I just love steam trains. My first journey on one of these Leviathans was at the age of 5 from Peterborough to Dover to stay with my grandmother. Just Mum and me. We shared a double bed at Gran’s in a room that looked over the main Dover to Victoria line. I remember quite clearly sitting up in bed watching the trains and wondering about the people who travelled on them, making up little stories for Mum who did her best to listen while still half asleep.
We moved to a different house when I was 6 and, joy of joys, there was a railway at the bottom of the garden. Not as busy as the Dover/London one, and few passenger trains. Freight was the business of the day from the midlands, past our garden, then through to Wisbech and into Norfolk. I used to go into the garden to watch them chug past. And make up adventure stories, which I now realise were based upon Enid Blyton Secret Seven/Famous Five books, where a group of children, including me, of course (and the dog!), solved mysteries around the trains. So, trains played a big part in my early creative writer urge. And, not surprisingly, I have always wanted to go on the Orient Express.
Somehow, the impersonal trains we have on the rails these days don’t have the magic. That is why I regularly visit the National Rail Museum in York to gaze at the enormous Chinese steam engine, stroke the still-gorgeous Mallard and stare into the Victorian and Edwardian royal carriages. And dream a little. I am sure that, in the fullness of time, I will write a historical crime with the railways playing a major role.
The last time I travelled by steam was the autumn of 2016 and the North Yorkshire Steam railway, from Pickering to Whitby and back. And it was on that journey that the story I submitted to the Yorkshire Wolds Railway competition was born. All my fiction is based on crime. I tried to write a romance once but it didn’t take on any kind of life until a murderous smuggling gang became involved. But I digress. Back to the plot.
I didn’t win the competition but my story was accepted for inclusion into the anthology Dreaming of Steam. Smokescreen takes place in the early 1930s and involves skulduggery on the Yorkshire Wolds railway. I’ve read the other stories and enjoyed them immensely. You can find Dreaming of Steam on Amazon here: http://myBook.to/DreamingofSteam or direct from the publisher’s website here: https://www.fantasticbooksstore.com/dreaming-of-steam-306.html
You can find out more about April Taylor here: