Friday 16 November 2018

A conversation with Historical Fiction author, Pam Lecky. #amwriting #HistoricalFiction #Victorian @pamlecky

A conversation with Historical Fiction author, Pam Lecky.

Please give a warm welcome to the fabulous, Pam Lecky. For my readers who may not be familiar with your work, would you mind telling us a little about yourself?

Thanks for inviting me on to your blog, Mary Anne. I am an Irish author of historical fiction, based in Dublin, Ireland. Although I have been writing most of my life, it was only three years ago that I took the plunge and self-published my debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance. Since then I have been on this amazing journey, getting to know the publishing world and meeting the most wonderful writers from many different genres. The icing on the cake was signing with the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency earlier this year.

It is an absolute pleasure to have you on the blog, Pam. Can you tell us what inspired you to write the The Bowes Inheritance?

The idea for Bowes had been shifting about in my head for ages and when I started to write, the story just took over. The original premise was a young woman inheriting a property and having to fight to keep it. I deliberately set it in a place and time where an Irishwoman would be at a disadvantage both socially and politically. This set up a nice bit of conflict between the two main protagonists, Louisa and Nicholas.

It had a beginning, a middle and an end (always a good thing!), but there was no flesh to its bones. I knew I wanted it to have an Irish flavour, but with a new angle. I have always been fascinated by the complex relationship between the Irish Ascendency and their British counterparts and that, and a wrangle over land, seemed a good place to start. It was only as I started to research, that the story took on a life of its own. Sub-plots popped up, often influenced by real events that I read about from old newspapers, books and on-line blogs. What started out primarily as a love story became tangled up in Irish history, Fenians and the English Lake District! The Bowes Inheritance was born.

Bowes has done very well, being awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize; and, longlisted by the Historical Novel Society.

Congratulations on your fabulous awards! Well deserved! Keeping on the subject of writing, how did you come up with your setting, and your characters?

I have always been a voracious reader of historical fiction and although I love Regency my greatest interest is the late Victorian era and early 20th century. I find these periods in history totally fascinating, so it was no surprise that the characters and settings naturally fitted into that time.

Oddly enough it was family history that led me to set the book in Cumbria (then Cumberland). I have a huge love of the sea and coastal areas but I didn’t want to set my book in Cornwall (overdone I felt). I had found a link to Carlisle while investigating some errant family members and once I took a look at the scenery (both coastal and of course the magnificent lakes), I was hooked. The setting for the inherited property is fictional, although I do use some real places as well, i.e., the fabulous Lake Buttermere, which I was lucky enough to visit in 2016.

Lake Buttermere

The characters are pure fiction, but I will admit my antagonist, Jack Campbell, is based very loosely on real life Fenians. The two main protagonists, Louisa Campbell and Nicholas Maxwell, were influenced by my love of characters created by Georgette Heyer and Elizabeth Gaskell. Their relationship begins on a sour note but gradually, as they begin to understand each other, it leads to romance.

So many authors say they found their inspiration from event that happened in this own lives. As you know, there are many books in the historical mystery/suspense genre. What three things set your story apart?

Firstly, because of my love of research, I choose to include a topic such as the Fenian dynamite campaign and make it an important element of the plot. I really wanted my book to be authentic, not purely a romance, but a comment on the times. Hopefully, the reader will come away with a feel for the struggles of poorer classes, not just the well-to-do. I feature the notorious ‘Angel Meadow’ area in Manchester, based on real life accounts. With a couple of exceptions, most of the historical events in the book are true to life, even down to actual dates.

I wanted my heroine to be strong and not reliant on a man to get her out of tight situations. Without giving away the plot, Louisa rises above many challenges to free herself from the past and overcome her foes.

Lastly, I did my best to inject humour into the book and above all, it was written to entertain and not to be taken too seriously. If I can move people to laugh and cry, I’ve done my job!

Your book sounds amazing. Could you tell us what you are currently working on?

Earlier this year I published an anthology of short stories, Past Imperfect. Most of the stories are historical, a couple are ghost stories and one is a memoir. I really enjoyed writing these stories, some which may become novels at a later date.  


Since then, I have been working on a series of late Victorian mysteries, centred on a female character, Lucy Lawrence, a widow who finds herself embroiled in the crimes of her late husband and has to outwit a London crime lord and a private investigator to find some stolen gems. The first book in the series, No Stone Unturned, is currently being promoted by my agent and is out with commissioning editors looking for a publisher.

Whilst waiting, I am working on the second book in the series, Footprints in the Sand, which is set in Egypt in 1887 and centres around the black market for Egyptian artefacts, feuding French and English Egyptologists and a murder. I’m having a ball with this book as I love everything to do with Ancient Egypt; so much so I have to keep pulling myself away from the research to get something down on paper!

