One of the great joys of writing historical novels is the research, as I’ve banged on about at length in the past. There is a maker of automata in book 4 and at the end of February I got the chance to head up to Inverness with Ned to meet Michael and Maria Start who run the House of Automata and are experts in the field. I never know quite what I’m going to get out of a research trip, what I got out of this one is a deep desire to own a singing bird cage. Well that and a great deal to think about.
Michael and Maria’s workshop is a cabinet of wonders. Clockwork maidens fan themselves and breathe, Musicians strum harps that have disappeared, vioinists with monkey faces play for tiny bobbing dancers. I reckon there’s material for several books sitting in there. They are planning to open a museum attached to their new workshop near Findhorn. Can’t wait to see it.
You can see some of the magic on their website.