Writing Sparta

© David.C.Azor - Fotolia.com


A Spartan warrior is a ferocious individual. But a phalanx of Spartan warriors is greater than the sum of its parts. ... what a terrible thing it was to fight the Spartans.

Author T.S. Chaudhry offers a new spin on Spartan history in his novel, ‘The Queen of Sparta’. As an editor, I’ve seen this novel develop through multiple drafts and have also seen Chaudhry move from indie publisher to partnering with a traditional publishing house, having signed with historical fiction imprint Top Hat Books. So, what kept him motivated to complete his 110,000 word manuscript, and how does he write such thrillingly authentic battle scenes?

Hi T.S., thanks for taking part in this blog series. Can you tell us when you first had the idea for your novel, ‘The Queen of Sparta’? 

As a teenager, I read Herodotus’ The Histories’ for my Ancient History ‘A’ Levels. After reading his account of the Persian Wars, I concluded that Herodotus did not give us the whole story. He did not tell us how the Greek resistance was organized or by whom. Leonidas dies earlier in the campaign so it was not him, and Themistocles was focused on the naval aspect of the struggle and could not have organized the whole defence. No other male candidate emerges from any historical records. The only person left was a young Spartan Queen, whose wisdom Herodotus himself acknowledges. And so for me the story of Gorgo, the Queen of Sparta, was one that had to be told.

‘The Queen of Sparta’ is 110,000 words long. How did you find the stamina to complete it? What kept you going?

Once I got started, the book was written over a period of four years with at least three major revisions. The main thing that kept me going was that I actually enjoyed writing it. I have a stressful job and writing this helped to relax me. I had a habit of spending one hour every day writing the book and this helped me stay the course. What was even more helpful was that I got a chance during my travels, both for work and pleasure, to squeeze some time to write parts of this book. The chapter on Rome was actually written in Rome; the same for the city of Byzantium, which is now called Istanbul. Parts of the novel written during long transits at airports such as Schiphol (Amsterdam), Heathrow, Dulles, and Arlanda (Stockholm) to name a very few. Some lines were written by banks of the river Cam in Cambridge, or in Harvard Yard, in the other Cambridge, at a Starbucks along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, beside a Fjord in Norway, at the foot of the Himalayas in Pakistan, in shopping malls in places as far apart as New Jersey, Dubai and Cape Town. Except for the sad part that this novel about Greece was not actually written in Greece, the journey of writing the novel is as memorable to me as the novel itself. 

Can you tell us a little about your research process? Were there any fascinating details which didn’t make it into the final draft?

A reader commented that the first draft of this novel was as something akin to a PhD thesis, and indeed two well-known scholars of Ancient History were kind enough to help with the research. So the initial version was quite academic. As the novel developed I had to shed much of the academic information in favour of plot and character development. Later, I had to further focus the novel by dropping some of the back-stories, like the story of Gorgo’s mother, and the tale of her husbands first wife. Perhaps I will get a chance later in the series to revive some of these stories.

I remember editing an early draft and feeling full of admiration for your battle scenes. Can you let us in to your secret there?

There are three things I do when preparing to write a battle scene. The first is to study the battle thoroughly, using both primary and modern sources wherever available to get a sense of what happened. The primary sources are perhaps not good in describing the battle, for most of the authors (with some notable exceptions) were not present where the action took place, but they explain the main events and their significance. A good modern source will try to fill in the blanks and give a realistic picture of might have happened. 

Next, I talk to real soldiers, modern soldiers who have experienced battle. Though technology has changed, the landscape of warfare, and, I believe, the human emotions, are much the same. So a modern warrior will tell you things that I think even an ancient warrior would find hard to disagree with, because in essence the human experiences are not too different. 

Finally, I talk to re-enactors. It is useful to get their perspective. They are (in most part) neither real warriors nor have actually been in a real battle, but they can provide interesting insights, like how difficult it is for them to wield a heavy eight-foot-long spear or how sweaty it can become when you are wearing thirty pounds of armour on a hot summer afternoon. 

For my part, I do have some first-hand experience of warfare and I know what it is like to run under fire in heavy body armour. While I do not recommend other authors to go through the same experience, I can say with certainty that the above three things are enormously helpful in creating your impression of a battle scene and making it feel authentic in your writing.


