Welcome to my new blog!
So let’s get straight into the FAQs…
1/ You already have a blog, so why start this one? True – I’ve been writing the View From the Lair blog for a few years now and have thoroughly enjoyed doing it. But I’ve come to realise that just blogging occasionally about whatever takes my fancy is actually pretty unsatisfying for me, and probably far more unsatisfying for the readers of my books. I’ll keep View From the Lair ‘live’, though, so I can use it as a vehicle for an occasional rant or digression from the themes of this blog – for example, as with my new post about rioting in the UK.
2/ So what will be different about this one? Recently, I was impressed by the advice offered in Joel Friedlander’s blog. The points about using a blog to explain aspects of one’s work and to try out new ideas really struck me, and I thought I could also use a new blog to develop what has always been one of my principal motivations in writing the ‘Journals of Matthew Quinton’ – namely raising awareness of 17th century naval history. I was also struck by the advice about publishing to a regular schedule: common sense, really, and a message that’s constantly reinforced at home by Wendy (the ‘Lady Quintonjournals’ of my Twitter feed!) who runs the Guardian Teacher Network and thus knows a thing or two about communicating with audiences online.
3/ What specifically will you be blogging about? I’ve got a lot of ideas that should keep me going for ages! These include the pros and cons of having a first person narrator, how to treat religion seriously in historical fiction, how far to take liberties with real events and real people, and – starting with the first proper post, next Monday – the importance in naval history of ‘the’. (Confused? Watch this space!) I’m also going to be floating some ideas for future Quinton stories and bringing you news about exciting developments over Quinton e-books. There’ll also be regular progress reports about, and insights into the research for, my new non-fiction book, Britannia’s Dragon: A Naval History of Wales.
4/ When will new posts come out? I’m determined to publish new blog posts to a regular schedule, unlike my track record with View From the Lair! The current plan is for each new post to come out weekly, on a Monday.
5/ Finally, why ‘Gentlemen and Tarpaulins’? This was the title of my first book, published exactly twenty years ago by Oxford University Press (and still available from them via ‘print on demand’!). A lot has happened since then, but even so, that was where it all began – and of course, central to the ‘Quinton Journals’ is the relationship between the ‘gentleman captain’ Matthew Quinton and the ‘tarpaulin’ Kit Farrell, so the title seemed appropriate on several counts.