Thursday, January 05, 2006

Inspiration and research

Inspiration for a book can come from all sorts of places. For me, reading a number of books on Regency Brighton fired my imagination and resulted in Lord Deverill's Secret. I wanted to include a lot of background detail, and this suggested the plot: Cassandra Paxton, enjoying the pleasures of Brighton, finds that she is suffering a number of accidents, and comes to realise that someone is trying to kill her.

I loved finding out about sea bathing at the time. I wasn't sure, to begin with, what a bathing hut looked like inside, how it got into the water, or even whether women were allowed to bathe at the time. I found the answers to all these questions, and sent Cassandra and her friend down to the beach. There they hired a hut, left their clothes on the seat running along the length of it inside, and felt it bump over the beach as a horse, ridden by an urchin, pulled it into the water.

I included a trip to the races, as well as private parties, and of course I couldn't neglect the Pavilion.

In 1804, when the book is set, it wasn't the building we know today. It looked like the picture on the left.

You can see how the cover artist used the contemporary Nash illustration (above) as a basis for the book cover. The scene depicted is of Cassandra attending an evening at the Pavilion.

To find out what it was like to go to the Pavilion for an evening, I read The Creevey Papers. I'd recommend them to anyone interested in the Regency, as they make fascinating reading. One of the incidents in the book is based on an incident recounted by Lady Creevey. She didn't like going to the Pavilion - it was very hot, and the Prince was unpredictable.

If you want to find out more, you'll have to read The Creevey Papers, or Lord Deverill's Secret!

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