Ask-A-Wench: What We’d Love to Write Someday

Susan here, with our AAW (Ask-A-Wench) feature for January, when we posed this question to ourselves:
Is there a time period or location that you’d love to write about but haven’t yet – a dream book or book setting that you’d love to try?
From ancients to aliens to mysteries, here’s what we came up with!

Pat says:  Let’s be fair, I’ve been published since 1984—forty years ago. I have averaged two and a half books a year over that period, working on 90 books, I believe. I have indulged myself by writing almost everything I’ve ever wanted to write and set it anywhere that interested me. The question I should be asked—is there anywhere or anything you haven’t written about?

And the only thing that comes to mind is my alien idea set in the jungles of South America. I’ve played at writing the story in several forms but so far, I’ve not been happy with the results. Now that I’ve actually visited Peru and Ecuador… I guess we’ll see what happens!

Nicola here. I’ve always been tempted to turn to crime. Crime writing that is. I love reading crime and thrillers and enjoy the challenge of a mystery and the satisfying way in which they can be solved. I think the only reason I’ve never given it a try is that I know nothing at all about police procedure, other than what I read in books or see on TV, and so it feels as though it would require a huge amount of research. Whilst I don’t mind doing that for my historical fiction it isn’t as appealing for another genre. So I will probably remain a keen reader of crime fiction rather than an author of it.

I’ve been lucky enough to write about several time periods that are my favourites – Regency, Tudor, 17th Century in England, but I’ve always wanted to write a book about Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, which would have to be a sweeping 17th century epic covering Scotland, Germany, Bohemia, Holland and finally England! One day, perhaps, but I’ll need to get on with it soon! The picture, by Jacques Fouquier, shows Elizabeth’s garden at Heidelberg Castle on the Rhine.

Christina says:  I’ve written about most of the periods of history that interest me already, but there’s one still missing – the Dark Ages. It’s a time that’s shrouded in mystery and there seem to be very few details about this era, at least when it comes to written evidence. However, the artefacts left behind discovered by archaeologists are fascinating and intriguing. I can never go to the British Museum without taking a quick peek at the Sutton Hoo treasures, for example. And the Staffordshire Hoard is equally tantalising. So I’m going to give some thought to setting a story during this time because – why not?

As for locations, there are still lots of possibilities for Viking stories – the Faroe Islands, Greenland, L’Anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland, as well as Dublin and Normandy, to name a few. So I have a lot to choose from, which is very exciting!  (image: Wikipedia)

Andrea says: I started my writing career after being inspired by finding a tattered Georgette Heyer Regency romance in a pile of used books . . . which led me to discover the Signet Regency line, which came out with 3 or 4 books a month. I want to try to write a Regency romance, I thought to myself, and dreamed of perhaps having Signet publish it. And lo and behold, somehow the stars aligned and I sold that first effort to Signet. The more I researched the era, the more i became fascinated by all its aspects. Yes, the drawing rooms and ballrooms were alluring, but I found there was so much more to the time period than fancy parties and country manor houses. So I’ve stayed with the Regency, moving from romance to historical mystery and historical fiction, which allow me to delve deeper into the complexies of the era. And for me there is still a wealth of material to inspire stories.

That said, I have an idea for an Edwardian series that at some point I may play with. That era fascinates me because, like the Regency, it’s a time when society was turning upside down as new ideas were challenging the traditions of the past. We’ll see!

Mary Jo here: I can’t match Pat’s 40 years as a writer, since I’m at a mere 38 years,  And I certainly can’t match her 90 books; I’m a bit over 50, I think.  (I haven’t counted lately.) But I’ve been very lucky to be able to write just about everything, and everywhere, that I’ve wanted. While the majority of my books have been set in 18th and 19th century Britain, I’ve also set books in Central Asia, India, China, the East Indies, and even one in the United States.  I’ve done contemporaries, young adult time travel, and a number of romantic fantasy stories.  I even wrote one medieval because it was the only time period in which the hero wouldn’t look like a total psycho.

