Petronella Blythe Merriman

a wandering soul in a steampunk world. loves to know how things work.
Petronella “Nell” Merriman is a wandering soul in a steampunk age – an outsider by nature yet somehow accepted quickly in any group she stumbles upon.

She’s a wanderer and an experimenter, an eccentric and an engineer of sorts – she’s rarely seen without her trusty image-capturing contraption, and she loves nothing more than taking things apart to see how they work and putting them back together again in different configurations. And her clockwork, steam powered vardo (caravan) is like a cross between a typewriter museum, a fortune teller’s tent and a mad scientist’s laboratory.

Her name is homage to four of my (very different) favourite books and characters – Petronella, from Petronella “Nell” Bradley in Christina Jones’ most recent book Stealing The Show; Blythe from the Sisters Blythe in Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours, plus Icarus Blythe in Nicholas Fisk’s Trillions, and Merriman from Merriman Lyon, or Merlin – a recurring and key figure in the Dark Is Rising sequence.

Nell’s the manifestation of my curiosity, my wanderlust and my insatiable desire to know how things work – a nod to being an engineer’s daughter. Her love of corsets and long flouncy skirts, and wonderful gizzets like keys and gears on everything she wears don’t hurt either!

Woodland photographs of Nell by the very lovely and very talented Grace Hill.