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A Plymouth Story


This is how I feel when a new book hits me.  A Plymouth Story had been wandering around for some while, here and there I wrote things down but nothing had fallen into place nothing solid or tangible, just odd ideas and feelings.  Then one day from out of nowhere something nudges you or pops into your head and there it is, the story.


I have been used to characters dictating the way things should go so it was a bit of a shock when A Plymouth Story finally popped up as it had been hanging around in the background, always there but not quite ready.   Strangely enough it wasn't the boats in the marina where we went for coffee on a Sunday evening, or even the sea that was the trigger, it was this picture of the sun just coming up over the distant mountains that did it.  As I stood there watching dawn come tumbling across the valley, I remembered times when walking the dog I would stand on the beach and watch the sun rising over the horizon.  A sight that always made me think of sailing ships seeing a new day or perhaps sighting the enemy, of sailors watching the sun slowly climbing up the sky forecasting a warm day .  Little did I think as I stood there that one day it would inspire me to write a story.


I have always been interested in sailing ships and their history, perhaps it was the fact my birthday is on Trafalgar day, maybe  a bit of Nelson got me, who knows. What I do know is that my thirst for historical facts and figures, plus battles won and lost, fights, skirmishes, sneaky goings on and the personal history of those in charge has driven me to acquire a small library of books and information. Visits to museums, Portsmouth docks, the Victory and Warrior all contributed to my knowledge and writing.  My first attempt at this was the Jason Watson series. A look at the social side of life the things that were and weren't acceptable, how the rich and powerful lived and carried on treading a line that was outwardly correct but inwardly often immoral. But it was not totally what I was after.

I wanted a personal story of life aboard ship for the ordinary sailor. Most men were pressed into the service or sent from prisons. So this is where I started from no rich parents to provide money and a step on the ladder, just an ordinary man who lived and worked on land. On this basis I began to form the character  of James.


I started by imagining Plymouth in the 1700's and looking at a street It's partially cobbled road with houses facing each other almost touching. There was no street lighting and they smelt, but they all led down towards the jetty and sea wall. Horses pulling carts over straw covered streets to try deadening the noise.  Boys or men pulling hand carts along with sea chests on them on their way to an inn, people selling goods or just calling out to friends.  Into this comes a chandlers clerk, hardworking and honest, but at the beck and call of a mother who wallowed in her ill-health demanding this and that, a man with no life of his own. Watch as on his way to the apothecary for more medicine he is knocked on the head. Be there when he wakes up far out to sea onboard the Frigate Amazon. This is a story of adventure, life onboard the Amazon seems strange to this man, but James has a thirst for learning, now you have the beginning of an adventure.
A Plymouth Story is on Kindle and Kindle prime and in paperback  from Createspace

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  .