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Monday, May 24, 2010

In my introductory posts for Ransome’s Honor, I went into a lot of detail on how I chose the specific settings that appear in the first volume of this trilogy. Since Ransome’s Crossing picks up right where Ransome’s Honor leaves off, in the opening few chapters, most of the settings are still the same:

The Portsmouth dockyard:

The home of Collin and Susan Yates:

The Witheringtons’ home:

And though it’s mentioned in Ransome’s Honor, we get to “see” much more of Brampton Park, home of the dowager Lady Dalrymple in Ransome’s Crossing:

After a few chapters, though, our characters set sail for Jamaica, some of them aboard Alexandra the 74-gun man o’ war commanded by William, and some aboard Audacious, a slightly smaller 64-gun ship commanded by Captain Alban Parker. We get to explore much more of the ships, as we spend so much more time on them, in Ransome’s Crossing.

There’s the main gun deck:

William’s—now William and Julia’s quarters aboard Alexandra, which include a hanging box-bed fashioned after Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson’s aboard HMS Victory pictured here. William and Julia’s bed is wider, of course.

The wardroom—the common area the lieutenants’ quarters surround.

Here’s a floor plan of the wardroom and officers’ quarters:

The wheelhouse, behind which is situated the captain’s quarters aboard Alexandra and Audacious, with the poop deck above.

The dining cabin, situated between the wheelhouse and the captain’s main, or “day”/”big” cabin.

Though William’s is not so finely furnished and does not have the painted oilcloth on the floor, and Captain Parker’s, on Audacious is even smaller (but does have the black-and-white painted floor covering), here’s Nelson’s day cabin aboard HMS Victory:

In case of battle, the bulkheads between the dining cabin and the big cabin were removable so they could get smaller guns (chasers) to the stern windows if needed.

Here’s a floor plan of how the captain’s cabins are actually laid out:

And if there’s going to be battle, there must be a sick berth:

Unfortunately, there are no images I can find of the midshipmen’s berth—known as the cockpit—which was in the bow of the ship, unlike the officers’ cabins, where were at the stern, taking full advantage of the light from the stern windows.

And then, we arrive at our destination . . . the Tierra Dulce sugar plantation.

So now you can picture these settings the way I have, for the most part.

  1. Monday, May 24, 2010 6:26 am

    This is me clapping my hands in complete happiness!! I LOVE seeing how you envision something and having pictures to refer to and remember as I’m reading the stories. It truly makes all the difference ~ and brings the story to life even more.

    Thank you!!!


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:53 pm

      I love having the pictures to refer to when I’m writing—that way I make sure I’m describing things exactly the same way every time. Especially important from book to book, but also within the same story.


  2. Monday, May 24, 2010 10:41 am

    Thanks for sharing the pics! LOVE the plantation, especially!


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 12:39 pm

      Funny thing about that . . . I had the image of the plantation clearly visualized in my head for a couple of years—a low, sprawling, white house with deep porches all the way around. It took me quite some time last night to find a place that matched it almost exactly (though I pictured it as being more of a clapboard-style house. These are images of Mount Corbett Estate in Jamaica.


  3. Monday, May 24, 2010 11:08 am

    Thanks for sharing all of these pictures! It definitely helps me see things better. Can’t wait to read this book!


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:53 pm

      I can’t wait to hold this book in my hands. With its release date next week, I keep expecting a knock on my door from the delivery guy with a couple of boxes of books!


  4. Sylvia M. permalink
    Monday, May 24, 2010 11:31 am

    I love seeing these pictures! The books come so much more alive after viewing these images. Is that a grand piano I see in the corner of the day cabin?

    Ahhh……the sugar plantation! Just beautiful! My dad’s parents were missionaries in Jamaica for about three years. Daddy was born there during a hurricane. The hospital roof blew off, so my grandma had to hold an umbrella over her new baby. The nurse decided to curl up at the end of my grandma’s bed to sleep and chickens would be running in and out of the room!


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 12:36 pm

      I believe what you’re seeing that looks like a piano is actually a desk.


  5. Jennifer Fleming permalink
    Monday, May 24, 2010 11:47 am

    Thank you so much for sharing the pictures!! I can’t wait to read these books : )


  6. Monday, May 24, 2010 1:03 pm

    You should come to Boston – I’ll take you on a tour of Old Ironsides! You would love it. The museum is great too.


