I can't resist highlighing this fantastic post by Cara Elliot/Andrea Pickens on the inspiration Hope Tarr's behind My Lord Jack.
I love writing blogs which talk about the way ideas germinate and I'm fascinated by social history. Cara and Hope's post about the hangmen who inspired My Lord Jack is a fantastic read and highly informative, embracing the science and the superstition surrounding historic Britain's favourite public spectacle.
Here's an extract:
Neck-breaking is a science, and the best executioners such as my Jack Campbell viewed themselves as craftsmen, not torturers. As such, they took great pains and pride in bringing about the optimal “drop.” That entailed calibrating not only the victim’s weight and height but also his or her body mass. A heavy body requires a shorter drop than a light one. A former form absorbs shock and drops differently than one that’s more…squishy.
I love the fact that Hope's hero is a hangman - it breaks the mould just a tad.