Bristol History Podcast
I recently talked to Tom Brothwell on the History Podcast about writing and researching historical fiction. Amongst other things, we discussed how my interest in the history of protest and reform informs my fiction and non fiction. The podcast is available to listen to on Soundcloud here Bristol History Podcast or on the Bristol Cable website here.
Photo: Camerton church in Somerset was the inspiration for the church which features in The Fatal Coin: A Dan Foster Mystery. If you look closely you can see the elephants…
Walking in her Shoes
Elaine Martel is spending her weekends walking in the footsteps of the women who helped to win votes for women, to raise funds for CARE International, who work to empower women worldwide. This April she came to Bristol and, using the walk in The Bristol Suffragettes as one of her guides, visited some of the city’s suffrage sites. She also caught up with me for a quick interview. You can read about Elaine’s Bristol walk here. You can read our interview here.
And if you would like to sponsor Elaine visit her Just Giving Page.
Photo: 23 Gordon Road, the home of Annie Kenney
A Problem Beyond Human Solution: Women’s Education in the Eighteenth Century
“Too much education was a dangerous thing: it created dissatisfaction and unsettled the labouring classes.”
I was thrilled to be invited to write a guest blog for Geri Walton’s splendid history site which looks at all things eighteenth and nineteenth century. In my blog, I looked at the issue of women’s education in the eighteenth century, and the debate that raged about how and to what extent women should be educated. You can read A Problem Beyond Human Solution: Women’s Education in the Eighteenth Century here.
Bristol Women into Politics – “an insightful overview of the suffragette movement in Bristol”
There’s a review of the talk Professor June Hannam and I did at Bristol MShed on 15 February 2018 by State of the Arts, a website covering arts, culture and politics from cities across England. The talk – “Women, Citizenship and the 1918 Representation of the People Act: Bristol Women in Politics” – explored the background to the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave some British women the vote, and looked at how Bristol women responded to the new political landscape. The talk was part of the Regional History Centre’s seminar series at MShed. You can read the review at the State of the Arts website here. Find out more about the Regional History Centre, the University of the West of England, here.
The Bristol Magazine picks The Bristol Suffragettes as a “fabulous feminist read”
I was thrilled to see The Bristol Suffragettes included in The Bristol Magazine’s February 2018 round up of reads to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of votes for (some) women – alongside Mary Beard’s Women and Power (which I’ve just read in fact – and it’s a great read!). Find out about the books selected by Bristol Magazine here – opens as PDF document.
Votes for Women 100
What a busy time it’s been commemorating the centenary of Votes for (some) Women! I’ve been on ITV News West Country and BBC Points West talking about the key role Bristol played in the campaign for women’s right to vote, as well as doing interviews on the Emma Britton Show, BBC Radio Bristol on 5 February 2018; and the Marie Lennon Show, BBC Radio Wiltshire on 6 February 2018. And I’m looking forward to more talks and events commemorating Votes for Women 100 – see the Diary page for details.
Photo: filming on a rainy day in Clifton!
The Women Who Built Bristol: Suffragette Victoria Lidiard
I have written about Bristol suffragette Victoria Lidiard for The Women Who Built Bristol by Jane Duffus. The book is a fundraiser for Bristol Women’s Voice and is published by Tangent Books. With entries on 250 inspiring women, the book is a compendium of the women who helped to shape Bristol into the vibrant city it is today.
Diamond Tales: A Sneak Preview of the next Dan Foster Mystery
I’m delighted to have taken part in the Discovering Diamonds’s Christmas blog, which ran from 3 to 23 December 2017 and featured stories and articles by a variety of authors, including Helen Hollick (the Jesamiah Acorne series), Alison Morton (the Roma Nova series), Susan Grossey (the Inspector Plank series) and a host of other sparkling authors writing on the theme of “diamonds”.
Diamond Tales included a sneak preview of the next Dan Foster novel! You can read the preview here.
Experiments on the Poor
“I cannot give you an adequate idea of the wretchedness of an hospital…Everything appeared to be conducted for the accommodation of the medical men and their pupils, who came to make experiments on the poor, for the benefit of the rich.” The Wrongs of Woman: or, Maria, A Fragment, Mary Wollstonecraft
In The Butcher’s Block, Dan Foster encounters a gang of body snatchers. Find out why the sick, destitute and poor hated and feared grave robbers in a guest blog I wrote for the delightful Madame Gilflurt’s Covent Garden Salon. Read Experiments on the Poor.
Blame it on Charles Dickens
“The opening of A Tale of Two Cities said: people have different viewpoints; there is no single way of looking at things.”
I’m delighted to be the author in the spotlight on Hist Fic Saturday for the JaffaReadsToo blog, musing on why I write historical fiction – and blaming it on Charles Dickens! You can read “Why do I write historical fiction?” here.
The Butcher’s Block: A Dan Foster Mystery
“An officer’s been murdered. Murdered and cut up for sale to the anatomy schools. It was a professional quartering. I want to know who has the skill to do that.”
The Butcher’s Block, the second full-length Dan Foster Mystery, is published on 3 August 2017.
The novel sees Dan on the trail of the killers of a Bow Street officer and pitches him into the murky world of the body snatchers. But the body-snatching racket soon leads to something bigger and much more dangerous. In a treacherous underworld of vicious pugilists, ruthless murderers, British spy masters and French agents, Dan must tread carefully – or meet the same terrible fate as his fellow-officer.
My Inheritance Book
“There’s no such thing as private property in Nature! The woods and fields belong to the earth, and so do we.” The Little Grey Men, BB
I’m delighted to be a guest on Rhoda Baxter’s blog talking about my “inheritance book” – that is, a book I’ve inherited from the generation above. I chose one of my favourite childhood reads, The Little Grey Men by BB. It was amazing to revisit the book and realise just how much it has influenced me. It’s definitely due for a re-read! I was also asked to name a book I would leave to future generations, and I chose my copies of William Morris’s The Earthly Paradise which have autograph letters written by the great man himself pasted inside them. Not surprisingly, these are the books that count as my most treasured possessions! You can read My Inheritance Book on Rhoda Baxter’s blog here.
Talking Books with Suzie Grogan
Suzie Grogan has uploaded some of her Talking Books radio shows onto Soundcloud, including the interview I did on Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery. You can listen to the show here. Find out about Suzie and her books here, and Talking Books (10 Radio) here.
Bloodie Bones is joint winner of the HNS Indie Award 2016!
I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery is joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016.
The winners were announced at the Historical Novel Society Conference 2016 in Oxford on 3 September. The HNS Indie Review team reviews around 300 books a year, and from these any books selected as Editor’s Choice automatically go on to the long list for the Award. This year there was a long list of 38 novels, from which a short list of nine authors was selected. Three judges selected a list of four finalists, and two further judges selected the winning title from these. Usually there is a winner and a runner-up, but this year the judges decided to make a joint award.
The joint winners were Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery and Fossil Island by Barbara Sjoholm.
Bloodie Bones was also a semi finalist in the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016.