Remembering, rather than researching

Backhall JolimontPeople often mention that research must be hard work. But I have been lucky to have lived in old houses for much of my life, and good friends have also lived in old houses. For many years, my social circle surprisingly did not include anyone who lived in a modern house. It was natural that conversations with those friends frequently contained references to the people that built their homes, so long ago. The family names of people who lived in the 1890s are as familiar to me – as were their places of work, and their activities and their travels – as friends and colleagues’ lives are today. 

So when it came to writing about people living at the end of the 19th century, it is more a process of remembering. The faces of the new characters changed, of course, but their milieu is similar to the old familiar friends. To me, the 19th century is not a foreign place.

Extensive new research lays the groundwork, and ensures the accuracy of my writing, but the atmosphere is all based on memory and experiences.