. These are the eras I find especially challenging to write myself but would like to attempt in the future.

Christine Collinson writes historical short fiction. She’s a Best Microfiction ‘20 nominee and has been long-listed by Bath Flash Fiction Award and Reflex Flash Fiction. Her work has also appeared in Ellipsis Zine and The Cabinet of Heed. She tweets @collinson26.

Top image: Drawing from a pamphlet, “The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert” (1643) via Wikimedia Commons.

Centre image: Page from the royalist propaganda pamphlet A Dialogue, or Rather a Parley Between Prince Ruperts Dogge Whose Name is Puddle, and Tobies Dog Whose Name is Pepper issued in London c. 1643. The pamphlet is a fictional dialogue between a cavalier and a royalist dog, meant to parody the conflicts of the English Civil War. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bottom image: A woodcut of the death of Boye at the Battle of Marston Moor, circa 1644, via Wikimedia Commons.