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When researching his historical novels, Andrew Martin always starts with a map drawn around the time in which his story is set, in order to explore at first-hand the world he is trying to envisage. This has led him to some surprising revelations — and occasional near-mishaps.

Laura Hird speaks with Geoff Hattersley about her beginnings as a writer of bleak and gritty short stories, the real reason her first novel was written in four different voices, and how she gave her mother a literary afterlife in ‘Dear Laura’.