From first class…to second…to steerage.
I decided to find out and “Katie O’Reilly” was born. A saucy Irish maid who dreamed of going to
She wants him, too.
"Katie O’Reilly” is a romance, but I’ve strived to make it as historically accurate as possible, even down to the times of the launching of the lifeboats after the ship hits the iceberg. I learned so much about the ship, but also about the passengers. Who they were, why they were traveling on the ship, what they experienced that fateful night.
My purpose is not to repeat facts and stories…there are many wonderful books available that do that very well and we’ll discuss them…but to take you along on my journey writing “Katie O’Reilly” as we lead up to the 100th anniversary in April 2012.
The Titanic passenger list that never was…
No one really knows exactly how many passengers sailed on the maiden voyage of the Titanic on April 10, 1912. Modern historians have settled on the number 2,228 passengers, though no complete passenger list exists.
What is known are the passenger names recorded on thirty-four handwritten pages from 1912 currently stored at the National Archives in
A rare second class passenger list was sold at auction a few years for $33,900 (Christie’s auctioned off a first class passenger list in a booklet in 1998), but no one really know for sure who was on that ship.
Fascinating fodder for a novelist…so many what ifs come to mind.
What if your heroine was traveling under an alias?
Not unusual for passengers at that time to travel under an assumed name. Like Lady Duff-Gordon and her husband traveling as the “Morgans” to allegedly avoid the press; or a Frenchman who kidnapped his two children and listed himself as a Mr. “Hoffman.” We can’t forget the gambler, George Brereton, who traveled first class under the alias “George Brayton.”
We know the Titanic wasn’t filled to capacity (the ship could hold 3,547 passengers and crew). And since no official passenger list will ever be completely accurate, it was exciting for me to create a heroine named Katie O’Reilly because she could have been on the Titanic.
And no one would have ever known.
Next time: creating a backstory for Katie O’Reilly.