In need of a good editor? I work with writers in a wide range of genres.



Great tips, T.S.! Thanks for sharing these fascinating insights into your writing process. For anyone interested in learning more about how to write a great battle scene or simply after a brilliant read, ‘The Queen of Sparta’ is available in print and as an e-book from Amazon, Blackwells and Waterstones. 'The Queen of Sparta' also has a popular Facebook presence, where you can hear about the next books in the series. 


'The Recession Groom' - From Pitch to Publication

Hi Vani! Congratulations on the publication of your debut novel, ‘The Recession Groom’.

Can you tell us a little about your path to publication?

My path to publication was paved with several interesting milestones. It was a journey that spanned two and a half years and I have illustrated it here.


Do you still have the ‘hook’ that introduced your story to your publisher in your successful cover letter?

Yes, here it is:

The Recession Groom is a contemporary story that tracks the journey of a young IT professional from India across the period of global credit crisis and the adventures he faces to find his perfect partner. I have given my work a uniquely Indian flavour, with its underlying theme being that of arranged marriages, a concept which has long piqued the curiosity of western readers.

Can you remember when you first had the idea for your manuscript? Can you tell us about it?

I went to London in 2008 to pursue an MBA degree from Kingston University and witnessed first-hand how global recession affected the Western economies. When I read that top multinationals were declaring bankruptcies and handing pink slips to their employees, I thought about how these macro changes would affect the little world of a person from India…his/her chances of happiness…of living a wonderful life…of finding a perfect partner.

How much has real life influenced your novel writing?

My background in business journalism trained me to write in pyramid style. I wrote facts and supported them with numbers. Writing ‘fiction’ was a different ball game altogether. It required me to unlearn a lot of the old rules. By the time I finished writing the final draft of 'The Recession Groom', my imagination had completely taken over. In a way, I’m glad I made that effort.

How much consideration did you give to ensuring your book had international appeal?

I wrote my novel for a global audience and took care to explain local customs, traditions and ceremonies so people from other backgrounds can understand them. I travelled widely during this period and made friends with people from different nationalities which helped me to incorporate a wide array of characters in my story. I also chose a topic that had touched people across continents and social milieus and was aware that even though my story was about an Indian boy, it was going to strike a chord with many, no matter where they are based. 

Your main character is called ‘Parshuraman’. What do you think about names that are difficult for your reader to pronounce?

Many writers use difficult names. Cormoran strikes your tongue, Blomkvist twists it completely and Langdon is lumpy. To me, an unusual name piques the curiosity of a reader and if used properly, lasts longer in his mind compared to a Jim, John, Jack, Ria, Rahul or Dev. That was the reason I chose Parshuraman (Parshu-raman). It gave me the opportunity to build a story around his name and make it ever more intriguing. Here it is, in his own words:

My name is Parshuraman Joshi. I was named after Parshuraman, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who rose to become a great warrior of his time. My parents thought I’d be the same.

I— I’m no warrior.

I’m an IT professional. A Business Analyst.  


How long did it take you to find your publisher and how long did it take from the publisher accepting your work to publication?

I didn't wait to finish 'The Recession Groom' and started looking for publishers early on. Bad strategy, no wonder it flopped! It wasn’t until I’d completed my manuscript that I found a publisher; took me two and a half years. (I do not have a literary agent. In India, we do not need one!) Thereafter, it took me fourteen months to see 'The Recession Groom' in print.  

How did you find the motivation to complete your novel and the patience to wait for it to be published? What kept you going?

I read success stories of good authors and always thought to myself, ‘If they could do it, I could do it, too.’ I listened to their videos on youtube, watched movie adaptations of their novels, it gave me confidence and a vision for my book, ‘The Recession Groom’. Good music, amazing food, quality relationships and affirmative thoughts also helped me a lot. Your own book, Claire, '52 Dates for Writers', was also a great source of motivation. I even made bookmarks for myself after reading it! 

Any top marketing tips?

Landing a publishing deal is not the end of the story, an author is the brand ambassador for a book and must know how to market it to prospective readers. There are many options to choose from. I used Goodreads to review books and found success as a reviewer. I have my own website called vaniauthor.com and also blog for Huffington Post. I have a twitter account for promoting my book (@Vani_Author) and I’m also active on Google Plus, Youtube and Instagram. Creating an impressive profile takes time and I’d recommend that authors start early.

