Those who know me well are aware that I am a self-professed history geek with a particular passion for the Georgian era. I am also a hopeless romantic. Once upon I time I found it problematic to reconcile the two, but over time I have learned that the very best stories are often crafted by melding fact with fiction. I use Diana Gabaldon’s immensely popular Outlander series as a prime example.
As a reader, I look for an emotionally compelling story in which the author sweeps me well beyond the realm of pure romance and deep into the era itself. While I personally love to lose myself in a well-written romance, I am most gratified when a book is able to answer the cravings of both sides of my brain. I want to become truly immersed in another time and place, not only by the characters’ dress, manners, and speech, but by the atmosphere and setting. As a writer, I have always endeavored to do this by incorporating actual places, historical events, and real people into my stories. While this sometimes takes a tremendous amount of research, I feel that this dose of reality brings the story more vividly to life.
In my debut novel, The Highest Stakes, set in the Georgian horseracing world, I used many real races and even real horses, In my follow up, Fortunes Son, set in the Georgian gaming world, many historical figures appear as secondary characters. My inspiration for A Breach of Promise came after reading a popular romantic comedy by Georgian playwright, Hannah Cowley. Lydia and Marcus modeled closely after the lead characters in The Belle’s Stratagem. I also used the same play for my character Phoebe’s stage debut in my very naughty novella, A Wild Night’s Bride. Additionally, this story features an elite St. James Bawdy house where the proprietess, Charlotte Hayes hosted a lavish orgy.
The Otahetian Feast of Venus, attended by DeVere and Ned, was a very real event! For those who are curious, here’s a link to a guest blog I write about that wicked and salacious event! http://letthemreadbooks.blogspot.com/2012/05/guest-post-giveaway-wild-nights-bride.html
In Devil in the Making (free download), DeVere’s father is suffering from madness secondary to an advanced case of the pox. He also wear a false nose because his is eaten away. Ugly indeed! But syphillis was the plague of the 18th century.
In The Trouble with Sin, one of my more recent stories, my character Simon is the genius behind the very real and infamous Harris’ List of Covent Garden Ladies. Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies (published from 1757 to 1795)was a printed directory of London Prostitutes that sold about 8,000 copies annually. Each edition described in erotic prose, often in lewd detail, the physical attributes and sexual specialities of over one hundred prostitutes who worked in and around Covent Garden. Although the list is named after Jack Harris who was the head waiter at the popular Shakespear’s Head Tavern in Covent Garden, Irish poet Samuel Derrick is now credited as being the true genius behind the book.
Interestingly, even in my upcoming contemporary romances, I have stayed true to my inner geek, by taking exactly the same approach to my writing. I have made two research trips to Wyoming and Montana in order to “get it right”. I’ve talked with ranchers, rodeo contractors, a wildlife biologist, conservationists, hunting outfitters and a wild horse trainer. My upcoming cowboy series involves all of these things and centers around real life issues that I hope readers will readily relate to.
ROMANTIC PURSUIT QUESTION:
In which book of the Devil DeVere series does Simon Singleton first appear?