Gwen Tuinman




Steamship Travel in Early Canada

Since childhood, I’ve been interested in the “olden days” and how people lived. As a historical fiction author, I take delight in curating facts and impressions about people’s daily lives and how the times in which they lived impacted them. You can imagine the extensive research required to construct a believable world within a novel. For history lovers, this aspect of writing is pleasurable work.

This being said, I’ve been learning about steamship travel in Canada in the 1800s and early 1900s. What might my characters encounter aboard such ships? I’d imagined grunge and simplicity at every turn.

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On Diaries: Now and Then

My earliest diary memory is the sort popular on the birthday party circuit of my childhood. I never received one as a gift, but I remember looking with envy at those pink puffy covered diaries and their zippered closures. Little girls I knew flashed their miniature padlocks and keys like symbols of their importance.

I attempted a diary on looseleaf paper when I was young. But at the ripe old age of 11, my life was uneventful. My thoughts were all I owned and even then, I felt the risk of committing them to paper.

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Women Grieving: Victorian and Edwardian Mourning Rules

I’ve been researching death and grieving in the early 1900s to inform the novel I’m currently writing. Death was no stranger. An article published by Berkley University, tells that just years earlier in 1830s London, England, life expectancy of middle to upper class males was 45 years. Tradesmen generally lived until 25 years, and labourers until 22 years. In working class families, 57% of children died by the age of five. With the prevalence of deaths, rituals shaped by grief helped mourners to cope with their losses.

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