Three Facts about My Brandnew Novel

The brandnew novel I mentioned in the comments to my last posts? The one that I hope to get published by late spring / early summer? Let me tell you about it:

1) The heroine wears spectacles.

2) I’m a Bad Author who knowingly includes historical anachronisms in her novel: there will be wild boars. And wild boars, alas, became extinct in Great Britain during the Middle Ages. But since I like wild boars, wild boars you are going to encounter.

3) And you’re going to encounter them already in the first chapter (yes, I know, shocking), which starts like this:

Chapter 1
in which our story opens with wild boars,
highwaymen, an an early-morning stroll
up St. James’s Street

When the century was still in its teens, and on one surprisingly sunshiny day in April, there drove up to the rusty gate of Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies, on Chiswick Lane, a large battered coach, with two fat horses and a fat coachman, his face mottled with hectic red. A scrawny youth, who sat on the box beside the rotund coachman, bit his nails, tugged at his sweaty hair, and scrambled down the box as soon as the coach drew up opposite of Miss Pinkerton’s spotted brass plate. St. Cuthbert’s Academy for Young Ladies, it read with old-fashioned, un-neoclassical flourish. One corner was dented and below the letters somebody had scratched a leering face. It might have been the face of a gargoyle, or perhaps the scratcher had simply not been used to working with brass.

(Which is a parody of the beginning of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.)

4 thoughts on “Three Facts about My Brandnew Novel

  1. Laura Vivanco

    Dear Sandra,

    I am overjoyed to learn that another of your delightful works will soon be made available for the gratification and entertainment of your adoring public.

    If I may be so bold, however, I would like to make a couple of humble comments. Could you not make do with escaped domestic pigs rather than boars? The former are often large and may even give the impression of extreme ferocity.

    Also, with regards to “the coach drew up opposite of Miss Pinkerton’s spotted brass plate”, I cannot help but feel that the “of” is redundant. Lest I be accused of a lack of knowledge of Thackeray, from whom you might have derived this usage, I consulted his Vanity Fair and discovered that the equivalent phrase in his novel is “the equipage drew up opposite Miss Pinkerton’s shining brass plate”.

    Always glad to be of nit-picking service, I remain &c.


  2. Sandra Schwab

    Laura!!!! How lovely to see you here again! (I owe you an e-mail and a massive apology. I’m afraid that when 2012 turned into such a nightmare, I cut off communications with the outside world. At this point, I’m slowly getting back on track.)

    Thanks for pointing out the redundant “of” (one should have thought that I would be able to copy quotations properly – argh!).

    As to the escaped domestic pigs, I’ll have to think about that. I quite like the wild boars, I have to admit. Brings back childhood memories and everything. 🙂

  3. Laura Vivanco

    I saw your post when it went up and it explained a lot but even before that I was sure you had good reasons for not communicating so I wasn’t feeling offended. A bit worried on your behalf, because it made me wonder what was going on, but you showed up often enough on the internet that I knew you were still alive and baking.

    There was a pair of extremely famous pigs who escaped and whose story was extensively covered in the British media at the time and was subsequently turned into a BBC drama. They were known as the “Tamworth Two” and although the escape took place in 1998, I still remembered the name well enough to Google for them. Here’s a BBC article about them.

  4. Sandra Schwab

    I’m so relieved. I’ve felt so bad about being incommunicado for so long.

    Thanks for the link to the story about the Tamworth Two. What a sweet story! I think Charlie is going to chase some runaway pigs in the second novel. 🙂

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