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:55 pm

      I would LOVE that! I’d hoped they’d have something similar in Charleston, where I’ll be in two months for a cousin’s wedding, but, alas, the one they have on display is an aircraft carrier. ::sigh:: One of these days, I will make it to Boston, though! There’s so much there I want to see.


  7. Sylvia M. permalink
    Monday, May 24, 2010 1:04 pm

    There’s a plantation house in the movie Reap the Wild Wind starring Paulette Goddard and John Wayne. It’s in Key West though, not Jamaica. I think it’s on YT. I’ll have to go see if it’s a clapboard style house. The inside was probably done in a studio set.


    • Sylvia M. permalink
      Monday, May 24, 2010 1:57 pm

      I just went and looked at a picture of the house at a fan site. It’s probably smaller than what you were thinking.


      • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:57 pm

        That’s a cute house. But for me, Tierra Dulce was always low and sprawling—I never pictured it as a two-story house or with gables like that one. The most important thing it had to have, though, was the deep, wrap-around porch. The porch actually becomes pretty important toward the end of the book. 😉


  8. Monday, May 24, 2010 2:44 pm

    Oh Kaye,
    This is wonderful.
    What great research – and fun too, I’d say.

    I searched realty in England for the houses I used – you can get the blueprints of the houses that way. Just by doing that, it changed one of the plotlines of my story because I discovered…subterranean passageways leading from the house. Woohooo! Great fun.

    Thanks for sharing,



    • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:59 pm

      I can get so caught up in doing this kind of image research that it takes time away from other work I should be doing (like the editing I get paid for or actually writing the story). But the right images can generate so many ideas, it’s worth the time.


  9. Audry permalink
    Monday, May 24, 2010 3:37 pm

    It’s really amazing to me how much they managed to fit on ships (and still do today for that matter) the photos really help with that part in particular since it’s so foreign to me.


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:05 pm

      Pretty much everywhere but the captain’s quarters on a ship like this were very tight quarters. Sailors and petty officers (those with the title “Master,” such as the Sailing Master or the Master Carpenter) were issued a hammock that was 6 feet long by 3 feet wide. According to one of my main research books, Patrick O’Brian’s Navy, “Able-bodied and ordinary seamen, landmen, and boys were allowed a space 14 inches wide, although efforts were made to ease the strain by placing men on opposite watches in adjacent berths” (i.e., every other space). “For petty officers, one of the perks of promotion was that they were given outer berths and allowed 28 inches a piece.”


  10. Kav permalink
    Monday, May 24, 2010 4:48 pm

    I’m impressed with your research…and appalled at the close quarters which are certainly going to make Ransome’s Crossing intriguing! Charlotte captured my interest in Ransome’s Honor and I can’t wait to read her story.


    • Monday, May 24, 2010 4:52 pm

      Thanks, Kav. I’ve said it before—it wasn’t until Charlotte burst onto the scene and demanded a POV in Ransome’s Honor that the entire storyline of the trilogy fell into place. But everything that went into researching the setting, as well as writing a battle scene, really had me cowed when writing RC—until deadline came upon me and made me break through those inhibitions and start paying attention to the movie playing in my head and stop listening to my self-doubt and fears that I’d never be able to get it written the way I envisioned it happening.


  11. Monday, May 24, 2010 6:04 pm

    Great settings! We watched a bit of Master & Commander yesterday. I can’t watch that movie now without thinking of your Ransome books!

    I’ve been known to spend a bit too much time tracking down visual references too, but agree they can go a long way in helping to bring them to life on the page.


  12. Traci Myers permalink
    Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:33 pm

    I have always wished that I grew up in an earlier time period, but I have to admit that I like my sweat pants and my private bathrooms too much. I would not have known any different then and it would have been nice to grow up when things were so different.


  13. Kim permalink
    Wednesday, September 7, 2011 4:42 pm

    I am re-reading the Ransome Trilogy right now and am in Ransome’s Crossing. I’m out at sea and realized that I needed a visual idea of what Julia and Williams’ accomadations are like, so I start googling images of a navy ship built during that time period. And what do I come upon? Your website with these pictures! I should have just looked here first! Thanks, this was so helpful!!! My husband looked at me last night and said “are you reading that book again?” I believe it is my third time through now! 🙂



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