Hornblower’s Historical Shipmates

Am delighted to be featuring this book and its authors over the next week. Have known them both since before any of us were published and have to say they are jolly good eggs even if they support the wrong rugby teams!

So, gals what inspired you to start writing? 

Heather: I have always written- on the walls of my room at age 3,- which was sort of ‘pretend writing’- and then in exercise books and diaries. Ever since  I can remember words , in poetry particularly,  but almost in any category, have fascinated me.

Lorna: That’s a good question, I guess I’ve always written in some form or an other.  I’ve written all kinds of things in my time; academic books and papers, technical standards, reports, fiction, blog posts, personal writing.  I usually have several different pieces of writing on the go at any one time.

What inspired this book?

Heather: Some reasons not unrelated to Lorna’s  I will admit to – that Horatio Hornblower and Archie Kennedy and all were highly decorative is a great incentive. Above all though,  the character and life of the historical Edward Pellew. It seems  he has the habit of making friends  and influencing people still – even more than 180 years after his death!

Lorna: Yes, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being drawn to the fictional characters in the first instance.  However that love of the Indefatigable’s fictional young gentlemen very quickly evolved into a fascination with their historical counterparts and once we started uncovering the extraordinary details of their lives there was no turning back.

What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?

Heather: I have written for publication before, though  in journals and other work – related projects rather than books ,but never felt so protective of any of it as I did about  this one – it was a long time in fledging and a huge amount of research but  it has finally found its wings !

Lorna: Like Heather, I’ve already published books and papers on a wide range of topics but there’s no denying that this one was special.  We both felt very strongly that we had a responsibility to tell the story of these men, who would otherwise have been forgotten by history. It’s been a huge amount of work, but also a real pleasure and a privilege to write this book.

If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of Pellew’s midshipmen to save you, which would it be and why?

Heather: Oh, you are going  to ask us to chose between the boys? They almost of them would be brave and efficient but at a pinch I would choose Nick Pateshall- in a way he has rescued us already because  his marvellously large archive has given us so much evidence. He was a highly competent sailor  and knew what it was to take part in rescue – and he looked good in uniform too!  Though if Sir Edward  himself were about ….

Lorna: You can’t really ask us to choose! It’s so tough to pick just one because they were all so brave and courageous in their own way.  I think if I had to select one though it would be Will Kempthorne for his unshakable loyalty, his tenacity in the face of prejudice and misfortune and his undoubted courage.

Hornblower’s Historical Shipmates



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