Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research:
The naval blockade of Brest is one of the great untold stories of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. For over twenty years the Royal Navy maintained a fleet in all weathers, month after month, off one of the most dangerous coasts in the world. Nine days in ten the prevailing westerly wind tried its best to drive their ships onto the dangerous reefs and cliffs of Brittany. And on the tenth day, the wind would be favourable for the French fleet to come out of Brest.
Some of the ships spent more than a year on station, with all their needs, including water, food and clothes, being brought out to them from Plymouth. Later in the war, the navy occupied a few of the small islands off the coast that had been abandoned by the French. They grew fresh vegetables on most of them, and even dug wells to provide additional sources of fresh water.
Leah Devlin (The Woods Hole Mysteries, Chesapeake Tug Boat Murders) offers a wonderful array of thoughts about the visual inspirations for her character. There are a few to be found here on the Penmore website (Authors on Characters ) but many more on her own website. Here's a recent entry she wrote Visualizing Characters, where she looks at the images that inspired her complex and interesting charatcers in Vital Spark.
Mary Sharnick is the author of Orla's Canvas, a beautiful and compelling novel set in the turbulent era of the Civil Rights movement in the South, chronicled in the voice of her young protagonist Orla. In her reflection for Authors on Characters, Mary describes her long conversations with Orla, whose life she is continuing to recount in a forthcoming sequel, Painting Mercy.
Penmore Press has received two more terrific contributions to our Authors on Characters section. Here are Leah Devlin describing the "notorious" ancestors of her contemporary protagonist in the Chesapeake Tugboat Murder Series, and Lou Aguilar gives a profile of a smooth operator about to be leveled by a dog, in his political satire Jake for Mayor, forthcoming Summer 2016.
Lou Aguilar: A Dog's Tale: "Ken Miller was always a golden boy. He had looks, brains and popularity, with a commensurate arrogance, no less toward women. Straight out of Northwestern University; where he majored in political science and practically minored in partying; he went into a suitable career for his manipulative charm, advertising."
Leah Devlin, Notorious Relatives: "Wait … the story’s missing something. Giles and the other pyrates are feeling amorous. Drum roll please … enter women. Ferocious women, indentured servants-prisoners from the slums of Dublin and London, flee from a brutish foreman on a Virginia tobacco plantation and join the crew of the Raven."
Here are two new offerings in Penmore Press series Authors on Characters, where authors share their reflections and process on characters in their work. The first is from Mark Bois, whose historical novel The Lockwoods of Conakilty was formed from a packet of letters he discovered in doing research in Ireland. The second one is from Leah Devlin, whose new mystery series, The Chesapeake Tug Boat Murders introduces a character who decided to take over the story.
Mark Bois: A Packet of Letters: "I came across a dusty packet of letters that introduced me to Lieutenant William Faithful Fortescue and his Irish Catholic wife, Honora O’Brian Fortescue. Their story was an ultimately tragic one... I had never intended to write a novel, but the story was so poignant, so vibrant, that it deserved to be shared."
Leah Devlin, Millenials 24-7: "The world-weary Baltimore detective, Jay Braden is inescapably surrounded by millennials, one being Sergeant Lisa Paco. Lisa Paco was never supposed to be a major character. In fact, she was to be a relatively silent, geeky detective who remained behind her computer at headquarters, working with the IT unit. But Lisa wouldn’t sit still … or be quiet."
"I imagined what it would take to create characters who had been torn from their parents during the Holocaust, either by death or after being sent to Palestine for their safety. I decided to let them participate in their own creation."
Penmore Press is currently offering a separate series on our website, Authors on Characters, where authors provide short, reflections on the development of their characters. Our first in the series is from J. G. Harlond, author of The Chosen Man, a novel about how a certain dashing and questionable seventeenth-century merchant-spy becomes involved in a Hispano-Vatican conspiracy, and what happens during tulip mania in Holland. In her post, Jane recalls how two of the characters from the novel "walked" into her life, demanding to be seen
J. G. Harlond, Second Sight: I grew up knowing my great-grandmother was ‘fey’; odd things in our family are ‘known’ but I assumed most families were like that. Then I ‘saw’ two of my characters in corporeal form and began to wonder if it was quite normal."Read more>>>
Mary Sharnick sent Penmore Press some terrific photographs of her recent "meet and greet" event for her novel Orla's Canvas at Beacon Falls Library, Waterbury, Connecticut. An attentive crowd, signed books, and a wonderful author and story all add up to a great time. Congratulations, Mary.