Update: 'The Sans Pareil Mystery'
'The Strand' in Fiction
Feeling good today because that's another 1,000 words written of 'The Sans Pareil Mystery.' The trouble is though, that we Historical Fiction authors seem to spend three hours researching to every one hour writing. I've been battling away trying to work out the shape, architecture and business landscape of the famous London street, The Strand, in 1810. I'm determined to recreate the noise, sights, sounds and smells of this location in the Regency era to make the experience as authentic as I can for my readers. And what do I end up with after two hours research? Only enough information to embellish three short paragraphs of prose....(sigh)
Thoughts from an absent-minded author
I love it when I'm so immersed in my story that I'm still developing the plot as I carry out the more mundane aspects of my life, like strolling around the supermarket. After a two year break (necessary because my late-husband's illness) I now feel like I've returned to my favourite place after a long absence. My head is swimming with ideas, characters are talking to me and settings burst alive in vivid detail. However, the supermarket cashiers aren't usually too keen when I try to pay for the groceries with a dry-cleaning card...(sigh)
Covent Garden Capers
I've spent a wonderful afternoon writing and researching my latest Regency mystery. Set in Covent Garden in 1810, I found myself exploring more and more websites which detailed the long - and notorious - history of London's modern-day theatrical district. Back in the Regency era, Covent Garden had already established itself as the biggest market for 'fruit, flowers, roots and herbs' in Britain. It also had more prostitutes per square foot than any other part of the capital. The Grand Piazza, originally designed by Inigo Jones back in the 17th century to mimic the great neo-classical piazza's of Europe, was nicknamed: 'The great square of Venus.'
One contemporary observer declared: 'One would imagine that all the prostitutes in the Kingdom had pitched upon this blessed neighbourhood for a place of general rendezvous. For here are lewd women in sufficient numbers to people a mighty colony. And that a fuel for the natural flame may not be wanting, here is a great variety of open houses whose principal employment is to minister incitements to lust.'
I just hope that Detective Stephen Lavender can keep his mind on the case in this novel!
For an occasional newsletter containing news, events and other information from historical novelist, Karen Charlton, please subscribe to the mailing list below.