Novelist takes firsthand approach to research
HAMMONTON - It takes a lot of hard work and research to write a historical fiction novel but as Mary Ann Trail showed on Thursday evening at Stockton University Kramer Hall, it can be a lot of fun too.
Trail, a former academic librarian at Stockton University, gave a presentation on how she went about researching historical facts about early 19th century England for her book “Uniting Enemies”. The novel, set in 1801, is about a young English woman named Marion Cox who gets caught in the middle of the highly contentious unification of Britain and Ireland, and the love of two men. The novel also deals a little bit with the beginnings of the British secret service.
“This is my first novel. It is a story I have been working on for a while,” said Trail. Yet, there were still some things she needed to clear up to make her novel as accurate as possible. One of her biggest questions: How far can a horse travel in a day?
It was then that one of her colleague’s recommended a book called “Paterson’s Roads”, a travel guide of sorts from 1808 that describes the distances between different towns in England.
Trail also took a few trips to England to get a better sense of the country and people.
“I was trying to deal with what it was like without electronics,” said Trail, who found that there were some things in England that were the same now as they were in 1801.
Trail admits that she took some liberties with her novel in order to make it more understandable to modern day readers, after all “It is a novel, not a dissertation or textbook” she said.
Trail plans on making this into a three-part series, in fact she has already begun to write the other two novels, with the second novel taking place in Dublin and the third as more of a chase across England.
If you are interested in learning more about Mary Ann Trail or her novel, “Uniting Enemies”, please visit her website at www.maryanntrail.com