Friday, 28 November 2014

Flora Maguire

SS Minneapolis 1900
My Flora Maguire Cozy Mystery is now in edits, which means my announcement of a release date is drawing closer.  I have learned a great deal from this exercise, in that reducing the word count of a story that holds, clues, red-herrings and false trails throughout the manuscript, is incredibly difficult!  

Characters tell each other things in the wrong order, recognise people they have not yet met and reveal stuff they shouldn't know - fortunately my lovely editor has pointed these glaring errors and I am in the process of putting them right.

Next time - if there is one - I'll write a shorter story.

I have been asked what inspired this story which takes place on the SS Minneapolis on its maiden voyage from New York to London in March 1900. I was trawling through Newspaper reports for that era and came across one published in the New York Times dated December 1899 that  I knew I could make a story out of.  

I cannot reproduce it here as that would reveal three quarters of the clue. However there is a postscript to the creation of this novel I can mention, in that during the WW1 Centenary celebrations this summer, I delved into the fragmented family records including my grandfather's service record. 

Amongst the snippets of information, was one saying that his regiment were sent to France in October 1914, where they fought at Ypres. The ship was the SS Minneapolis - something of which I was completely unaware when looking for a steamship on which to base my murder mystery. 

In fact on further investigation I discovered all the 'Minne' class steamships of the Atlantic Transport Line were used as troopships during WW1. A possible clue  for the 'Twilight Zone' music, and for anyone born after 1980, and I don't mean the vampire movie.


Maggi Andersen said...

How remarkable, Anita. Maybe he told you once and it was buried somewhere in your subconscious? And when you were casting around for a ship it stood out? Or alternatively, it was something out of the Twilight Zone, :)

Susan C. said...

I've certainly had that moment when I guess at a historical detail only to find it's true, but nothing as amazing as this.

Petrea Burchard said...

"Characters tell each other things in the wrong order, recognise people they have not yet met and reveal stuff they shouldn't know..."
Why we need always a fresh eye on the manuscript!

Anita Davison said...

Maggi, my grandfather died when I was four, so I doubt he told me that story. I shall have to put it down to one of those unexplainable coincidences.

Jen Black said...

I would love to find a coincidence like that, but so far, nothing.

Jennifer Pittam said...

Hello Anita, How wonderful! I've had some spine-tingling experiences too, such as randomly picking a churchyard for my hero to live beside and then discovering it's situated in Scarrott street (Scarrott being his wife's maiden name)I'm looking forward to your finished book.

Diane Scott Lewis said...

That connection is remarkable, Anita. That's something you can add to your publicity for the story.

Katherine Pym said...

Oh my goodness, such a wonderful coincidence. When things like this happen, it's meant to be, a sign from the universe: This Is Good.

Lisa M. Elm said...

When you start digging into the past, it always amazing the things one finds. Looking forward to seeing Flora mysteries in print.