Can you tell us a little about the process of making a trailer for your novel?

Book trailers are a great way to reach out to readers. I prepared a concept trailer for my book using Windows Movie Maker and pitched it to a Movie Director who decided to take up the project. Alternatively, there are many websites which allow authors to prepare their own book trailers – for example, animoto.com.

Can you tell us a little about the cover design process? Is this something the publisher ran with or did you have a lot of input yourself?


I’d a rough idea about a bridegroom sitting on a horse, his face covered with festoons of beads, the way we have in North India. The creative team of Leadstart Publishing came up with a cover design and I suggested certain modifications. 


You have a great author photo! Can you tell us a little about the process of creating that?

Thanks for liking my author photo. It was a part of a professional photo shoot. The team and I searched through a pile of pictures to prepare ourselves ahead of the shoot. At the end of it, we decided that a natural look with a formal attire would suit   me best. The locations were carefully chosen and so were the accessories     and props.

How much guidance has your publisher given you in marketing your novel? Do you think you feel as responsible for marketing your work as if you’d self-published?

My publisher sent me detailed marketing information which was very helpful. There was much that I needed to do on my own like building up an online presence, setting up my website, creating a book trailer, contacting reviewers, planning the media launch etc. I look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Can you tell us a little about the publishing industry in India right now? Is it equally focussed on print and e-book publication, for example?

A recent survey of Media Habits by NOP World Culture Score Index found out that Indians are the world’s top most readers and spend about 10 hours per week reading. 


NOP World Culture Score(TM) Index Examines Global Media Habits. Available at: http://goo.gl/rD7Lxa


Most publishing houses agree that readership of fiction is increasing and people are showing a preference for e-books. This is also apparent from the popularity of literature festivals and the number of authors and readers participating in them. There are communities of reviewers and bloggers that are actively reaching out and supporting local talent. All of these are signs that the Indian publishing industry is set to grow hugely in the next few years.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I loved my characters so much that right after The Recession Groom, I started writing a sequel to it. There’s a third one in the series to wrap up Parshuraman’s story.


Need a dose of editor’s wisdom? ‘52 Dates for Writers’ offers a wealth of practical advice and exercises to help you write or revise your novel.



You can follow Vani on @Vani_Author or at www.facebook.com/Vani.Author or find her on Goodreads here: www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomVani


'The Recession Groom' is available here


The Art of Not Doing

Writer Andrew Marshall offers a calm approach to productivity in all areas of life. Here, he discusses the pathway to publication and offers meditation for writers. As he explains:

The key to being happy lies deep within the mind. By learning how to master your mind, you can lead a very full life and still be at peace within yourself. 'The Great Little Book of Happiness' lays out the foundational skills; 'Awakening Heart' focuses on the importance of love in all aspects of life, and 'The Art of Not Doing' leads the way to mental clarity and inner peace.

'The Art of Not Doing' is a very soothing title – particularly for writers who may have become way-laid. But, 3 books in, how do you keep your productivity up? What keeps you going?

Part of it is a sense of responsibility; needing to share something that can benefit others. Then there’s the element of challenge – once I begin a journey, there’s no turning back.

However, although I love writing, I’m pretty slow at it. There was a manuscript with a different title before book one and that was ditched, so I won’t count that. The first took about thirty months, the second about twenty-four and the third about twenty-two.

But I think it’s important to take your time and enjoy the process. 

It’s easy to become tense, both physically and mentally, by spending too long at the keyboard, so I’d take a break from writing at least once an hour – and make myself do that, even though I’d often much rather keep going.

Can you tell us how the idea of writing your first book came about?

Having led workshops for many years on improving life and on cultivating the personal qualities that bring people happiness and peace, the inspiration came to share those ideas and skills with a wider audience. I’d already been publishing articles, so the natural development was a book – and 'The Great Little Book of Happiness' was born. 

Your work as a meditation teacher has clearly informed your writing; have the books also supported that?

Much of my teaching work on meditation is to absolute beginners, and the books, particularly the first, provide a valuable resource for them. I’ve also found that writing has strengthened my oral teaching, both in the way I deliver it and in the response from the audience. There is, of course, an added credibility to your name once you have published, too.

