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Welcome to Tea & Tattle Podcast.

I'm your host, Miranda Mills. Join me every Tuesday for weekly discussions on culture, books, creativity and wellbeing, as well as interviews with inspiring women.

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63 | A Chat With Imogen Hermes Gowar

63 | A Chat With Imogen Hermes Gowar

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Listen to Episode 63: A Chat With Imogen Hermes Gowar

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Episode Summary

This week, I'm joined by the author Imogen Hermes Gowar, to discuss her spectacular debut novel, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. One of the most anticipated releases for this year, Imogen's book has already garnered a huge amount of interest and glowing reviews. I loved the novel and was delighted to get to chat to Imogen about how she came to write it.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is set in Georgian London and tells the spell-binding story of how a strange curiosity connects the lives of a widowed merchant (Mr Hancock) and a beautiful London courtesan (Angelica Neal).

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Having studied Archaeology, Anthropology and Art History at UEA, Imogen clearly has a passion for historical authenticity, as well as a terrific yarn. In today's interview, Imogen tells me about how her research led her to recreate some of the recipes and clothes popular in 18th Century London, and the memoirs and pamphlets she read that helped flesh out her characters and their surroundings.

 Imogen Hermes Gowar, photographed by Mandy Lee Jandrell

Imogen Hermes Gowar, photographed by Mandy Lee Jandrell

Imogen also discusses what learning more about the lives of women from the past has taught her about being a woman in the present. I had such a fascinating conversation with Imogen, and now I can't wait to visit the British Museum to see her 'mermaid' for myself!

Listen to learn more about The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and writing historical fiction.

Episode Breakdown

  • 00:25 - Miranda introduces Imogen Hermes Gowar.
  • 02:14 - What first sparked Imogen's love for history and writing.
  • 03:56 - How Imogen used the artefacts surrounding her when she worked at museums to spark ideas for stories.
  • 05:52 - The curiosity that inspired The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
  • 08:39 - Imogen reads an extract from her book.
  • 12:40 - Imogen explains how she researched Georgian London.
  • 18:39 - Some of the recipes Imogen recreated that are mentioned in her book.
  • 21:36 - How real life women from the period inspired some of the characters in The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
  • 24:32 - Imogen talks about how the Georgian era saw the start of celebrity culture as we know it now.
  • 28:04 - What learning about women in the past taught Imogen about being a women today.
  • 30:42 - Imogen's views on 'feminist' historical fiction.
  • 32:40 - What's next for Imogen.

Episode Links

Tweet Me!

click on the Twitter icon to share my favourite quote from this episode

Tweet: 'We are so much less willing to accept now that the past was a place only populated by men.' ~ @girlhermes chats about historical fiction and her marvellous novel -  #themermaidandmrshancock - on Tea & Tattle Podcast: http://bit.ly/2BERMYr

We are so much less willing to accept now that the past was a place only populated by men.

 -Imogen Hermes Gowar

Your Thoughts

Thank you so much for listening and being a part of Tea & Tattle podcast. As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so please let me know:

What did you enjoy most about this episode? Have you read The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock already, or are you keen to try it now?

Next Time...

Remember to tune in on Friday for the next instalment of Tea Reads, and next Tuesday, Sophie and I are chatting about the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai and finding your purpose in life.

Happy Listening!

TR.04 | My Life's Stem Was Cut by Helen Dunmore

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TR.03 | A Love Letter by Mark Twain

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