Meet my main character

I’m very pleased to have been invited by Christina Courtenay to take part in a continuing series of blog posts called “Meet My Main Character”. It was started by Debra Brown, who is the Administrator of English Historical Fiction Authors, a great website for anyone interested in obscure bits of British history. Please click here for Debra’s original post.

Christina’s latest book is The Secret Kiss of Darkness, and her website is at – please go and have a look at her post about the main character of this novel which is a cracking time-slip story!

My own main character:

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or historical? My main character is called Cora Mardell, and she’s entirely fictional, although I will admit that when I wrote it, I was strongly inspired by the actress Kate Beckinsale playing a kick-ass vampire slayer in the film Van Helsing!

Hounslow Heath today (picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

Hounslow Heath today (picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

2. When and where is the story set? The story is set in 1768 around the area of Hounslow Heath as it was at the height of the highwayman era. Or rather as I imagine it must have been because there is very little left of the Heath today, with a lot of it buried underneath one of the runways to Heathrow Airport (hence the name “Heathrow”). There are also scenes from the town of Hounslow itself, which was the first coaching stop out of London on the road to fashionable Bath.

3. What should we know about her? Cora is the daughter of the labourer Ned, and they live in a small cottage in the forest outside Hounslow, alone, because Cora’s mother Sarah died years previously giving birth to a baby boy who also died. They’re extremely poor, and live a hand-to-mouth existence but do have the advantage that in the summer they can to a large degree live from what the forest provides

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life? Lately Ned has become ill, with consumption, and they cannot afford the expensive tincture which will alleviate his symptoms, although not cure him. So Cora takes matters in her own hands and turns to highway robbery.

5. What is the personal goal of the character? Cora is single-mindedly focused on keeping her father comfortable and with her for as long as possible, but when she holds up the private carriage belonging to Jack Blythe, the heir to the Earl of Lampton, she acquires another purpose: to escape capture. Not just from the magistrate’s men, whom she has skilfully outwitted at every turn so far, but to safeguard her heart…

6. What is the title? Can we read more about it? The Highwayman’s Daughter. You can read more about it here.

7. When will the book be published? The book was published in May 2014 so is available now as a paperback and ebook (all formats).

Thank you for visiting! The next Main Character blog post will be on Isabella Connor’s website (the writing partnership between Liv Thomas and Val Olteanu) on Tuesday 15th July when they will be talking about their forthcoming second novel An Irish Promise.




About henriettegyland

USA Today bestselling author, published by One More Chapter Also, a translator, cat slave, guinea pig whisperer, knitter & upcycler, and hygge lover.
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9 Responses to Meet my main character

  1. Cora is a great character and it’s interesting to find out more about her – loved the book too!

  2. bernimoonhouse1620 says:

    I loved the book too. I always like feisty heroines 🙂 It’s a real page-turner!

  3. beverleyeikli says:

    Sounds great, Sarah, and it it waiting for me on my TRB pile!

  4. Liv says:

    I have the book jostling to be next up on my Kindle. Cora sounds a fantastic character, Henri x

  5. Clare Chase says:

    I agree, Cora sounds like a really interesting character. Very much looking forward to reading the book.

  6. henrigyland says:

    Thanks for commenting. I really enjoyed writing this book, and I had such fun with Cora because despite the constraints of 18th Century society that she lives in, she’s both spirited and strong-willed, and she was a joy to create. I suspect there might be a tiny bit of myself in Cora 😉

  7. Very interesting concept. I might copy this in my own site!! Any advice is gratefully accepted!!

    • Feel free to copy! The idea is that you nominate 2 or 3 other people to follow you, who will then refer back to you on their blog the next week, and so on. A bit like a chain letter but a lot more fun!

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