9. nov., 2018
RESEARCHING THE HISTORIC
When I decided to try my hand at a story much further back in time than I had previously done, i.e. the 1850’s, it was the biggest writing challenge I’d had to date. I had never researched the 1800’s, knew nothing about the history thereof. As usual, I planned to take my characters across the world to Africa. I had already visited South Africa and years later I spent some time in Kenya with my second husband, Brian, naturalist and wildlife photographer.
The inspiration for the book, which I called THE JEALOUS LAND was all there, handed to me on a plate – only I had to take it back to the days when the young Queen Victoria was on the throne, the days of The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London, early train travel, great white hunters and early photography to be carried out by the hero Daniel, adventurer and wildlife photographer.
As I have said, many times, the research was enormous and filled more pages than the book itself. It also took longer to do than the actual writing, but it gave me a taste for writing the historic novel more than ever before. It was new and exciting for me as a writer and animal lover. And being married to a serious photographer was also a great help. I had seen the places I was writing about; experienced getting up close to the beauty and the danger of the wildlife that hadn’t changed.
5* Review by Rosemary Morris:
I congratulate Gadsby on her historical research. The description of Sophie and Thomas Brixby’s journey by train from Newcastle to London is excellent. So is the description of Daniel’s camera “the latest daguerreotype camera from France, together with the necessary glass plates and chemicals required for his trip.” Gadsby handles a large cast of characters in this unusual novel filled with searing emotion and prejudice. The more I read the more I wanted to find out what happened in the end, and despite tragedies before I reached it, I was satisfied.
Following the death of her parents, Sophie is sent to live with relatives in London, where she is treated like a servant. Later, her chance to escape an imposed life of hardship comes in the form of Daniel Clayton – a formidable explorer and photographer. Sophie agrees to his proposal of a loveless marriage, but this union plunges her into the midst of a family feud. She faces unforeseen treachery, a terrible secret in her husband’s past and her greatest dilemma yet.
There’s plenty of emotion, mystery, murder, danger and romance – and a baby elephant called Billy that will steal your heart.
To read an extract from THE JEALOUS LAND please go to my EXTRACTS page to get a taste of the story.