Well, folks, I’d like to introduce to you the main character of my newest novel!
Meet Henry Duncan Spens Goodsir. Referred to as Harry by friends and family, he was a real person, one of the many lost on the fated Franklin Expedition.
Born in Anstruther Easter, Fife on 3 November 1819, he was just twenty-six years old when he joined the HMS Erebus crew as its assistant surgeon and naturalist. He was wicked smart. In addition to being an anatomist, naturalist, and medical practitioner, he also studied cellular theory with his brother, John, adding his findings to publication.
Harry was so intelligent and passionate about his work that he succeeded his brother as Conservator of the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Eidenburgh, a position Harry held until vanishing entirely.
Not only was he brilliant, but he was a genuine guy who lit up a room with his countless fascinations of things everyone else took for granted.
At one point on the expedition, Commander (at the time) James Fitzjames wrote before the men disappeared that while he himself “started his regular magnetic observations[,] Goodsir continued energetically ‘catching the most extraordinary animals in a net, and is in ecstasies.'”(1)
Fitzjames also wrote of Harry: “As soon as more molluscs, fish, or tiny, butterfly-shaped creatures were dredged up from the sea, the doctor hurried [to] draw and describe them.” (2)
Harry was often overcome with tremendous joy upon finding new creatures or people, and that just added to his engaging personality.
Fitzjames also wrote that Harry had a delightful laugh, and he was very well liked.
Basically, he was the goodest of sirs. 😛
So why am I so interested in Mr. Goodsir that I write a novel about him?
Well, if you’ve seen season one of AMC’s The Terror, you’ll probably remember Paul Ready’s excellent portrayal of Harry. If you haven’t, it has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, hint hint…
Anyway, I quickly took a liking to his portrayal in the show. The more I learned of Harry in my researches, the more I wanted to know more about him as a person.
What kind of person was he outside of his studies and the letters that described his character? If ice and Arctic animals fascinated him so much, how would he react to some of the modern marvels of our world if he were alive now?
To the horrors?
My creative side suddenly took over with fervor. I was, as it is referred to, ‘bitten by the Franklin bug’ already, and now that I had a plot idea, everything took off.
In my newest novel, I bring Harry Goodsir to life.
Helping me along the way is a leading authority on the Franklin Expedition as well as a surviving member of the illustrious Goodsir family. I cannot tell you how thrilling it is to be working with both of these amazing men, and I am eternally grateful for their assistance.
Together, we are capturing the kind and gentle soul of a man who did not deserve to suffer and die alone, placing him in a story line readers of A Grim Trilogy will recognize.
As always, you do not need to read any of my other works to enjoy this new novel, but boy, will it give you Easter eggs galore if you do.
I’ll be back soon with more updates on the new and long -awaited fourth installment in my Grim universe!
(1): Battersby, W. (n.d.). James Fitzjames: The Mystery Man of the Franklin Expedition. UK: The History Press, p.175.
(2): Watson, P. (2017). Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedtion. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p.35.