Is there a meditation technique you could recommend for your fellow writers?

Your creativity comes from inside, so it’s invaluable to contact your inner quietness. An easy way is to learn to be aware of your breath. Sit quietly, close they eyes and bring your awareness to just below your navel. Observe the flow of your breath, in and out. Nothing else.  It’s great to do this for five or, even better, ten minutes. Do this every day once or twice. When you are writing, or doing any other activity for that matter, pause every so often and just notice your breath – look away from the computer screen and feel your breath for three, four or five breaths. This is a beautifully simple and easy method for introducing mindfulness into your work and also reducing stress.

Speaking of stress, what do you find hardest about self-publishing?

Marketing has been the hardest thing because it is an alien environment to me – after all, I’ve been a lifelong consumer, not a seller! It’s an enjoyable challenge, though.

And most satisfying?

There have been lots of high points, including radio interviews and even one on television, but nothing seems to beat selling the very first copy of your newly published work.

Impressive stuff. Can you tell us how the interviews came about?

Our local radio station is very approachable and they liked the mix of local writer and a subject that was of wide interest – how to be happier. After publication of the first book, I emailed the presenter and received a friendly invitation to go along. When 'Awakening Heart' came out, the same thing happened, except the presenter was so interested he decided to extend the interview to over half an hour, including having listeners phoning in. The production team couldn’t have been more helpful and used parts of the interview in another programme. 

The other interviews were some distance away and came about with help from a friend who gave me the contact details of the producers. Over the following months, I received a number of calls from different BBC radio stations (including Radio 5 Live) for my comments on various news items where happiness of the individual was an important factor.

Any top book production tips?

Having invested a fair amount of money on design, typesetting and production on the first two titles, I purchased professionally designed templates for the third. They worked well and saved me a small fortune.

You published your first book in 2008. How has your approach to the publishing process changed with each book you have written? Has the process become more efficient?

Technology and media have changed hugely since the publication of the first title. For that, I used a professional printing house and book producer, who did everything including typesetting and interior design. With the second, I used the same company for printing and binding only, using a freelance professional designer and typesetter. Later, the printers offered to convert them to ebooks. In hindsight, I would have done better to leave that for a year or two because with my current knowledge, I would have done a better job. This prompted me to ‘go it alone’ on the third title – publishing as an ebook first and then as print-on-demand using CreateSpace. As mentioned before, I bought in professional templates and also used a designer for the cover.  A professional copy-editor and proofreader such as yourself, Claire, is essential.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?

This year, I’m concentrating on a new online meditation course, www.meditationcourseonline.com and on writing a series of articles on the vital role of women in the spiritual evolution of the human race.



Need help preparing your own books for publication like Andrew? 

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To keep up with Andrew’s fascinating work you can sign up for his newsletter at www.joyousness.org.uk and read his blog at www.theartofnotdoing.com . All 3 books can be found at the publishing website www.radiantsunbooks.com  as well as through the usual sellers. 

Writing One’s Life

Fran Macilvey, writer of ‘Trapped: My Life With Cerebral Palsy’, discusses the process of publishing her memoir.











Thank you so much, Claire, for inviting me to be on your blog today. I am very honoured.

A one-sentence pitch of your work?

Lost soul moves through nightmare into fairy-tale ending.

Can you remember when you first had the idea for your manuscript? Can you tell us about it?

The idea to seriously write about my life has been with me for about fifteen years, nudging me.  At first, I dismissed it, as I did not feel I had achieved anything worth writing about. But once my daughter started school, I had time on my hands and could no longer pretend that writing was merely a hobby.  So, one cold January day I sat down at the computer…

How did you find the stamina and motivation to complete your book? What kept you going?

I was excited to have a new project to focus on, and I felt I was being carried along.  Pictures flashed through my head and I wanted to describe them.  Being “in the zone”, away from preoccupations about timetables and meals, felt liberating, though I had to find space for the writing and editing.  I would sometimes write through the night. Apart from the relief of getting stuff out of my system, I grew increasingly determined to persist because I wanted people to get to know the real me, and because I felt I had so much to prove.  

You're based in the UK but had your book accepted by a publisher in New York. What was this experience like? Do you think writers should cast their nets as far as possible?