But what I would love to do is have the time to write about secondary characters that intrigued me but I didn’t have time to develop.  (Basically, I have a compulsion to give happy endings to everyone I like. <G>)  There are many such characters but most compelling are the people I was grooming for stardom in my Regency paranormal The Marriage Spell. I intended that book to be the beginning of a series with my typical “family of choice” set up. But my publisher wasn’t interested and I had to find a new home and no other house was interested in continuing a series started elsewhere.  I have at least a dozen pages of emails from readers asking me when I was going to write about Ashby and Ransom and the others.  Sigh.  Hasn’t happened yet.

Full length novels take a lot of time, but I like the idea of writing novellas about these characters and a number of others–going all the way back to that single medieval. Maybe some day!

Jean-Leon Gerome, Egyptian Girl (source: Artvee)

Anne here. Back when I first started writing for publication, I wrote Regency-era historicals and one contemporary romantic comedy, but I was advised to stick to the one genre, so I did. I still have an occasional yen to write contemporary romantic comedy, but I’m also very comfortable in the Regency.

That said, I’ve enjoyed a range of locations and settings for my books. My second book was set on the Grand Tour and took in France, Switzerland and Italy. My third one started in Batavia (modern day Indonesia). I’ve had several books set partly in France and also in Spain, and one set mostly in Egypt. But several editors I’ve had weren’t very happy with my writing too many Regencies set in foreign settings — they said readers didn’t like them, and preferred Regencies set in London, Bath, or a grand country house. So I have tried to curb my desire to have my people travel — with limited success. The book I’m currently writing starts in France. <g>
But like some of the other wenches, other genres also appeal. I’m a big reader of fantasy and crime as well as romance, and I have a couple of fantasies partly written (a long time ago) but which still nag gently at me from time to time, so who knows? While stories keep popping into my brain, I’ll see where they take me.
Joan of Arc, Jules Bastien Lepage, Met Museum (wikimedia)

 

Susan here. I’ve written dozens of books set in Scotland from the 11th to the 19th centuries, and I’d continue that indefinitely; I love Scottish-set stories and accumulated knowledge makes it easy to stay there. Yet there are other locations and historical situations that would be a fun challenge to take on, if I could find the time! I took a deep dive into 11th-century Scotland when I wrote mainstream historical fiction in Lady Macbeth and Queen Hereafter, and I would love to write another deep dive in a story that centers on Joan of Arc. So much has been written about her in nonfiction and fiction, yet I’ve been playing with a story that has a different angle, a real dream book for me.

My fascination with Joan goes back to childhood. My great-grandmother was raised just a few miles from Domremy, Joan’s little village, and came to America as a young woman. The stories she told when I was a child about her life, and what she knew of Joan as a local hero and legend, have stayed with me, giving me a love of France and an appreciation for the similarities of my grandmother’s life to Joan’s in rural France. I have other dream books on the shelf, too, some partly written, some researched and drafted. I’d love to explore very early Scotland (like Christina, I would happily jump into the Dark Ages!). Another dream book, and this one would need a lot of time and effort, would be something set in ancient Egypt. I began graduate school for art history majoring in ancient cultures with a focus on Egypt. I might have stuck with it, but my professor left to marry and move to Australia. So I changed my major to my other love in history–medieval. When I began writing fiction, I knew medieval best. Though I will be taking a new direction soon–I am writing three medieval Scottish mysteries that will be released in 2025 and 2026!

7 thoughts on “Ask-A-Wench: What We’d Love to Write Someday”

  1. Late as well, I love novellas (I love novellas) that “tidy up loose ends.” Especially urchins – urchin rescued from the street, goes to the scullery/stables . . . “WHAT HAPPENS TO THE URCHIN?” I cry as I fast forward/urchin search through the rest of the book.

    “I’ve always been tempted to turn to crime.” made me chuckle.

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  2. Unfinished or dream stories that live only in ourselves provide fuel to imagination when we need it most. Although “unfinished”, they are like favorite blankets that usually live in trucks, warm and cozy, but not always needed.

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