I then researched the 2nd Boer War, including the records of the British Red Cross, where something caught my eye. One of the volunteer doctors (referred to as ‘civil surgeons’) was listed as ‘missing’ at the end of the conflict. Did he die? Probably, but I imagined a scenario in which he actually survived, but there was a reason why he needed to hide away, for his own safety. After various attempts that finally turned into ‘Miss Deacon investigates’, about a British woman sent to France in 1918 to investigate the behaviour of the WAACs on the Western Front and coming across the mystery of the missing doctor, which she uncovers by talking to various ‘witnesses’ of the time
After that I got into Victorian events such as the Baccarat scandal at Tranby Croft (the context for ‘Fair Play and Foul’) and the Cleveland Street scandal (‘Heiress to a Duke’). More recently I’ve gone back in time to the Regency period, post Waterloo. The inspiration for the first of these, ‘A Master of Speculation’ was the real involvement of some radical British aristocrats in helping one of Napoleon’s former marshals (Lavalette) escape from France after his wife had daringly visited him in prison the night before his execution and swapped places with him.
The real events provide the inspiration but I then play with them, ask ‘what if…?’ and create my own version and my own characters to fit in with the rest of the romantic tale.