‘A man at the top of his game’ – Interview

Nice piece in my hometown paper, the Eastern Daily Press, by Derek James. My mum would have loved this... Norfolk author Stephen Carver is a man at the top of his game. Some say you can’t stick your arm out in the street in Norwich without knocking over a writer. Derek James talks to one… Continue reading ‘A man at the top of his game’ – Interview

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Interview

An interview with yours truly by American author and journalist Deborah Kalb... How did you learn about W.H. Ainsworth, and at what point did you decide to write a book about him? That’s a long story. I actually came across his novel, Rookwood, as a grad student in the 90s while researching the publisher Henry… Continue reading Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb – Interview

Biography of a Crime Novelist – Review by Stephen Basdeo

Extract of a review on The Author Who Outsold Dickens by Dr Stephen Basdeo Ainsworth has always been a favourite of mine. Carver’s very readable book enabled me to get to know him a little better — so often when we read a novel we have no idea of the life of the author behind… Continue reading Biography of a Crime Novelist – Review by Stephen Basdeo

The Dance of Death: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire

Recommended reading for the self isolating, taken from my latest, The Author Who Outsold Dickens As soon as the epic serial, The Tower of London concluded at the end of 1840, its author, the flamboyant ‘Lancashire Novelist’ William Harrison Ainsworth, threw an enormous celebratory party and promptly began the next serial, Old St. Paul’s, A Tale… Continue reading The Dance of Death: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire

Man of La Manchester

It's been a long time coming, but my new biography of the 'Lancashire Novelist' William Harrison Ainsworth, The Author Who Outsold Dickens is published in hardback today from Pen & Sword Books. Here's the Prologue... On the evening of Thursday, 15 September 1881, the man they called the ‘Lancashire Novelist’ attended a mayoral banquet in his… Continue reading Man of La Manchester

G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

A new post for the G.W.M. Reynolds Society... As a child, I possessed a morbid passion for nineteenth century gothic literature. I had inherited this trait from my mother, a Catholic turned Spiritualist with a taste for true crime and horror film and fiction. My parents had me late in life and my grandparents were… Continue reading G.W.M. Reynolds & Me

The Author Who Outsold Dickens

THE AUTHOR WHO OUTSOLD DICKENS: The Life and Work of W.H. Ainsworth By Stephen Carver Published by Pen & Sword History, January 2020 Now available from Pen & Sword here William Harrison Ainsworth (1805 – 1882) is probably the most successful 19th Century writer that most people haven’t heard of. Journalist, essayist, poet and, most… Continue reading The Author Who Outsold Dickens

All the Chartists in the Land – Part Two

This really happened... In the wake of the Trafalgar Square riots, the Duke of Wellington himself, then in his seventy-ninth year, was called upon by his government to protect the nation once again. This time the Iron Duke was tasked with defending London against the dangerous radicals that were intent on marching en masse to… Continue reading All the Chartists in the Land – Part Two

All the Chartists in the Land – Part One

The million-strong People's Vote March today put me in mind of the Chartists. OK, I know that Chartism didn't end well, with the final petition discredited by the Tories (claiming the signatures were fake, the demonstration much smaller than it was, and turning out the army), but everything they were fighting for has since come… Continue reading All the Chartists in the Land – Part One

Shark Alley Rising

So this is how the big project first began, as an interior monologue that came to me quite spontaneously while I was still living in Japan, just over ten years ago. This was the voice of a soldier in the water after the Birkenhead went down on February 26, 1852, off Danger Point, a Victorian naval disaster that had fascinated me since I’d first come across the story as a student in the late-90s. It’s rough, but you can see the premise quite clearly. After writing two incomplete versions of the manuscript with the protagonist a soldier from the ranks, the first Irish, the second English, I realised he needed to be a journalist instead…