The Agonising

As far as I’m aware, there’s no collective noun for a gathering of historical novelists; but if there was, it would probably be ‘an agonising’. This was demonstrated in spades last week, at the 2018 conference of the Historical Novel Society. What do historical novelists agonise about? Pretty much everything, really…but more of that anon. […]

Serendipity

Sometimes – very, very rarely, but sometimes – thinks click together in an unexpected but beautiful, seemingly preordained way. This is the moment called ‘serendipity’, and it’s doubly appropriate in this case, as that was part of the official pedigree name of my first dog. (‘Peredur Serendipity’, since you ask – a distinctly wilful dachsund […]

Merry Christmas from the Restoration Navy!

A festive re-post from the very first Christmas of this blog, namely 2012… *** Henry Teonge, a Warwickshire clergyman, was fifty-five when he first went to sea as a naval chaplain, presumably forced into the job by the extent of his debts. In 1675 he joined the Fourth Rate Assistance, commanded by William Houlding, which […]

The Sandwich of Xanadu

Last week, I went along to the Historical Writers’ Association Christmas bash. This is always great fun – it’s good to touch base with one’s fellow practitioners, especially because our line of work is, by definition, pretty solitary. Above all, it’s always reassuring to find that author A has exactly the same issues that you […]

Authentic Headless Women Revisited, Now With Extra Tortured Cats

The middle of August, so lots going on, almost none of it seriously work-related – lawns to mow, places to visit, etc. As an ex-teacher of many years’ drudgery service, I still have the mindset that August is pretty sacrosanct, even though that imperative doesn’t really work for writers. Even so, I suspect that many […]

How Not to Write a Tudor Novel

A few months ago, I announced my exciting new project – three linked naval fiction stories, set in the Tudor period, which will eventually combine together to be published as one ‘traditional’ book by the splendid new imprint, Endeavour Ink. Since then, in addition to finishing off other projects, I’ve slowly been getting my research […]

Books. Beer. What’s Not to Like?

It is a truth not universally acknowledged that Jane Austen brewed her own beer, so I have absolutely no doubt that, as she looks down upon all the events marking the bicentenary of her death, the great author would thoroughly approve of Open Book, the first ever literary festival in Hitchin. The strapline, ‘Books, Beer and […]

The Devil Upon the Wave – Teaser Trailer

To mark the publication by Endeavour Press of the new Quinton title, The Devil Upon the Wave, I’m delighted to provide a treat for my loyal readers and followers of this blog – namely, the first few pages of the book. *** Here, Painter, let thine art describe a story, Shaming our warlike island’s ancient glory: A […]

Amsterdam Good Time, Part 1

And so it continued. Not content with fireworks, rowing contests, schoolchildren’s chain-making competitions, and exhibitions galore, it was finally time for the historians to have their four-penn’orth about the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway, which was why I spent last weekend in Amsterdam, attending a conference jointly organised by the Naval Dockyards Society […]

I’m a Doctor – Why Can’t I have a Tardis?

What, you mean doctorates in History don’t count? But a Tardis would have been very useful over the weekend, when I was in Portsmouth for the AGM of the Society for Nautical Research, followed by a splendid dinner on the lower gundeck of HMS Victory, but I’d also have loved to be in Chatham for ‘Medway […]