Back when I was first researching Jewel of the Thames (almost a decade ago now!) I would visit the reference library in Toronto to find books on the Booth maps. Charles Booth’s maps are part of his Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London (1886-1903) series and are SO awesome for visualising London as it existed for Holmes and Watson. At today’s Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium, one of my favourite pastiche authors, Bonnie MacBird, pointed out that the Booth Maps have been reinterpreted into an online form! A fantastic resource I had to share as soon I learned they were available digitally:
There are some cool elements to writing historical fiction, like names and time markers and larger historical events. But it can also be constraining when you take your artistic license and change things. In the case of Portia Adams for example, I decided to make 221B an upstairs apartment to a house that was at 221 Baker Street (deviating from Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon of Holmes & Watson living at 221B the house). I liked the idea that housing had changed between 1895 and the 1930s when Portia got to London.
In the case of The Laura Secord Chronicles, I’m finding it expedient to marry Elizabeth Ingersoll (Laura’s younger sister) off before Laura. It helps my story and the tension in the first few chapters if Laura has a foil who is on the path to a traditional family life.
There will be more deviations I’m sure, but I like my fans to know that these are mindful choices I’m making, they’re not mistakes. Sometimes the muse drives you in a direction that is not exact in it’s historical details. Ideally, it doesn’t take people out of the story.
Sometimes your research brings up odd things – like a PDF of a whole book that someone scanned titled HistoricOntario – by G.E. Moore that has a bunch of really useful info about the Queenston area. Check it out!
Wow, this is another awesome nomination for the little-calico-that-could!
The Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards (MYCRA) just announced their shortlist for 2020/21 and Pickles vs the Zombies is on it!
I was lucky enough to tour Manitoba in 2016 with the Portia series, and I am so excited to be a part of this very talented list of authors.
Some awesome news for fans of cats who fight zombies, Pickles VS the Zombies has been short-listed for the 2020/21 Hackmatack Award!
Past winners are some of my fav kids books, so I am thrilled to be on the list and honored to be amongst the best in the biz.
In case you didn’t know (as I did not), “the name of the Hackmatack program comes from a tree commonly found in Atlantic Canada, also known as a tamarack or larch.” It’s an annual prize picked by kids who live on the east coast, and there are four categories – English Fiction, English non-fiction, French Fiction and French non-fiction.
WICKED news eh?
As I am reading on a lot of my author-friends blogs and websites, I too must announce a delay in the publication of my books. While we’re all physically isolating to flatten that curve (a policy I am 100% behind) my publisher has let me know that The Detective and the Spy is being bumped into the fall. This means Trip of the Dead and The Detective and the Spy could potentially come out within weeks of each other which is weird, but whatcha gonna do?
I’m going to sit here in my home office in Toronto and be grateful that my food and mortgage are not dependent on my fiction writing because there are a lot of fine artists out there who cannot say the same.
So, here’s to all of the amazing indie bookstores trying to stay afloat, the authors whose books came out just as the pandemic hit and had to cancel the launch parties and to all the editors and writers out there who just need to get back out there.
I see you, I will retweet you, I will order your books and I wish you all good health.
I’m looking for some feedback as I start creating my visuals for the next Portia campaign. Can you please vote on the image (via comments) that catches your attention?