Revisiting ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ as a I prepare for a relaunch, I have been considering the balance between historical terms and the comfort of readers. The format for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ is Jack Hobbs as narrator writing in the early 20th century of his adventures as servant-companion to Emily Darkwood in the last quarter of the Victorian era. I had always intended it to read as though it had been written of its time, but mindful that as Darkwood was not a woman of her time in outlook and attitude Hobbs would have been similarly influenced.
To get the historical feel for the world Darkwood and Hobbs are in, I mined old expressions, ways of talking, word structures, and terms of the time. Reading through my old works I have come to decide against this to try an improve the appeal. I have also found myself uncomfortable with my few uses of outdated labels for race, and the editor of a current project highlighted a character’s derogatory reference to race and its associated religion. In light of everything that’s going on in the world at the moment around gender, sex, sexuality and race with the associated prejudice, oppression and discrimination these labels feel even more discomfiting.Continue reading