Now that The Uncanny Life of Polly is finished and awaiting delivery to the editor, I am free to embark on another project! Yes, I know I'm mad! ;-) I've decided to work on a project I'm doing for my publisher - Moon Rose Publishing. They love Relative Deceit and they want more. So... I put on my thinking cap and decided to take the detective out of our story, put him in a new setting and see what crimes he unearths and solves.
However, Det. Insp. Samuel Harris has a niece, Lettie Jenkins. She's always wanted to follow in his footsteps. Having grown up in the age of women's suffrage and of women getting the vote in 1918. This inspired her to reach to a career previously inaccessible to women, very much like those born in the 60s and 70s also did.
It was the Ministers of Munitions,Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, who requested uniformed women officers from the Women's Volunteer Police Service (WPS) to police female munitions workers in 1915.
However, the WPS attracted unfavourable attention by its meddlesome policing of prostitutes, and harassing the women. When Sir Nevil Macready became Police Commissioner, he refused to adopt them as Metropolitan Police aides. He preferred the National Council of Women's Special Police Patrols.
The Women's Special Police Patrols had no past association with militant suffragettes, and became the nucleus of the future Women Police. The head of the Patrols, Mrs Stanley, was hostile to the WPS, believing their uniforms and use of Metropolitan Police ranks to mislead the public. Under her, the WPS were forced to change their name to the Women's Auxiliary Service (WAS) in 1921, and to add red flashes to their uniform, distinguishing its members from the Metropolitan Women Police Patrols.
The Baird Committee on Women Police (1920) failed to recommend the WAS play any part in policing London, and although a WAS contingent made valuable contributions to the Royal Irish Constabulary during the Troubles, they were forced to suspend their activities in 1940, and were never revived.
In November 1918, Sir Nevil Macready appointed Mrs Stanley as Superintendent of the Metropolitan Women Police Patrols. 25 women were immediately appointed, all members of the existing Special Patrols, and although they were neither sworn in or given special powers of arrest, they were directly employed by and directly under the orders of Scotland Yard, and their duties were policing.
From 1923 - 30, women police were fully attested and given limited powers of arrest.
From 1930 - 69, A4 Branch (Women Police) was established under a female Superintendent.
In 1969 the Women's Branch was dissolved in anticipation of the Equal Pay Act, although women police were still treated as a separate section of the service. It was not until 1973 that Women Police were integrated directly into the main force.
(History on women in the Police thanks to the Metropolitan Police.)
(Top right - the actor Paul Copley. He's who I think of when I'm writing Det. Inspector Samuel Harris.) So, will Lettie Jenkins be forced to get the Ladies of the night off the streets and make tea in the station? Like 'eck will she! She's a character in a Karen Aminadra novel! ;-)
Recently I came across a post on Facebook from a fellow author, regarding his Steampunk work. What is that? I asked. Well, David W. Wilkin was very kind enough to agree to an interview and to tell us all about this intriguing genre!
David, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog.
extremely intrigued by your new story, Micawber and Copperfield and the Great
Diamond Heist of 1879. It’s part of a
Steampunk Anthology (Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology) – How did
that come about?
Hi, Karen, first let me begin by saying what a pleasure it
is to stop by. Thank you for having me.
Now as to how my story came about, it
began with one of our Facebook friends announcing a competition for a Steampunk
story with characters from the classics of literature of the era. Jane Austen,
Mark Twain and of course, Charles Dickens.
is steampunk – what is steampunk?
Steampunk is a term coined to cover what we might think of
Jules Verne and HG Wells. Later Victorian setting with technology that goes
along a different path than the road our world took. The steam engine has been
evolving for countless years, but really took off in the late 1770s and of
course we have the first locomotives in the 1820s. An age that saw the first
beginnings of the Industrial Age. If we carry forward, taking Steam Power and
marrying it to the world of the nineteenth century more firmly, we can generate
a steampunk milieu.
What do you
love about this genre that drew you to write in it?
