Thursday, October 04, 2012

Background to Hattie Wilkinson Meets her Match

There are a number of strands which came together with Hattie.
First, several years ago I read Lady Worsley's Whim which was about  one of the more scandalous  Criminal Conversation trials of the late eighteenth century. There is even a suggestion the American revolution was settled more speedily because one of the main pillars of the British givernment was embroiled.
Anyway, The Worsleys had a son who died in his early 20s but it got me to thinking what would it been like for the son? His mother abandoned him for her lover.
A child of divorced parents, it is a subject which intrigues. My parents divorced in my late teens and it was not an amicable parting of the ways...and it does change you.
I filed this in the back of my brain under possibles as other ideas were screaming.
Second, I read a story in the Hexham Courant about the Stagshaw Fair which was the largest one day fair in England. It used to be held on the fourth of July which amused me greatly. In the article they made reference to a man who had redeemed himself in the early eighteenth century by saving his valet from one of the notorious people snatchers. Apparently there was a real problem with press gangs and many Northumberland men were snatched and sent to the West Indies to work on the plantations. There is precious little about this and unfortunately it was not the right time period for me but I filed it in the back of my mind -- thinkiing some day.
Finally, I happened to go to the University of Birmingham on an open day visit with my daughter and encountered a protrait of Mair Constance *Hattie* Barb er and her dogs. Again the wrong period but I knew I wanted to write about a heroine who had a small dog. Hattie Barber had Yorkshire terriers but the breed wasn't in existance in the Regency period. However papillions were and they are a small dog with attitude. So Moth was born.
And then I remembered the other two ideas and thought while maybe...And the ideas started to scream. Particularly when  Kit, Sur Christopher Foxton, strolled into my brain and refused to leave.
Luckily my editor was intrigued and very supportive so I was able to write Hattie. I think I drove her insane when I was writing Hattie as I could not get the ending right. Luckily she was there and made several excellent suggestions and the story is much stronger for them.
Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match is one of the few titles I have been able to keep. Or rather it is a variation of Hattie Meets Her Match which was my working title. I always love it when it happens.

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