I am a die-hard fan of British set historical romance, most likely a lasting trace of Jane Austen’s influence. I’ll read British Victorians and am enamored of a Highlander from any time period, as well. Lately though, I’ve been reading a surprising amount of comments, columns, and posts where readers wish there were more historical romances based in far-flung locations. As a reader, I’m certainly interested. I know what my British catnip is, the manners and the reserved nature of women and men’s interactions, especially knowing that a reserved nature isn’t always natural when it comes to romance and sex! But what of other locations? What were the mores and courting rituals in China, in Italy, in France, or the United States, to name a few?
I write American historical romances set mostly from the end of the Civil War to the turn of the century. I’m fascinated with what our ancestors faced and reaped from a bountiful landscape, the vast improvements that inventions in medicine, transportation, and manufacturing brought to everyday lives and with that, a cultural shift as an agrarian based economy began its lumbering movement to manufacturing. Women’s lives changed dramatically and opportunities outside the home were beginning to open up. While British set historicals are still the rage and will continue to be so, there is some light for the few of us that write American based historical romance. Hopefully a greater interest in our own history will be spurred by new shows such as AMC’s Turn and Mercy Street from PBS.
I recently released the last book in the Crawford Family series, which told the stories of three wealthy, young Boston women, heiresses to the Crawford Bank. These women dealt with a duplicitous mother, an influenza epidemic, and one of the great bank failures of the 1890’s. My next series begins with a novella set in 1840 in Virginia and tells the story of Beauregard and Eleanor Gentry’s marriage within days of their meeting as the result of Eleanor’s family’s deaths and her kidnapping. The novels to follow will be set post Civil War and will feature each of the five Gentry siblings, beginning with the second son, Matthew, as he wakes up drunk in the bed of a soiled dove.