Way back (25 years ago) some game designers thought to take
the much more limited fiction then and make a role playing game (Space 1889). I
purchased and played that game and had tremendous fun. I had studied some in
the late colonial era, but it was not my first love at that time. The last few
years though, with writers such as John Wilcox and Saul David, I have been
reading more about the Victorian British Empire.
I further found of interest to me, the idea that Steam
Engines start us onto a path of modernization. I thought what would happen if
Steam power came about in a time like the end of the Medieval era, making the
Renaissance totally different. I wrote a duology (not out yet) about this. So I
had a Steampunk like book already but not with our Victorian world. The
competition from Xchyler Publishing got me to thinking of Steampunk as it is
generally thought of and a story for it.
What is the
The RDC is the Royal Dirigible Corps. The English call the
Royal Navy, the senior service. They were chartered first. The Army is thus the
junior service. Into that is the Cavalry as well. But the Artillery was the
Royal Artillery, and there is he Royal Corps of Signals. Royal is everywhere.
For our purposes, the RDC is a small
branch of the Royal Navy, given a room at the Admiralty, and their own ‘Sea’
Lord, but some realise that the Corps will grow. Thus they are the junior,
junior service. In my story, beside a yacht for her majesty Victoria, the corps
have 12 dirigibles, making it the largest presence on the planet. Grouped into
Squadrons of 1 frigate and 2 sloops, there is one stationed at Cape Town for
Southern Africa, and Cairo for North Africa. One in Australia, and one in
Why did you
choose Charles Dickens’ characters for your book, and in particular Wilkins
Dickens has a whole host of characters for me to explore,
and no longer can I pinpoint the exact moment of inspiration that led me to
Micawber and Copperfield. In casting for a time relation, Steampunk is after
Dickens. The later part of the 1800s, and Dickens is the earlier and middle of
the century. Thinking that the grandsons of Wilkins Micawber and David
Copperfield would be perfect came to me. Micawber is based on Dickens own
father and Copperfield I believe is thought to have been born around 1820, a
child of the Regency Era, which I write in as well.
I have fond memories of the George Cukor version of David
Copperfield, WC Fields and Edna May Oliver. I did not know when I first saw
them that Micawber was named Wilkins, which means a little to me. I think I was
as a child more drawn to Copperfield being named David. (I am just so entwined
with these characters, aren’t I?) As I have grown and studied, I have learned
that the Wilkins Micawber is the 2nd most beloved comedic figure in english
literature. That intrigued me to make use of as well.
How did you
develop the story?
It seemed that in Steampunk, which has a great use of
Dirigibles, and did as well in that Space 1889 game,
no one really discussed
what would be at the core of Dirigible use when they first came about. Airships
would be used for cartography, and conquest, and what better places than these
great unclaimed spaces of the Colonial world. I thus had my setting and I knew
of the terrible troubles between the British and the Boers from my previous
years studying this at university. I began to jot notes and soon had my plot.
has such a fabulous title – how did it come about?
The first thought was to bring the names of our heroes into
play, so that all would know of the continuity
between them and their famous
grandfathers. The next part, was to tell all that here was a tale with
adventure but you would have to wonder, were our heroes the thieves, or were
they the men who apprehend the crooks. And then the whys and wherefores. I had
a large scene with Cecil Rhodes providing much of that detail, but we cut it.
tell us in two or three sentences a brief outline of the story?
It is just after the Zulu War, the troops have gone back to
England and the Boers remember how they have been oppressed by the English and
their country stolen from them (there are a lot of Diamonds in the ground in
their country but surely greed is not the reason for it.) Hoping to provoke a
war, the Boers are up a little bit of their own shenanigans. And to stop it,
our officers of the RDC and their ship The
Golden Mary, are on assignment.
in other genres too – what are you working on at the moment?
