I worked on this novel over a few years, in between other projects. In 2011, my husband and I visited the Arlington Court Carriage Museum. There, I asked question after question of the helpful volunteer guides and learned the difference between a landau, barouche, traveling chariot, town coach, gig, chaise, and more. How fascinating to see so many historic carriages up close and in person, to peer into the rich interiors and imagine my characters heading off on their life-changing journey.
Initially, I searched for the location for this book using Google Earth, maps, and web sites. I wanted to find a road dangerously near a cliff’s edge overlooking the sea. I finally found it—a coastal road in North Devon along the Bristol channel near the twin villages of Lynton & Lynmouth. In 2014, an old friend and I had the privilege of traveling there. We drove on a winding, breathtakingly-narrow road as far as we could, then continued on by foot, walking on a narrow carriage road hundreds of years old, searching for the perfect spot to send a carriage careening down into the water far below. Wind whipped hair in our faces, pulled hoods from our heads, and drowned out our voices. But it’s an experience I won’t soon forget! Later, we hiked along the East Lyn River (mentioned in the book) for over an hour to reach the historic Watersmeet House fishing lodge for their famous cream tea. Those scones with real Devonshire clotted cream and whortleberry jam were definitely worth the effort! I loved the area so much, that I decided to set my next novel, The Painter’s Daughter (December 2015), there as well.
Photos of Arlington Court Carriage Museum
Additional Photos from Research for Lady Maybe