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June Is a Lovely Month in England to Look at Gardens - and History

Agatha Christie's brother, Monty
While thinking about a topic for this month’s post, I wondered if there was an Agatha Christie-related or 1920s event that happened in June to write about. I did a little online research – and then created my own event!

If you’re into gardens, you can find videos online of gorgeous English gardens and learn what’s blooming in June. And speaking of blooms, search results bring up the famous poem “O my Luve is like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June,” although Robert Burns is actually the national poet of Scotland, not England. Looking a bit further, I read that Burns also wrote the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” which I already knew, and that he died at the age of thirty-seven, which I did not know.

June seems to be a good month for crowning English monarchs. The coronations of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon were held in June of 1509. Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was crowned in June of 1533. Anne’s reign only lasted until 1536, but 420 years later, England celebrated the coronation of Elizabeth II, and she is considered the second-longest-reigning monarch of all time. Louis XIV beat her record, having ascended the throne at the age of four.

Since Agatha Christie’s earliest novels often refer to World War I, I looked for June events there, too. The war raged on from July of 1914 until November of 1918, and in June of 1917, the British royal family changed their name. When Queen Victoria married her Albert, he was a German prince of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Technically, that made them Mr. and Mrs. Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Germany was England’s enemy during WWI, so George V, the grandson of Albert, made the decision to drop the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha name. Instead, he took the name “Windsor” for his family.

The only Christie-related event in June I could find was the birthday of Agatha’s brother, Monty, on June 23. The second child and only son of Fred and Clara Miller, he was born in 1880, just eighteen months after his sister, Madge. Fred and Clara’s third and final child, Agatha, wouldn’t follow for another ten years, in 1890.

Fred was an American whose mother died when he was quite young. His father remarried an English woman and while there were no offspring from this union, they did raise a niece of Fred’s stepmother. In 1878, Fred and the niece, Clara, were married. They settled in Torquay, which is where both Madge and Agatha were born, but Monty was born in New Jersey during a long visit to the United States.

Monty apparently did a little of this and little of that as an adult. He was stationed in South Africa and in India during the Boer War. After seven years of service, he became a professional hunter in East Africa until he ran afoul of illegal ivory trading. During World War I, he served with the East Africa Transport Corps, rising to the rank of captain. Towards the end of the war, Monty was wounded in the arm, and it became severely infected. He never fully recovered and suffered from ill health until his death in 1929 at the age of forty-nine.

Reading about Monty, there seem to be echoes of him in some of Christie’s characters, particularly the young men who love Africa and can’t seem to settle on a career. Maybe she drew on Monty to flesh out Anthony Cade and Harry Lucas, among others.

As you see, while interesting enough, Christie-related June events are a bit scarce. That’s not why I created it, but I do have my very own Agatha Christie event this June. After many, many months, my book has finally been published! The official title is Agatha Annotated: Investigating the Books of the 1920s, with a subtitle of Obscure Terms and Historical References in the Works of Agatha Christie.

It's been a long time coming and it was a lot of work, not only for me, but for my husband, Don, as well. He’s my publisher, and a glossary like this takes a lot of effort to make it lay out nicely in both print and ebook formats. There’s also an online data base folks can subscribe to which was even more work to develop.

More details are coming for all of this, but this is a history blog, not an author blog. I’m just so excited that this book is finally a reality! I hope other history buffs like me find these details of Agatha Christie’s 1920s novels as fascinating as I do.
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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold

 

Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


 

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