Hi, Jo here, late for my blog date! Part of my excuse is — you guessed it, lost in research. I've been lost in the delights of reading newspapers.
I set my books precisely in time, in part because there's a sequence but also because it roots me in reality. I need to run a calendar of my books anyway, if only to see the time of the week. There has to be a Sunday now and then, which will mean church. Attending church can be a mention, but sometimes it's a good occasion for people to meet their community.
I've been reading the papers on line for early December 1817. My local library had electronic access. Yours may well, too. I can read The Times, The Morning Chronicle, and the London Gazette along with many others.
I was looking for particularly fun London activities but I haven't found much, probably because this is still shortly after the tragic death of Princess Charlotte on the 6th of November and the whole country is still in mourning. However, the London theaters were open, and I could see what was on, which was good because I wanted my characters to go to the theater.
I sent my characters to Covent Garden. What was playing on Saturday, the 6th of December? A farce called Husbands and Wives, in which a couple of rascals take on other men's identities to escape pursuit, with the collusion of their wives. Score! Some elements feed in nicely as subtext to my plot.
I was also looking for news of the royal dukes, the sons of George III other than the Regent. Slim pickings, but I found some. The Regent at this point is permanently at the Pavilion in Brighton, huddled in grief over the death of his daughter. His grief is understandable, but there's a succession crisis and a load of other stuff he should be doing. My plot is connected to this, with a fictional attempt on the lives of some of the royal dukes — Clarence, Kent, and Sussex.
Browsing the Court Circular, what do I find? The Regent surprised everyone by turning up at his London residence,Carlton House, at 9pm, two days after my invented incident. Score! Of course he would hurtle up to deal with that, and my hero, now Lord Dauntry, is summoned to the presence. The Regent stays only two nights and returns to Brighton, but he hold a court and a meeting with his Privvy Council. Of course. To discuss this new crisis.
A less dramatic discovery, but when visiting Canterbury Cathedral on some recent travels, (which I intended to write about in this blog) I saw a memorial plaque that synced with my book in a less direct way. My heroine is a widow, and her husband was badly wounded at an early battle in the Peninsular War at Roleia. (Sometimes called Rolica.) Though sometimes cast heroically, the battle didn't go well largely because of an impetuous charge by the 9th and 29th foot in which most of the men in the 29th died.
Apologies for this blog being late, but I hope you find it interesting. Do you find an interweaving with real events interesting or distracting? Do you ever read old newspapers on line?