The third book, as yet unnamed, will be set in Italy. This too will involve extensive research, including a trip to Lake Como (poor me - what I have to put up with for my art!!). OK, I admit it - any excuse to visit Italy! These three books will keep me out of mischief for some time.

Thanks again, Mary Anne, for hosting me today.

The Bowes Inheritance 

Historical Romantic Suspense and Mystery with a Dash of Rebellion ...

Dublin 1882: When determined but impoverished Louisa Campbell inherits a large estate in the north of England, it appears to be the answer to her prayers. Her younger sister, Eleanor, is gravely ill, and believing the country air will benefit her, they take up residence at Bowes Farm.

However, they soon realise all they have inherited is trouble. Their mysterious benefactor’s reputation leaves the young women battling to gain acceptance in polite society, especially with Nicholas Maxwell, their handsome neighbour and local magistrate.

Louisa unearths secrets from their family’s past that threaten their future and she must dig deep to find the courage to solve them before their lives are destroyed. But most importantly of all, can she trust and love the man who is surely her sworn enemy?

B.R.A.G. Medallion Award: A 'Discovered Diamond' Novel: Shortlisted for The Carousel Aware Prize 2016 Indie Award.


Alex Maxwell lifted his head from his hand and tried to focus on the player across the table. As his vision cleared, his whiskey-addled mind struggled to follow. The man’s eyes were hard and unyielding but there was the suggestion of humour there too; but at his expense. Everything about the man suggested the gentleman. He was convivial and charming, spoke with a cultivated accent and was dressed with quiet elegance. But there was just something about him that Alex didn’t trust. Until the last few hands he had shown no great skill at the cards, but Alex had noticed that as the stakes had gradually increased, so had the man’s luck.

Fumes of alcohol and tobacco were making Alex feel nauseous and his hands were slick with sweat as he picked up his cards. His eyes momentarily rested on the piece of paper in the centre of the table, where he had placed it, minutes before. It was utter folly to pledge one of his properties as a bet, but some sort of madness was driving him tonight. He looked at his cards one last time – three queens and two aces – a great hand, but was it good enough? Slowly he revealed his cards, his stomach churning, because he knew he had bluffed once too often.

From the bar came the rumble of talk and laughter, but silence dominated the cramped and darkened backroom where the men were playing.

“I believe my hand wins, my friend,” the man across the table said. He placed his cigar in an ashtray before laying the cards down on the table in a leisurely and confident manner.

Four kings.

Those around the table, who had had the good fortune to fold early, drew in a collective breath of reverence; whoever this man was, he was damn good.

Alex felt the room spin as all eyes fell on him, most full of pity, one pair brimming with derision.

“Where is this godforsaken place, anyway? I hope it’s a decent bit of land,” the stranger said, breaking into the stunned silence. He reached for the bottle of Bushmills and poured himself a glass with surprisingly steady hands; earlier in the evening he had given the impression of being quite inebriated. With an ironic twist of his mouth, he offered to refill Alex’s glass.

Alex shook his head. His tongue felt thick, dry and uncooperative. “It’s down the coast from here, three miles from Newton.” He felt his hands tremble; to lose such a fine farm in a game of chance was unconscionable. But he was an honourable man and he had willingly entered the game. His opponent had not cheated – as far as he knew.

“Never heard of it!” exclaimed the stranger. He eyed Alex shrewdly before leaning back in his chair. “I hope it is worth what you claim.”

Alex glared back at him in horror. “Who are you, sir?”

“Jack Campbell – at your service,” the man said, with a mocking nod of his head. “Perhaps we will become better acquainted now that we will be neighbours.”

Alex drew a ragged breath. Had he really just lost Bowes Farm to this man? His family would never forgive him and, most importantly, he would never forgive himself.

Pam Lecky

Pam Lecky is an Irish historical fiction author, writing crime, mystery and romance. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Society of Authors and has a particular love of the late Victorian era/early 20th Century. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; and long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award. Her short stories are available in an anthology, entitled Past Imperfect, which was published in April 2018. She is currently working on her next couple of novels, a Victorian mystery series. She has recently been signed with the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency in London.

Pam loves to hear from readers, you can find her:


  1. The excerpt of your story really drew me in,Pam,and I can't wait to read more of this. It's also set in one of my favourite locations - Cumbria. I always enjoy reading about places I've visited.

  2. Such a lovely excerpt. I must say I do like your cover!

  3. I agree, what a wonderful excerpt, Pam.

  4. Such a fabulous interview. I love the cover of your book! Very romantic.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx