My intent is to allow the reader to walk down the lanes of old London (before it burned to the ground in the Great Fire of 1666) and feel as if you are actually there. You can smell and touch the nuances of London. You'll know what it's like to work your way through the City and its the conflicting laws where religion played in important part of everyday life. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and then there's my French Revolution novel.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Canadian Story

Sir David Kirke

My latest WIP is about the original colonization of Ferryland, Newfoundland, Canada. As an international author, I've been honored to co-author this novel with a Canadian author. I've never considered myself an international person. I've always thought 'others who lived elsewhere 'and  out of the USA as international. Seems silly now, to think that way, but there you have it. 

My subject matter for this WIP is Sir David & Lady Kirke, a couple who married 1630 in London England and eventually emigrated to Newfoundland, Canada in 1638. They took up residence in the house built for Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore, who had bitterly complained of the French pirates and bad weather. 

I've been having fun with this story. Even though these people were real, one does not know what their personalities were like. There's an inkling here or there. Coming from a wealthy merchant family, David was restless. He obtained letters of marque from King Charles I to harry the French settlements along the St. Lawrence River. He took to heart and did everything he could to cause the French aggravation.
Kirke taking Champlain hostage

Sara is considered North America's 'first and foremost entrepreneur', so she had to be strong in body and spirit. There is no portrait of her that I can find. She bore David four sons, who were hearty enough to survive the struggles of colonizing a virgin land. 

So much is lost over time. If you don't leave for posterity a journal that shows who you are (pictures and mementos help, too), only the outrageous remains. People like the outrageous, from gossip to eagerly reading about any extreme behavior. 

David Kirke's actions showed he was fairly outrageous. He also showed deep annoyance that, after bringing French booty home to England, taking control of wondrous, half-established colonial settlements, the king reneged. He struck a deal with the devil, you might say, and before David returned to England with his ships filled with beaver pelts and other sundries, all the Kirke family's efforts were for nothing. The king forced David to return everything to France. 

Posterity does record David Kirke's annoyance. As a result of this, and while David stalled before returning what he'd gained (a period of several years), he roamed the seas, traded with the Canadian colonies. He worked to recoup some of his losses. His father's wealth which subsequently became David's plus his wife's dowry supplemented his income. His family also traded and shipped wine. In his own right, David Kirke was an entrepreneur. He was also stubborn, autocratic.
King Charles I

After King Charles I was beheaded by his own people, David fell afoul of the new government. Things he did while reigning at Newfoundland came back to haunt him. He was arrested and returned to London, while Sara minded the farm, so to speak. 

Sara stayed on at Ferryland until her death in the 1680's, producing a well run plantation where she provided salted fish in exchange for wine and other goods.  

For more fun reading on 17th century, please see this link for several more blogs. Happy Christmas!

I want thank Wikicommons, public domain and the Colony of Avalon museum for these pictures. 

The First English Conquest of Canada by Henry Kirke,
London 1908


  1. Living in Newfoundland I will have to read this

    1. OMG. When I need to, could I ask you a thousand questions? I need to visit there, but not sure that's possible.

  2. Interesting post! Canadian history is much more intriguing than we think, I think it's that Canadian inferiority complex. ;)

  3. Fascinating that you're delving into such ancient history. Then again, you are very comfortable in the 17th century :-)

    1. Ancient? Ha! I'll have you know 386 years ago means nothing in the space-time-continuum Star Trek keeps harping about. Just think how pristine the new land was back then? No pollution, over fishing (altho they certainly tried hard enough). But yes, I'm a 17th century fan. Too bad so many readers prefer Tudor, Georgian and Regency periods.

  4. Kathy, your blog is very attractive. I'll have to get with you for advice on designing mine.

  5. Katherine, your books are always a pleasure to read. This one will be especially interesting because of the link to Canada's 150th birthday celebrations.

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  7. Cant wait to read this one!! I love your venturing into Canada's history! got some Nova Scotia coming?