I mentioned that Steam duology of the advancement of such
power tied to the end of the medieval era, a genre I would term RenTech. I
think that if you are the country that has it, then those countries who
neighbour you would want the same, especially as they note you are
outdistancing them in your economy. This leads to wars, hardships. I put forth
that one of those neighbouring countries, after a war where they lose, is on
the cusp of anarchy. That the powers/lords have lost control and ‘the terror’
is about to take over in the cities. Lester del Rey wrote Police Your Planet,
and that is the basis for what I explore. A man who is displaced from the war
that the country lost takes up a role as an officer of the watch and as ‘the
terror’ sweeps the streets, he stands first as one man holding against the
tyranny of those who “J’accuse”
revisit any other of Dickens’ works in the future?
I would like to develop Micawber and Copperfield into a
trilogy showing the entire Scramble for Africa that
happened in our time line.
The horrors of the Congo and King Leopold II of Belgium. The Cape to Cairo
railway. I think there is plenty of fertile ground to till, as it were.
tell us about your favourite part? Why
is it your favourite?
The climactic combat scene. Of course you have to read to
the end to see it all. That, and then you can all have a nice spot of punch
courtesy of the Micawber’s secret recipe.
My current work-in-progress is a little different than usual. It's a Chick Lit, currently titled The Uncanny Life of Polly.
The heroine is called Polly and right now as I'm writing she is holidaying in Australia's Gold Coast. In particular a place called Jacob's Well.
Want to see it and know a little more? It's gorgeous!
Jacob's Well is named for its natural freshwater waterhole. Thirsty travellers have been visiting Jacobs Well since the mid 1800s.
Situated near the mouth of the Pimpama River on the edge of a pristine waterway peppered with uninhabited islands. Jacobs Well is a haven for fishermen and boat enthusiasts alike.
This quaint fishing village with lovely water views, is situated approximately halfway between the cities of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It can be found 10 minutes off the Pacific Highway after a short drive through scenic fields of sugar cane.
As the gateway to southern Moreton Bay, Jacobs Well is just a short boat ride to the Gold Coast Broadwater and the tourist Mecca of Southport. The area is an ideal launch site to access the islands and channels of the Jumpinpin area, well-known for its ideal fishing and boating conditions. Boaties will enjoy exploring the myriad of islands in the coastal channel and there are no bridges or obstacles or to spoil the fun! Fisherman will find nearby estuary waters teeming with flathead, whiting, tailor, and bream. Reel them in from the jetty or over the side of a boat.
Just five minutes up the road is a luxury resort and deep water marina offering fine dining, live entertainment, cold drinks and knock-out views over the water.
For a change of pace the Gold Coast's major theme parks are only a 15 minute drive away and the heart of bustling Gold Coast is just 30 minutes down the road.
For those of you who missed it or could not see it in your country - I am posting the youtube video for the
BBC documentary; Having A Ball.
They recreated the Netherfield Ball in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
I am amazed at the details and the nuances. A ball really was meant for getting you hitched.
It shines a whole new light on Lizzy's discomfiture when Mr Collins asked for the first two dances with her. In those days that meant Mr Collins was clearly stating his intentions - he wanted Lizzy for his wife and everyone in Merryton would have known about it!
Also as a vegetarian, the array of meat that was on offer at the dining table was astounding! However, it was indeed a true work of art which is sadly lost to us now.
Take a look - see the Netherfield Ball as those living in 1813 would have seen it upon reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the first time!
It seems that after writing and publishing ROSINGS the second in my Pride and Prejudice Continues series, that I have switched to Super-Writing-Woman mode. Don't ask me how it happened or how long I'll be like it - just know that I am writing like a woman-possessed! LOL and I'm loving every minute of it! So, what am I writing? A new novel, of course! It's something that I have had in the planning stage and as notes since last summer actually, and now since Super-Writing-Woman has taken over, I am finally getting it done. If you want to keep up with my progress then check out the progress meter on the right or visit the Coming Soon page. The working title is The Uncanny Life of Polly. Want to hear an excerpt with me reading it? Then click on the player below and enjoy! (Disclaimer: I do not and never will claim to be very good at accents. The NZ one is clipped with short vowels and is an accent I love, but I'm not sure I can faithfully reproduce it - anyway, I hope the accent isn't too bad in the excerpt) ;-) Hugs and happy listening! Karen xxx
Today it is my great pleasure to be able to interview the lovely Caroline Levy about her debut novel Welcome To The Family!
