Learning While I Write

While ‘Speaking in Silence’ is awaiting its proof reading, and while I am mapping the next book, ‘Starting with Secrets’, I thought it high time I did some more learning.

You may remember that when I started on the Larkspur Mysteries, I introduced a deaf character, Joe Tanner. To better understand him and his language, I signed up for an introduction to British Sign Language (BSL), and passed the basic course. This was useful not only for forming the character, but also for my own learning, and I learnt a little about the history of BSL, particularly that it was outlawed in Victorian times. This meant that Joe would have invented his own version of it, which he and Dalston did as they grew up in the workhouse. That was typical of what happened back then, and is the reason BSL has so many regional variations in its signs.

Introduction to the Victorian Age

That was then, this is now, and I have now signed up for a course called, ‘Introduction to the Victorian Age.’ It’s a diploma course run by the Centre of Excellence. Recently, my husband passed a Sociology diploma course with them and has now embarked on a philosophy diploma. The Centre of Excellence prices its courses at reasonable amounts, has won five worldwide business awards, and all their courses are certified or accredited. Now and then, they have promotional offers, and last week, we bought three courses for €58.00, where the original price should have been €450.00. So, not a bad deal at all. If you want to know more, head to the Centre of Excellence and have a look around. It costs nothing to investigate, and you will find all kinds of courses from Earth Sciences to Animal Care.

They have 25 different writing course that might interest you.

What am I about to learn?

My course is titled an ‘Introduction to the Victorian Age’, and you might wonder why I am doing this. Having already written 16 books in my Victorian mystery series, don’t I already know about the age? Well, yes, I know some, and I do my research, but usually on specific novel-appropriate topics. For example, I read a great deal about Jack the Ripper when writing ‘Deviant Desire’, and a lot about workhouses when writing ‘Guardians of the Poor.’ I have books on my shelf that range from The Cleaveland Street Scandal to Victorian architecture, and from the Victorian country house to slumming, but I haven’t yet read much on the early part of the era, the industrial revolution and what took place before the 1880s when my books are set. The Victorian era began when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and lasted until her death in 1901. The course I am about to embark on begins with her ascendancy to the throne, Prince Albert and his death, and moves on to look at gender, society and class.

Then there is a module about the industrial revolution and the ‘rise of the factory’, followed by one that covers the labour movement, slums, urbanisation and city improvements. I will then look at crime in Victorian times (can’t wait for that!), punishment, the Whitechapel murders gets its own section (can’t wait for that either), and there is a module about science, religion and fear. Health and medicine, the Empire, the Irish famine in the 1840s are all covered too, as are the arts and culture.

As you can see, there’s a lot in it, but I don’t have to rush. Once you’re signed up for a course, you can take as long as you want to complete it, and that means months or even years, so there’s no pressure. There are marked assessments along the way (marked by qualified tutors), but no need to sit an exam. My aim is to do the modules as and when I can, and use what I learn to further improve my historical accuracy. As I also have copywriting work and two novels in the pipeline, my time is restricted, but I will do my best and I’ll keep you informed on progress as I go.

Here’s the link again in case you want to know more about the courses. Centre of Excellence.

And what of Larkspur? I mentioned I am planning the next in the Larkspur series, and I am. Speaking in Silence should be with you early in August, but I have already drafted chapter one of the next book, ‘Starting with Secrets.’ Actually, I have been making notes on the one after that too, and I’ll be updating you every Wednesday on my Work In Progress blog. My current plan is to write a two-part story to bring the Larkspur series to an end. There will, therefore, eventually be seven books in the series, though who knows? I may write more. The next one, ‘Secrets’ starts off the two-parter, and should be followed by ‘The Larkspur Legacy’, which will be similar in design to ‘The Clearwater Inheritance.’ I’ll say no more just now, and will leave it for my Wednesday WIP blog, and turn my attention to Queen Victoria.

P.S Cover reveal for Speaking in Silence is on its way later this week!

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