Finding an agent was my first lucky break.  Isabel is based in the UK, but is currently working in the USA, and has a lot of contact with the US market.  By then, I was so used to sending off query letters that I sent an enquiry on a Saturday evening and forgot about it.  Isabel contacted me the following Thursday, asking to see more material, and within the week she had offered to represent me and we had signed contracts. My agent pitched my work to the US publishers, because she felt they would be a good fit for my book.  I am very lucky that they are as passionate about the book as she is; and they have always been incredibly helpful and supportive.   

Finding an agent or a publisher is often about finding the right agent at the right time, who can see an opening for a particular manuscript, so yes, I would suggest fellow new writers to cast their nets wide when making submissions.

What was the editing process like once the book had been accepted for publication?

When I sent the MS to my agent, it had already been re-written, edited and polished so often that it was as good as I think I could have made it at the time. When my commissioning editor sent back the first revised draft, I was dreading opening the file, in case she had made a lot of changes.  But there were hardly any, which was very flattering.  The only changes worth mentioning here, were the idioms. It is amazing how often we use idioms which will not survive the cultural shift.

I always made a point of dealing with edits as soon as I could, because it quickly became obvious that my commissioning editor had a lot to do, and I could best help her by not sitting on anything too long.

You recorded an audio book of your memoir – what was that experience like?

Narrating the audio book was a very tough experience, though, if I was asked to do it again, I would agree.  We can write about all sorts of indignities, yet the silence of the written word makes these easier to endure. As an amateur, with little experience of public speaking, having to articulate sorrow and anger and speak that into a microphone takes endurance to a whole new level.  And, of course, in a business setting, there are only so many times that we can halt the recording in order to deal with emotions that leap up out of no-where and sabotage the fluency of the reading.  I learned to wear lots of layers of quiet wool, to stop my teeth chattering with all the adrenalin. The engineer was truly lovely, and gave me lots of time to wait, to pause and breathe, before continuing.  That way, we could minimise interruptions.  After it was all finished, recovery took a couple of weeks.

What did you find the hardest about the road to publication?

Keeping the hope alive that one day, when the time was right, someone might understand what I was trying to convey, and that publication might result.  Publication is a miracle, one I give thanks for every day.

And the most satisfying?

Truly? The most satisfying – and humbling – aspect of being published is the realisation that, as a team, my family, my friends, my agent, my editors and my publishers, had faith in my manuscript and helped coax it into being. 

Top marketing tips?

Be flexible.  When someone who knows more than you about marketing comes along, listen to their advice and be prepared to learn from it.  Start a blog, network, and do not be afraid to experiment.  I am no techie, but I have learned that indispensable advice and friendships can be found through on-line networks. Especially as writing is essentially a solitary occupation.

What’s been the most gratifying response to your memoir?

Well, I am fortunate because so many people have made such lovely comments. For me, the best realisation has been that people who have known me, and might have had reason to object to my attitudes and revelations in the book, have been entirely supportive and generous. I have frequently been reduced to tears by the realisation that, instead of a cold shoulder or a note of disappointment, I have been encouraged, understood and loved.  More than anything, this makes me grateful for having had the courage to write about my life.

What do you know now that you wish you had known before launching your book / beginning the writing process?  

Perhaps it is best that I did not know how long it would take to get going, and how hard it would be to stay focussed.  Or how lonely it can be when you are working.  I see writing, publication and promotion as an ongoing learning process, a daily challenge.  Perhaps I wish I had known how kind people are, and how much understanding was waiting for me to reconnect with it.

How long was the process for you, from beginning the first draft to publication?

From January 2010 to March 2014. Before that, I had written another book, which undoubtedly helped with the second, so maybe the full process stretched over a period from June 2007 to March 2014.

Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?

I blog, I promote, I am often on-line. I have some shorter pieces of fiction in the pipeline as well as articles, and there is my second book, currently on option to Skyhorse Publishers. Perhaps one of my pieces of fiction will grow and become a book.  Currently I am reading and reviewing quite a lot, too. 

How did you deal with some of the sensitive issues around writing a memoir?

