But I Still Never Read Reviews, Dahling

A sort of semi-re-blog of an old post this week, one which first saw the light of day some three years ago. Looking back over it, I see that much of it still applies – I still look at my Amazon and Goodreads reviews only very rarely, unlike many fellow authors. This isn’t because I […]

The Real Gentlemen Captains, Redux, Part I

In the lead-up to my appearance on 13 March at Weymouth Leviathan, Britain’s first maritime literary festival, I thought I’d reblog some of my very earliest posts on this site, from November 2011, about some of the characters who will be making appearances during my talk. Here’s the first of them! People often ask me […]

The Dai is Cast

All novelists have a secret fantasy. Actually, it’s not terribly secret. It’s the cast list. Yes, admit it, my fellow authors, you know what I’m talking about. That cast list. The one for the film of your book – the lavish Hollywood spectacular or BBC mini-series based on our purple prose, the prize that we all dream about. […]

Merry Christmas, Restoration Navy Style

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 was despatched to the Mediterranean as part of Sir John Narbrough’s fleet, operating against […]

Blasts from the Past

I’ve been exploring the loft. To be exact, I’ve been exploring ‘my’ loft, i.e. the one above my workplace, ‘the Lair’. (As regular readers will know, this is a converted garage in the garden; probably the only garage in Britain with a bay window. Don’t ask, the previous owners had some very strange ideas…) The […]

Aristocrats

When this post goes ‘live’ I’ll actually be beavering away in the search room of Anglesey Archives in Llangefni, where I hope to obtain some useful material for Britannia’s Dragon. I’ll report back on my North Wales research trip next week, but in the meantime I thought I’d explore a theme that connects my current […]

The Art of Male Multi-Tasking

It’s a very odd and hectic time at the moment. I’m simultaneously completing the final edits of ‘Quinton 3’, The Blast That Tears The Skies, ahead of its UK publication on 17 April, while also writing number 4, The Lion of Midnight, keeping a weather eye on the US publication of The Mountain of Gold […]

Vanished Empires

‘The Journals of Matthew Quinton’ are set principally during what are known as ‘the Anglo-Dutch wars’, but like most generalisations used to describe historical periods, that label actually conceals a much more complex picture. For one thing, the wars were not exclusively Anglo-Dutch: the second, from 1665 to 1667, also involved France, Denmark-Norway and even […]

The Real Tarpaulins, Part 2

This week, a couple more ‘tarpaulin’ officers whose lives provided inspiration for the character of Kit Farrell in ‘the journals of Matthew Quinton’. I’ll conclude the series next week with a look at probably the most famous tarpaulins of the age – the closely interconnected Norfolk admirals Christopher Myngs, John Narbrough and Cloudesley Shovell. The […]

Gentleman in the First Person

A few weeks ago, Susan Keogh, author of the Jack Mallory chronicles, posted a pretty positive and particularly thoughtful review of Gentleman Captain, in which she raised a couple of interesting and important critical points. I’ve been meaning to post about these for some time, but a combination of holidays and the completion of the […]