This brilliant and exciting adventure arrived and I immediately dove in! There are some fantastic characters in this story- both good and villainous!
I am so pleased to share with you a special guest post from Vivian French about why she wrote this story.
Why did I write The Runaways of Haddington Hall by Vivian French
It all started when I read a newspaper article about a lady Victorian philanthropist (someone who goes out of their way to do good) who set up a charity to help ‘impoverished girls in unfortunate circumstances’. She collected a lot of money for her charity, but most of it didn’t go to the girls; she kept it for herself, and ended up very rich indeed. I thought that was a shocking thing to do, but it was also a great idea for an evil character – Mrs Haddington!
I decided to make one of the charity girls my heroine, but I didn’t want her to be an orphan. I wanted to show that even though Minnie came from a very poor home, she had a loving mother – someone who was honest and true, unlike Mrs Haddington.
Minnie – red haired, and with a temper – learnt from her mother that she should stand up for herself and the truth, and although this begins by being a disaster, it helps her in the end.
Minnie’s friendship with Edith was important; I wanted to show up the difference between the lives of two girls of the same age – one relatively rich, one poor. (I had fun with Edith’s mother. I love writing about selfish characters!)
Enry was fun to write too. I suspect I was influenced by the Artful Dodger or Oliver Twist; I only thought of that after I’d finished the book, but I think it’s true. Maybe Enry is a bit of a mix of the two, but hopefully very much himself as well. And as for Obadiah Marpike, I was scowling all the time I was writing about him. Not because I wasn’t enjoying myself – I was! But it helps to get into character…