BackStory: Seven Questions with Daphne Milne
Author of In Whitby you may have the misfortune to be caught
What inspired you to write ‘In Whitby you may have the misfortune to be caught’?
I had been writing a piece about smoking guns and shotgun weddings. I had the thought that there could be a piece using the smoking of kippers as the basis of a piece suggesting torture and Whitby is long associated with witches.
Who are your favourite historical fiction writers and why?
Hugh Walpole but only the Herries quartet. I have elderly copies that belonged to my Grandfather, green binding with gold titles. They are about places we both loved.
How much research did you do while writing and editing this piece? Did you discover anything that surprised you?
A lot of research about the kipper smoking process. I had seen them smoked at Fortune’s in Whitby but the precise details of the process were interesting.
What is your favourite part of the writing process? Your least favourite?
Favourite part — when it’s accepted for publication. In theory I can leave it behind.
Least favourite — apart from getting started – titles, they often take longer than the rest of the piece.
What do you think is the most challenging and/or rewarding aspect of writing historical flash?
Historical accuracy destroying or undermining the story. Sounding convincing to the thoughts/habits/mores of the time but being comprehensible to contemporary readers.
How important is historical accuracy to you in your own writing?
I write Science Fiction so consistency is important, e.g there has to be a very good and explicable reason for travelling by donkey when the normal form of transportation is rocket ship or matter transference. No anachronisms.
If you could live for one year in any historical period, when and where would it be, and why?
No time prior to good dentistry.
Daphne writes short stories, flash fiction and poetry. She is currently working on a flash novella and a short story collection. Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club is published by Indigo Dreams.
Photograph of Whitby by Emily Devane.