Despite the fact that I just finished a copyedit, and I’m now working through a line edit and revisions, which makes me as grouchy and irritable as a grizzly in January, I will try to rise above all that and be edifying for a change.
After Candice’s wonderful interview, someone pointed out that we sounded as if we were all Regency writers, when actually, that’s probably as far from the truth as it is possible to go and still stick to history. Not all the wenches enjoy the Regency era, and we’re not all Heyer fans, although I have a sneaking suspicion Jane Austen rates pretty high on all our lists. I’m probably middle of the road on the issue, having written some small Regencies many, many moons ago, along with a few of the larger ones. My historicals for nearly the last decade have been Georgians with a psychic twist, and I intersperse these with contemporaries.
I’m not entirely certain what causes some eras and some countries to appeal to us as writers more than others. Although I’ve written what might be called a “medieval,” I did so because I wanted to write fantasy elements and the superstition of that time period was the only way I could get away with it. I’ve always been drawn to Georgian and Regency England, but anything before or after that holds no interest for me. Perhaps I lived a prior life in that period, who knows? After 1820, I want to dive into American history, if only the American historical would make a comeback. The 1820’s through the 1880’s in the United States was a truly exciting period of time, with innovation after innovation, and the entire western expansion to play with. But I have almost no interest in the time prior to 1820 in this country. My research library reflects these tastes.
The really big question, to me, is why so many readers flock to Regency England, or to Scotland at any period. What is it about those countries and time periods that have become so popular? I could speculate that we are attracted to a country and era that was relatively peaceful and civil, but England was fighting Napoleon, and there was a great deal more peace in the period after the American Revolution and prior to 1810. As to Scotland, perhaps readers enjoy the fantasy of Scotland more than the actuality? Or are there so many Scots’ descendants proud of their history that they scarf up every book on the subject? If so, then why aren’t we equally proud of our American heritage and want to read everything on the subject?
So tell me what attracts you, as a reader, to a particular time period or country? The clothes? The history? Perceived civility or wittiness or strength and heroism? Or conversely, what makes you hate a particular period or country?
art credit (above):