A Story That Should Never Have Happened…

Around this time last year, I wrote a short story about the day the Mary Rose sank back in 1545, told through the eyes of a young lady-in-waiting to the wife of the Vice-Admiral. I worked as a volunteer tour guide and shop assistant at the Mary Rose Museum in the summer of 2013, before I left Hampshire for university. That summer, although exhausting, was the best summer of my life, and I often long to be back wandering through the galleries, long kirtle swishing with the movement of my footsteps…

But, enough of me being poetic or wistful for what has been. Here is the story, published on the museum blog, for Museum Week’s Inspiration Day. I hope you enjoy!


What a Day!

I’m a writer. I also love reading, hence the massive collection of books that I have to go through and clear out so I can have a university room that isn’t full off books to the point of being dangerous…

Anyway, got into work, and one of my colleagues brought a box full of books, Heartstone by CJ Sansom. I grabbed the craft knife ready to cut the box open to stack the shelves, when I was stopped by my front of house manager, who informed me, in a matter of fact way that the author himself was coming in that afternoon to sign them, ready to be sold on.

CJ Sansom has written a series of books starring a Tudor lawyer turned detective solving mysteries during the reign of Henry VIII. He wrote Heartstone, his fifth in 2010 and set it in Portsmouth, and he involves that fateful day in 1545 when the Mary Rose sank. So he collaborated with the museum trust to make sure that the book was historically accurate with the events that took place. And he has been involved with the trust ever since.

I did get the first book of the Shardlake series on my Kindle, but I loathe reading off a screen, so have ordered the other four books second hand from Amazon so I can catch up.

That said, when I heard he was coming, I immediately designed to hopefully get a signed copy of the book. Thank heavens we stock it in our beloved gift shop!

So, I bought the book. It was the most random transaction in the universe, as I had to sort out my payment whilst serving a customer at the same time (who said us aspies can’t multitask!).

And, as I put my wallet away, who should arrive with the head of the trust but CJ Sansom himself! Boy was I startstruck! He was about to get a personal VIP tour of the museum, but he spotted me staring at him, mouth open, and saw the book in my hand. Despite having to go off on his tour, he asked me if I wanted him to sign it for me, who he would sign it to, and even asked me to remind him of the date. I had wanted a photograph of us, but he did have to rush off.

Never mind, writers always rush to and from places. It’s what they do. It was just rather wonderful that he took a moment out of his day to do a young volunteer a rather special favour. It’s what I want to be like when I am a writer.

I can’t wait to read the series, and write a review for each novel.

In the mean time, it looks like a lot of pacing around is expected!

My Cameo Role


Just saw the dockyard’s version of the opening ceremony of the Mary Rose Museum, and had the lovely surprise that I am in it, twice!

I’m the one in a brown kirtle with white sleeves and coif walking behind the Tudor musicians and shooting at the archery range.

I thought I would share this with you so you can get a bit of an insight to what I do.