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 […]

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 […]

The Princes, the Removal Men and the Big Hole in the Ground

It’s been a busy week! On Saturday I chaired the Naval Dockyards Society AGM at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, before joining a party of society members on a walking tour of the site of the old Deptford royal dockyard. This is currently the location of a huge and ongoing archaeological dig preparatory to redevelopment […]

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 […]

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 […]

History and Fiction

I thought I’d take a brief break from my accounts of ‘the real gentlemen captains’ to give my impressions of last week’s conference at the Institute of Historical Research in London, Novel Approaches: From Academic History to Historical Fiction, which continues this week in virtual form. First of all it was great fun, and it […]

A Matter of Faith

Religion is often something of an elephant in the room of historical fiction. If the past really is a foreign country where they do things differently, faith is about as different as it gets, and for secular authors in today’s secular western societies, reconstructing its all-pervasiveness is perhaps one of the trickiest challenges of all. […]