Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm delighted to have been asked to do a guest spot on M M Bennetts' blog. I drive a good deal, as you will know, and in this case, I'm looking at coaching, both stages and Mails.

I've been researching this history extensively for a good many years. Praise be for the Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, and places like the Post Office Museum and archive, which have all provided contemporary material or first-hand accounts from people who actually drove commercially in the 1830s and knew the proprietors of the great coaching businesses which, within a few years of Victoria's accession, had vanished from most of England.

I've now completed my historical novel, "Coachman!" George Davenport is a young, ambitious driver whose move to London coincides not only with the Coronation of Queen Victoria but also with the completion of major railways which marked the beginning of the end for coaching. Of course, being a novel, I've further complicated George's life, with Lucy, his pregnant girlfriend, and Sarah Chaplin, his boss's daughter, who is as ambitious as he is, and with far fewer principles.

I hope the Chaplin family will forgive me for having taken liberties with their history, but Sarah was the one member who never married, so there are no direct descendants to protest. My excuses are that the one Chaplin I know well was happy for me to write a novel about her famous coaching ancestor, while George, the coachman, and Lucy, are my own great-grandparents, albeit transplanted a couple of generations back in time ...

I like the results and I hope readers will too.

But first I need to complete the polishing and find an agent - or decide whether to go it alone and self publish.