Firstly, congratulations, Caroline, on
the launch of your first novel Welcome to
It’s a fantastic sounding novel and I
can’t wait to read it.
Hi Karen. *waves* and
hello to all your lovely readers.
Thank you so much for
welcoming me over here today.
It’s an exciting time for
me, and having so many wonderful people take such an interest in Welcome to the
Family is fantastic. J
Where did the idea come from? What inspired you to write it?
Welcome to the family
started as a very short story for an assignment I was completing. The outline
was, tell us about your first day at a new job. Angela was born in this short
piece. Looking back, it was terrible lol I just can’t write short stories.
How long did it take to write?
I started Welcome to the
Family as the novel back at the end of July 2012 and I had finished the first
draft by the beginning of December 2012. So five months in total for the first
draft. Have to be honest the first couple of months I dabbled at writing it as
I never really thought I would reach my end goal. *hangs head in shame*
What was your work schedule like when
you were writing?
I work twelve hour nights
on a rota basis, to be able to pay the bills. So my writing time is as and when
I can grab five minutes. I invested in a tablet that now comes everywhere with
me. So if I have ten minutes I will be there typing away for sure J
Do you have any little writing
quirks? Is there anything that you have
to do before and while writing?
Hmm. Good question. I
am a total coffee addict so I normally have a coffee within reach. But apart
from that I have to have quiet while writing. When I edit I play music and
lately it’s been all Muse. Drove my daughter mad lol
Tell us about the research that
went into this book.
Research can be fun,
Welcome to the Family is a total work of fiction so everywhere is totally from
my characters and me J
I did get to research
hot men, was a terrible burden... but I managed to survive
Tell us about Angela, your main
character – what do you like most about her and what do you dislike about her?
Angela is a strong
minded young woman, who has grown up in a harsh world. She finds it hard to
trust anyone but at the same time longs for the familiarity of family.
I love the fact she
is independent and a little stubborn. At the moment there isn’t really much I
can say I dislike about her. I do worry
she will shut out people, for the sake of staying independent, but will have to
see what happens J
Tell us about the mysterious Jack –
what do you like most about him and what do you dislike about him?
Jack is a relatively
young vampire, at 190 he is one of the younger Topline managers. However he is
quite self-serving. He owns a restaurant along with a night-club plus strip
club that he frequents regularly. He has
a rule that he doesn’t date other vampires, so when he volunteers to help
Angela through her change, you have to wonder what’s in it for him. He is as
sexy as anything, and he can have any woman who comes onto his radar. Angela is
human when he first meets her and she intrigues him. One of his tricks is to
visit you in your dreams and yes he sneaks into hers with smouldering
Will Welcome to the family be part of a series? Can you tell us more about your plans for or
thoughts for the series?
Yes Welcome to the
Family is part of a family saga. Part two Protecting the family will be out hopefully
at the end of the year.
What are and who are The Family?
The Family are the
vampire community. However there are more than just vampires and were-animals
going bump in the night. But you will have to wait for the other members to be
Of those in The Family, who is your favourite and why?
head* that is such a difficult question to answer. I do like Archie... he is
such a mystery even to me, he keeps his secrets locked away tight.
If you could describe the book in 5
words, which would they be?
If a film was made of Welcome to the family, which actors
would you chose to play the characters?
Wow, that’s a really
hard one to answer.
Stewart, Jack- Alex Pettyfer, and last but by no
means least... Dorian- Paul Walker
How long have you wanted to be a
writer and what was the first thing you can remember writing?
I have wanted to
write in forever. I can remember being about ten and there was a competition at
school. We all had to have a go at writing a new school song. Each year had to
make up a different verse, with one being picked for each year. I was the one
picked for my year. Was very pleased with myself lol.
Where do you see yourself as a
writer in 5 years?
Still writing, I love
it. I hopefully have two more books being released this year J And it’s only onwards and upwards from there.
