IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO “THE MEREST LOSS” BY STEVEN NEIL ON HIS TOUR WHICH KICKS OFF ON MY BLOG TODAY!
GUEST POST THREE
From Steven Neil, the author of THE MEREST LOSS
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.
Researching the historical timeline
I write a historical timeline for the whole novel before I start drafting. This gives me a clear picture of the political setting and the major events but also locates the development of music, theatre, and art; invaluable elements for creating an authentic fictional world. The timeline for The Merest Loss spanned 1836-1873 but here is an excerpt.
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The Merest Loss: TIMELINE excerpt 1836-1846
1836 King William IV, monarch. Viscount Melbourne, Prime Minister. Charles Darwin returns to Falmouth on HMS Beagle. Battle of the Alamo. Charles Dickens publishes Pickwick Papers. Robert Schumann – Fantasie in C Gaetano Donizetti – Belisario Honoré de Balzac – Le Lys Dans la vallée (“The Lily of the Valley”)
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Diana Surprised By Actaeon Tom Olliver meets Harriet Howard, then Elizabeth Ann Harryet.
1838 Anti-Corn Law League founded. London and Birmingham’s railway opens. Felix Mendelssohn – String Quartets Op. 44, No. 3 in D Major and No. 5 in E-Flat Major Hector Berlioz – Benvenuto Cellini Robert Smith Surtees – Jorrocks’ Jaunts and Jollities Jem Mason and Harriet Howard meet.
1839 Chartists riot in Birmingham. Bradshaw’s first national railway timetable published. Felix Mendelssohn – Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49 Frédéric Chopin – Piano Sonata No. 2 “Funeral March” Giuseppe Verdi‘s first opera, Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio, opens at La Scala, Milan. Honoré de Balzac Béatrix Charles Dickens – Nicholas Nickleby Edgar Allan Poe –The Fall of the House of Usher Jem Mason wins the first Grand National on Lottery.
1840 Queen Victoria marries her cousin, Prince Albert. Adolphe Thiers becomes the French Prime Minister. Remains of Napoleon are brought back to France and buried at Les Invalides in Paris. February 11 – Gaetano Donizetti‘s opera La Fille du Regiment premieres in Paris. William Makepeace Thackeray – Catherine Victor Hugo – Les Rayons et Les Ombres Louis Napoleon imprisoned near Reims, France after the failed coup attempt.
Jem Mason and Harriet Howard living at 277 Oxford Street, London.
1842 Riots against the Corn Laws and in favour of the Chartists. Tom Olliver wins the Grand National on Gaylad. Frédéric Chopin – Polonaise for Piano in A flat major, B 147/Op. 53 “Heroic” Felix Mendelssohn – Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish”) Giuseppe Verdi – Nabucco, March 9 at La Scala, Milan Honoré de Balzac – The Black Sheep George Sand – Un hiver à Majorque (“A Winter in Majorca”) Harriet Howard has a son Martin.
1843 SS Great Britain launched. Engels and Marx meet in France. Tom Olliver wins his second Grand National on Vanguard. Frédéric Chopin – Impromptu No. 3 in G-flat major, opus 51; Ballade No. 4 in F minor, opus 52 November 13– Gaetano Donizetti‘s final opera Dom Sébastien is premiered at the Paris Opera. Victor Hugo – Les Burgraves Robert Smith Surtees – Handley Cross Harriet Howard comes under the guardianship of Capt. Francis Mountjoy Martin, Life Guards. She is provided with a trust fund and residence (Rockingham House, London) by Mountjoy Martin.
1844 Charles Dickens publishes Martin Chuzzlewit. Thackeray publishes The Luck of Barry Lyndon. Felix Mendelssohn Midsummer Night’s Dream incidental music (including the Wedding March) Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo&The Three Musketeers
1845 Irish potato famine. Bizet writes Carmen. Robert Schumann – Piano Concerto in A minor Robert Smith Surtees – Hillingdon Hall Tom Olliver and Jem Mason regular visitors to Paris to ride in French steeplechases 1845-55.
Louis Napoleon escapes from prison and arrives in London. Harriet Howard meets Louis Napoleon in London. Harriet Howard moves to 9 Berkeley Square, London.
© Steven Neil
THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the UK, US, France, Canada, and Australia.
Follow Steven Neil on https://twitter.com/stevenneil12 for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.
Steven has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a bookmaker’s clerk, bloodstock agent, racehorse breeder and management consultant amongst other professions in his varied career. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire, England. The Merest Loss is his debut novel.
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