When Minor Characters Come to Life . . .

SussexAndrea here, musing today on minor characters in a story, and how they can surprise you. Take, for example, my just-released mystery, Murder at Kensington Palace. In doing research for the book, I had come across a paragraph or two that mentioned scientific soirees were occasionally held at Kensington Palace during the Regency because King George III’s sixth son (and ninth child), Prince Augustus Frederick, lived in one of the state apartments and was very interested in science.

Prince_Augustus_in_1782Aha! I think—it’s the perfect place for my opening scene! So, I make a note of it, doubly happy because I now have a great title for the book. When it comes down to writing the scene, I shuffle through all my notes and photos from my visit to the palace, as well as research I’ve done on the real-life scientific scholars who might have attended, as I have fun putting a few small cameos of actual people interacting with my fictional characters. And course, I remind myself to made a very brief mention of Prince Augustus Frederick—or the Duke of Sussex, the title he was granted by his father in 1801.

Naturally, I imagine this will only take a minute down rabbit hole. I only intend to have him walk by, and then have a few other people comment on some of his habits to make him a little individuality . . . However, I ended up being really surprised by what an interesting man he was. I had always thought of George III’s sons as a rather undistinguished lot (if not downright dislikable fellows.) And for me, Augustus Frederick was sort of lost in the shuffle of the 15 children.


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A Royal Romp Through Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Andrea/Cara here
, And as you might have guessed from my last post, I’ve recently been in a palace state of mind. (A reseach trip to England will have that effect on you!) Today we’re journeying from the outskirts of Oxford into the heart of London to take a look a Kensington Palace, which figures prominently in the opening scene of my next Wrexford and Sloane mystery. In fact, the title is MURDER AT KENSINGTON PALACE! (tentative release date—September 24, 2019) So of course I had to do a thorough walk-through of the rooms and gardens!

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History and Fashion at Kensington Palace

At KPNicola here, with a “what I did last weekend” sort of a blog about my recent trip to the absolutely charming Kensington Palace. The Palace is small – by royal standards -and feels cosy and intimate, and the current exhibitions illustrate life there during the late Stuart and Georgian eras. There’s also a lovely exhibition about the family life of Queen Victoria and last but not least, a fashion exhibition with gorgeous gowns that were worn by the current Queen, her sister Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales.

But to start at the beginning…

In 1689, when William and Mary came to the English throne as joint rulers, they were looking for somewhere private to live outside London because William, who suffered severely from asthma, needed to escape the polluted air of the city. They chose Nottingham House in the village of Kensington, and transformed it into a palace. Nowadays Kensington Palace is in central London, adjoining Hyde Park, and is the official London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (and Prince George!)

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