ECS Banks is an author and commentator with a real passion for the subject, and dedication to the task. ECS Banks writes for those who share a love and fascination. Through personal experience of tragedy and hardship ECS Banks has an insight into the plight of the Grand Duchesses, and hopes that through this book their story will live on.
Read more and see rare images at the official website: http://www.volodia.co.uk/
[Tweets shown are via ECS Banks's publisher @SilverWoodBooks.]
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR:
"This book is simply the most comprehensive and accurate book written on the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia. It is as close to 'being there' as you will ever get," says ECS Banks.
WHERE DID YOUR INTEREST IN ROYAL FAMILIES COME FROM?
"I spent a great deal of time at my grandmother's as a small child and it was there I first began to have an interest in the past royal families and my own ancestry. She owned the coronation books from 1937 and 1953 and as I asked her about my own family I began to research the various branches of the royal families of Europe."
HOW DID YOU CONDUCT YOUR RESEARCH?
"I regularly visited libraries from the age of five and learnt how to borrow old books from the British Library. As my skills as a genealogist grew, I used them to research my own and the royal families. I visited local record offices, archives and art galleries and read copies of vintage newspapers. I wrote to archives further afield and asked for copies of documents I needed. The Russian Imperial family soon became my passion, especially the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II. There was so little on them and I was determined to find out all I could. Most authors mentioned them merely in passing and got them mixed up in many of the photos. I looked at the collection of vintage Romanov photos at Yale University and realised how much you could get simply from photos and film clips of the subjects."
WHICH BOOKS DID YOU FIND MOST USEFUL?
"I read 'Nicholas and Alexandra' by Robert K Massey and wished there was a 'Nicholas and Alexandra's Daughters' book. There wasn't one - so I set about writing it! Over 30 years and many thousands of pages of notes later I was diagnosed with cancer, so decided to use my time productively by doing the actual story. I didn't want the usual facts with no explanation, so had to invent my own way of presenting the story with accuracy, yet keeping it easy to read."
DID YOUR OWN HEALTH ISSUES INFORM YOUR WRITING?
"Definitely... As I spent much time surrounded by doctors, surgeons and nurses I constantly learnt more about Victorian and Edwardian medicine. A series of disasters meant that I personally experienced intense pain, a temporary heart complaint, short term hair loss and extensive use of morphine. All these proved useful for understanding the various illnesses of the Tsarevich, the Tsarina and the four Grand Duchesses when they had measles in 1917. I quickly found a publisher after effectively interviewing him and showing him only the synopsis. He was hooked and a well- known (British) History Professor who read the work said that it was 'excellent' and 'well written'. Unfortunately, as time went on, my health declined further and my publisher's wife became seriously ill. I took the bold decision to find a publisher who could do much of the work for me as I was unable to do much. I decided upon SilverWood Books, although it meant I would have to pay them to produce the book. I was convinced that they would help me produce the book exactly as I wanted. I would be in total charge and have expert back up when I needed it. I know that I made the right decision. Although I own dozens of Romanov books (many very rare), if I could only own one book it would be my own - not because I wrote it but because it truly is the book of my dreams. I hope readers will share my passion and enjoyment of the book and its subject."
THANK YOU, ECS BANKS. GOOD LUCK WITH THE BOOK.