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H.B. Lyle: Fiction to fact to fiction – finding nuggets in the archive

Posted on: 21/08/2018 with tags: author blog, crime fiction, espionage, historical crime, historical fiction, Sherlock Holmes, 20th Century, British History, English History, European

It’s perhaps the most dreaded question in the author Q&A: where do you get your ideas from? Setting aside Arthur Miller’s famous response (‘I wish I knew, I’d go there more often’) this is perhaps an easier question for the historical novelist to answer than those working in other genres. For inspiration, we only have to look into the history books. And this is so often the way of things – authors find out versions of what happened then transmute and change and reimagine then in the form of…

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Spy Fever: how spy lies led to the creation of the Secret Service

Posted on: 17/05/2017 with tags: author blog, conspiracy theories, crime fiction, English History, historical crime, historical fiction, 20th Century

For a historical novelist, the usual way of things is to delve into history, to look at what’s interesting or important, a setting, an event, a time period – we write into this, try to recreate, re-imagine, re-use as we see fit. But what happens when this gets turned on its head, when fiction starts turning into fact? In writing my first historical novel – The Irregular, set in 1909 – I discovered a startling example of invention becoming real, of fiction (spy fiction no less) having a very prof…

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Author David Morrell on escaping to Victorian London

Posted on: 17/11/2016 with tags: author blog, crime fiction, David Morrell, historical fiction, Victorian

For the past seven years, I’ve been a time traveller, writing a Victorian mystery trilogy about 1850’s London.  The three novels (Murder As a Fine Art, Inspector of the Dead, and Ruler of the Night) feature a controversial literary figure from the era, Thomas De Quincey, who was notorious for having written the first book about drug addiction, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), and who praised mass murderers in his famous essay, ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’. Seven ye…

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Anna Mazzola and Jane Housham talk THE UNSEEING and THE APPRENTICE OF SPLIT CROW LANE

Posted on: 07/11/2016 with tags: Anna Mazzola, author content, author interview, crime fiction, Jane Housham, The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane, The Unseeing, Victorian

Anna Mazzola: So we’ve both ended up writing about awful crimes from the nineteenth century. What’s your excuse? Jane Housham: I was researching my dad’s side of the family, who come from the North East, when I came across reports of an awful murder in Newcastle and Gateshead newspapers. At first I was just curious to know whether we might have a murderer in the family, but the more I looked into it, the more compelling it seemed to become, and aspects of the crime seemed to shake up things I th…

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