I grew up in Bristol, fascinated as a child by the history of the city and, as I grew older, its role in the slave trade. My grandmother was a domestic servant, and I was intrigued by that too, especially the secrets servants are privy to. I’ve always loved Defoe’s bold, driven, scheming heroines, Moll Flanders and Roxana, and it felt natural to write my story in the voice of an eighteenth-century servant girl. I found it easy to imagine the kinds of violence and deceit she might observe, half-invisible as she went about her daily work.
With my novel A Pair of Sharp Eyes (Hookline Books, 2019) I wanted to write a page-turner – that was the challenge I set myself. But I wanted to create a world too, and in the slave port of Bristol I found just the place for a murder mystery: a complex, bustling, cutthroat world where rich and poor lived cheek by jowl and merchants like the one who employs my heroine, Coronation, were at the heart of a web whose dark connections reached right round the world.
My website: www.katarmstrongwriter.com