Friday, 23 May 2014


I was very pleased to be invited to join the Writers' Blog Tour recently by my Twitter friend Gillian Mawson at
I hope you’ll enjoy your visit, and will go on to sample the blogs of the other talented writers, highlighted below. We are part of a growing international community of writers, working to introduce our blogs to a wider audience. Christine Findlay, Chair of Bookmark Blair, (Blairgowrie Rattray and The Glens Book Festival) in Perthshire, Scotland, invited us to take part (see

Gillian Mawson invited the writers Anne Allen (, Rita Roberts ( and myself to follow her on the tour.

Today, it's my turn to be host on the Writers' Blog Tour and, as with the previous hosts, I'm going to share some insights about my writing.

What am I working on?

I'm currently working on publicity for my latest book, A Visitor's Guide to Victorian England (Pen & Sword, 2014). I am also at the early research stages for my next book which has a working title of Servants' Stories: Life Below Stairs In Their Own Words. For this, I'm returning to the world of domestic service, having written Tracing Your Servant Ancestors a couple of years ago. It's fascinating but I've had to learn some new interviewing skills because all my other books have been based in the Victorian period, or earlier, and all the sources took the form of documents, rather than living people! 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a difficult question because there are so many brilliant writers who write about the Victorian period. All I can say is that Victorian social history is a real passion of mine, and has been since I started tracing my family tree at the age of 16. I also try very hard not to restrict my work to London because I think it's important to tell the history of other regional centres as part of the story of the UK's past.

'A London May Day' from The Graphic, 1876
Why do I write what I do?

I've partly answered this above but I love to search out the seemingly insignificant details which bring history to life for readers. I'm interested in how people lived and worked on a daily basis - basically, I'm very nosy!

How does my writing process work?

Thorough research of primary sources is always the first stage of the process when I'm working on a new book. I find out which archives have the most promising material and try to visit as many as I can. At the same time, I'll be sorting out the structure of the book and the kind of content I want to include. Then I supplement the primary sources with information from secondary sources. When all the research has been done, I start to write and will do several drafts before the final edit. 

Scarborough Sands from Fish Pier, circa 1900
Finally, I'd like to introduce you to two wonderfully talented writers whose work you may enjoy.

Sue Wilkes

Sue, a Lancashire lass who lives in Cheshire, has written extensively on social, literary and industrial history. A creative writing tutor specialising in non-fiction, Sue has written many articles for history and family history magazines such as BBC History and Who Do You Think You Are? Her seventh book, A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England, will be published by Pen & Sword in October 2014. Sue blogs at: and

Angela Buckley

Angela Buckley is the author of The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada (Pen and Sword, 2014). She writes regularly for family history publications on a range of subjects including crime, poverty and the plight of the working classes in Victorian England. Born in Manchester, Angela enjoys exploring the city’s colourful past and the experiences of her own ancestors in the slums. Her blog is dedicated to Victorian crime:


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