Is there anyone who inspires your
My hero is Laurel K
Hamilton. She writes the best puppy piles ever J
I have been very
lucky to make some very good friends, who are Authors as well. Look them up. They
are the M-7 girls. They are a very talented bunch. They have helped me no-end. They
inspire me every day <3
What projects are you working on now?
I am working on a
werewolf novel at the moment, called Nikki’s Revenge. All being well it will be
out later this summer.
finally, back to Welcome to the family, in
two sentences sell us the book.
Angela always dreamed of
the family that left her behind. Once she discovers where she belongs, will it
be a dream come true, or a nightmare with cataclysmic results?
I would just like to say, many thanks to Karen and your
followers. I hope you enjoy Welcome to the Family as much as I loved writing it
You're very welcome Caroline - It's been a pleasure chatting to you about your fantastic new book!
So, if you're like me and you now cannot wait to get your hands on Welcome To The Family you can do so at the following links...
A debut vampire novel by Caroline F Levy, it’s out
now at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Moon Rose Publishing.
Why not check out a
little more about the book below?
“Do you believe
in things that go bump in the night?”
At only a few hours old, Angela is left on the steps of St Paul’s church.
Alone in the world, the only link she has to her past is a pink blanket bearing
an emblem with two crossed swords and a snake.
A troubled childhood spent in orphanages leads to Angela
attempting to rebuild her shattered life as an adult. Meeting the priest who
found her eighteen years previously, she gets a job and a boyfriend, and
settles into her new life.
Until she meets Jack.
Drawn to her new boss, she
throws herself into work, feeling an unusual bond with people she hasn’t known
Angela becomes embroiled in
this new life, feeling a change within herself. A change which isn’t altogether
human. Within this change she finds a terrifying secret…a secret which involves
her past, her present, and definitely her future…
I was born in Chatham, Kent in
1970. I now live in Yorkshire with my daughter and our five mad cats.
My first memories of any book
would have been my mother reading The Enormous Turnip. It must have driven her
mad, as it was always our first choice when asked what we should read tonight.
I grew up with the classics;
Little Women, The Railway Children, but it would have been The House That Died
and Bluebeard that I remember wanting to read.
I can remember writing a verse
for the school song, and being chosen as a winner for what was then 3rd year
juniors. I stopped reading so much in my late teens to my mid twenties. Life
seemed to always be too busy for that pile of books I so wanted to read. It was
when I went into hospital to have my daughter, that I had time to read
again--and thankfully I haven’t stopped since.
However, it wasn’t until my
late twenties that I realised I wanted to write. I have spent a few years
trying to complete an online creative writer’s course; without much success,
but it led me to what I am writing now. So never give up if you really want to
I am very influenced by Fantasy
fiction / Horror, most of the books I read are in this genre. I have many
Authors I like to follow; Anne Rice was very influential in the beginning. I
also discovered Laurel K Hamilton and many, many more. I could go on about
different Authors I like to read. However, I will say that this year I have
also discovered there are literally, well, probably thousands of very talented
Indie Authors out there. And a very welcoming and friendly bunch they are too,
but I digress--yes, I get very excited about the subject of books!
I have finished my first novel
called Welcome To The Family, which will be published April 29th 2013. I also
have other novels in the pipeline, Nikki’s Revenge and Protecting The Family,
due out later in the year.
Anne de Bourgh, wealthy heiress daughter of the inimitable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, yearns to be set free from her luxurious prison, Rosings Park.
Her life stretches out before her, ordered and planned, but it is a life she does not want. She wants more. She wants to be free. She wants to do everything that has been forbidden her, and she wants more than anything to fall in love with whom she chooses.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh has other plans for Anne.
Will Lady Catherine have her own way as always?
Will Anne succeed?
Can she break through the barriers of wealth, rank and duty?
From the award-winning author of Charlotte ~ Pride & Prejudice Continues comes
Pride & Prejudice Continues
OUT FRIDAY 3rd MAY! Click HERE to join us at the Facebook launch event, and for your chance to win a FREE copy of ROSINGS!