Usually there are years of research over a wide range of topics involved with any historical novel. Although much of it is, thankfully, not described explicitly in the novel, it all helps to plausibly reconstruct the world as it was. I have drawn together here a number of the blog posts I have written on … Continue reading The Bridled Tongue – Some Background
A few of my favourite things. When you are writing historical fiction it is always the unknown unknowns that will bite you - those things that it has not occurred to you that you need to check. A couple of weeks ago I had a moment or several of historical fiction writer's sheer panic when … Continue reading Unknown Unknowns and Elizabethan Earrings
I have ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada, most of whom had arrived in Australia by the 1850s, with only a couple of Jenny/Johnny-come-latelys in the late 1860s. I have been obsessively researching them for fourteen years now, after inheriting my parents' papers in the early 2000s. My father attempted to research his forbears, … Continue reading Some Family History
Recently I have read several books where historical implausibilities have just leapt off the page at me - female cooks in the Manor house of a substantial gentry family in the 1530s, characters attending a play several years before the playwright was even born, a twelve year old girl reading a banned book that was … Continue reading Assume Nothing
The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux is definitely one for the genealogists. It opens with the discovery of a marriage certificate in an antiques centre by Peter Sefton, an amateur genealogist. Thinking that there is something vaguely inappropriate for such a personal memento to be on display, he buys it in the hope of perhaps … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux
I regard writing as in some ways like sculpting with clay. In sculpting the starting point is a design and an armature (the framework on which a clay sculpture is moulded), with writing most of us begin with a general idea of the story we want to tell and the arc it will follow even … Continue reading Revision, revision, revision
Quite a number of factors need to be taken into account when choosing the names for characters. Some apply to any form of fiction such as ensuring that the character names are distinct and not easily confused with other characters, that they do not sound alike or look similar on paper. Even initials need to … Continue reading What’s in a name?
Quite some years ago I applied for a job cataloguing maps. The interview was going well when one of the interviewers placed a map in front of me and asked me how I would catalogue it - it was a cadastral map overlaying a topographic map of an area of Melbourne in the 1880s. I … Continue reading Maps