Of course, there were sensitive issues to consider. By sticking quite closely to the story of my own life, I tried to ensure that no-one would feel hurt by what I have written.  There are other stories, but I was always very clear - especially after your first edit, Claire - that other people’s stories were private. And so I tried to write everything from my own perspective, even when my take on the facts may not have been accurate.  I have also been as honest as I could bear to be about my own part in our family’s tribulations.  If anyone thinks I have given them a hard time, I hope that, at least when they have finished reading, they realise I have given myself an equally hard time. 

Any tips on managing a good work / life balance when you are a writer?

I am beginning to notice that refreshment is vital for fresh writing, and that we all need relaxation and peace to recharge our creative batteries. If we do our best five days a week, that is often enough. And getting to bed before midnight.


Give your own manuscript a professional polish with our editing and reader report services. 

You can find 'Trapped' or keep up with Fran's news on her website

I wanted people to get to know the real me
It is amazing how often we use idioms which will not survive the cultural shift
We can write about all sorts of indignities, yet the silence of the written word makes these easier to endure
I have been as honest as I could bear to be about my own part in our family’s tribulations

Meet YA author Katie Welsby

Katie Welsby's eerie Blaisdell Chronicles are set in Briggstow, the old name for Bristol, where reclusive teen Lucy has been having dreams of herself in another time, another world. In the present, life gets confusing when she is pursued by both the gorgeous Alex Craven and the brooding Nathan Harlow. Soon, Lucy realises she must find out the truth about her past to secure her future.

Hi Katie, thanks for taking part in this blog series, showcasing the new writers I have worked with. Could you tell us, what drew you to tell this story?

I enjoyed history in school, and often wondered what it was like living in different time periods. Of course, we have diaries and pictures, but I would like to actually be able to see, smell, and feel who our ancestors really were. Not everything is available for us, so I had to try to picture myself there, and consider what my life would have been like using historical evidence as a guide. The rest was down to imagination.

You decided to explore Lucy’s past-life in the Regency era. What attracted you to this time period in particular?

I had considered the Tudor period, as that is an age I loved studying in school. But I also loved the Romantic era, the Regency period. For that, you can blame Jane Austen! As a teenager, I read her novels, and loved all the detail. I loved their outfits in those days, the bonnets, the pelisses, and the empire waist gowns. They looked so elegant and feminine! If anyone ever invents a time machine, the Regency period would be my first stop.

Can you tell us a little about the research process?

I am fortunate to live near Bath, Somerset, where most of the town still has its Georgian origins in its buildings. I would walk around on the cobblestone streets, looking up at the old signs and try to block out the cars and imagine horse-drawn carriages instead. I also re-read Jane Austen, and watched some period dramas to help visualise my settings. In Bristol, where I am from and the location of the story, there aren’t as many buildings that are still Georgian. But with my imagery from Georgian Bath, and my own research, I installed that idea over modern-day Bristol, so underneath it’s still Bristol, but the layer on top is from the past, much like icing on a cake.

How important was the setting for your novel to you? How familiar are you with the places you describe?

I thought it would be a good idea to have the story based where I am living, as I know a lot about the area. It also made for some interesting research. The places in the story are all real, with just the names altered slightly. An example is when Viscount Avon inherits his home, Avon Court Estate, other Bristolians might be able to pick up that this is Ashton Court Estate.

Can you tell us what’s next in the series?

Well, the series will be part of a trilogy, so it won’t all be plain sailing for Lucy. In book 2, which I'm currently working on, we still see Lucy and Nathan together, but they need to work hard to maintain their relationship and remember that they love one another, despite outside conflicts. Lucy also re-encounters another face from her past. Friend or foe? We shall see…

Can you pick a short extract from your novel and tell us why it’s important to you?

“Swords equal pain, violence, even death,” I reply, ignoring his concern. “Is this what I would marry into? A man skilled only with the sword, yet not in the arts of friendship, understanding... love?”

I inch closer, passing the hilt into his hand.

“Swords do not make the man, Mr Macey.”

In this scene, Lucia has met Jonathan who’s been sparring with his trainer at the request of his father. She knows he’s unhappy with his role in life, as he tries to be the man society wants him to be. But Lucia doesn’t care what others think, and already believes him a true gentleman. She already sees who he really is and is the first to truly accept him.


Benefit from professional help in preparing your manuscript for publication. 


Thanks, Katie!  'In the Shadows' is available on Amazon here

I loved their outfits... the bonnets, the pelisses, the empire waist gowns
The places in the story are all real