I’ve let this year slip by without adding any posts – I’ve spent all of 2013 working diligently on my next novel – more about that a little later – and I’m blaming this new book on why I’ve been a bit underground. My 2014 Resolution will be to keep my website updated!
At the Columbia Flower Market in East London
But in between edits I had the opportunity to spend some time in London, and as always, was inspired in many ways. As well as all the usual visits to galleries and museums and charming street markets, it was a wonderful highlight to meet my literary agents Camilla and Jemma at the Marsh Agency. Over tea and biscuits I learned the fascinating history of their premises at 50 Albermarle Street in Mayfair. This beautiful building was the meeting place for literary and political types at the beginning of the 19th century, and from here that the publisher John Murray II ran his empire. Starting in 1812, the drawing room became the venue of literary soirees, and over the years drew authors such as Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Oscar Wilde and Charles Darwin, among others . It was Murray who published Jane Austen’s Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and in the drawing room that Charles Darwin discussed drafts of On the Origin of Species. But one of the most fascinating stories came after Lord Byron’s untimely death. Murray, when handed Byron’s memoirs, decided them too scandalous to be published – fearing it would damage both Byron’s as well as his own reputation. And so he burned them in the fireplace of that elegant drawing room. What a heady experience it was to visit the building where Lord Byron’s infamous legacy was rendered into ash and soot!