A few months ago, as I was working on Road to Murder, I found trouble in the form of a French town called Montreuil sur Mer.* Well, for various reasons, my sleuth Tom Walsingham finds himself spending a night there, much against his inclination, and I needed to have a good idea of the place for that… Continue reading
And so I learned that, while I’d always assumed that people walked to the Theatre via Bishopsgate, Bishopsgate Street and Shoreditch, this was not the case. Not that the Burbages wouldn’t have liked such a straightforward route to their playhouse – but there was opposition from the local landowners – particularly from the Earl of Rutland, who effectively blocked the easy access… Continue reading
There is no doubt that, when it comes to researching historical novels, there is a Before the Internet and an After the Internet.
I daresay the same applies to a lot of fields – but let me stick to mine: I’m old enough to remember a time when, if you were Italian and wanted, say, to read Henslowe’s Diary, your best option was a trip of several hundred kilometers – to read the book in Bologna or Venice, supposing someone had told you that Nineteenth Century copies of JP Collier’s edited version were to be found there at all*… Continue reading
I told you about Bryher’s The Player’s Boy, didn’t I?
Well, to this lovely, melancholy novel my Paris Press edition adds a wonderful afterword, consisting of a letter that Bryher wrote to a friend to explain her fascination with Elizabethan literature and history. It’s a charming little piece about growing up, reading, cultivating one’s imagination, finding strength in literature and history, and being slightly eccentric… It’s well worth reading in its entirety.
My favourite part, though, has to be the final musing on the historian’s perspective: Continue reading
Ah, the joys and sorrows of research…
We all know how it goes. A story – be it a trilogy of door-stoppers, a play or a tiny short – is a world, and, to misquote Benedick, the world must be researched. And you can not find the stuff you need, or you can find too much and get lost in the meanders of it, or you can think you found the right stuff – and painfully discover later that you didn’t… Continue reading
Shall we call it field research?
A few days ago, a malfunctioning and a very grey day combined to send me back in time. With no power and no heating, I found myself depending on candles for light and the fireplace for warmth – all through one afternoon and night. Besides, my laptop’s battery was running low, so there was nothing for it, but sit by the fire and write in longhand and read by candlelight… Continue reading