I love visiting stately homes and grand country houses. There’s something about these glimpses into long gone lives that I find really fascinating. I’m also a sucker for costume drama and historical novels.
However when I started writing a steampunk short story for the Write Romantics charity anthology I realised that I’d not learned as much as I’d thought from all of this. Suddenly, every detail became important. Although steampunk is an alternate history I didn’t want to get it wildly wrong so I found myself researching when men started wearing wristwatches, wasting hours looking at photos of ladies fashions from 1890 (the hats are incredible – I will never know how anyone did anything in a hat that size!) and trying to get my head around steam technology.
When I visited Lanhydrock House in Cornwall, a beautiful late Victorian country house, I was determined to pay more attention to the details. Especially the innovations that were state of the art at that time. The National Trust have done an amazing job with Lanhydrock and it feels like a home which is still lived in, almost as if the inhabitants have just walked out of the rooms.
The Write Romantics charity anthology which includes my steampunk story, A Pistol for Propriety, will be out in early November. You can find out more about it at here