Whiskers in the Regency

Regency British soldiersPat here:

Most of my research tends to be of the down-the-rabbit-hole variety. I mean, who knows in advance that they’ll need to know about whiskers in the Regency? So until the topic shows up in the manuscript, I got nada. But suddenly, I had a need to know if my ex-soldier might have side whiskers… The answer is, as always, it depends.

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The Backstory as an Integral Part of a Novel

Andrea here, musing today about backstories. Now, as a fiction writer, I consider backstories an integral part of the writing process for my characters. I try to imagine basic things about them—vulnerabilities, issues from the past, surprise revelations about quirks or talents—that I can reveal to readers. It’s especially fun if the characters are part of an ongoing series, where I can slowly unpeel layers—like with an onion!—to show the hidden depths.

But in my upcoming book, THE DIAMOND OF LONDON, the idea of backstory takes a  little different twist. In this book I delve into a new genre of historical fiction and have penned a fictional biography. Yes, I know, that sounds like an oxymoron, and at first I wasn’t sure whether I felt comfortable taking it on. My publisher wanted to bring to life the stories of remarkable women in history whose achievements have been hidden for too long in the shadows of traditional historical narratives. I loved the idea so I decided to do delve into the challenge and see if I picture a way to combine fact and fiction, as I would be imagining my subject’s thoughts and feelings.

I chose Lady Hester Stanhope (above) as a possible subject. I knew a bit about her later life as one of the early 19th century’s most famous adventurer. She excavated ruins in the Levant, raised her own private army and brokered power-sharing with the warlords of the region, wore men’s clothing and rode astride . . . in other words, she said “convention be damned—I’m going to live exactly as I please!”

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Regency Tailoring

Rice_SecretsofWycliffeManor600Pat here. . .

New cover! What do you think? I’m returning to historicals but in mystery format with lots of romance, not as a pure romance. Doors close on ghosts and intimacy. <G> So far, anyway. The cover depicts the heroine first approaching a once-abandoned manor deep in rural Warwickshire, sort of. The actual location is one of the complications I’m researching. (And of course, she arrived in a carriage with accompaniment, but covers don’t allow for details.)

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A Home Fit for a Hero

Penthouse XO3D LTD  CC BY-SA 4.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa4.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Penthouse XO3D LTD Wikimedia Commons

Christina here. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary stories where the heroes are wealthy and successful, and I have noticed that they all seem to have very similar tastes when it comes to their homes. They usually live either in a penthouse apartment, with floor to ceiling windows and incredible views, or in a converted warehouse apartment, where so called “industrial chic” rules. Bare brick walls, huge spaces and cavernous ceilings, all tastefully furnished to suit a man of course.

Is this how we want or expect our heroes to live? Or is it how we believe the super-rich live and this is our impression of success in building form?

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Jane Austen’s Career

512px-Jane_Austen_(chopped)

Pat here:

The heroine of the Regency historical mystery series I’m currently scribbling is a novelist. She’s not poor, but she has expenses her income can’t meet. So I was interested in how much she might earn as a beginning writer. Of course, Jane Austen instantly came to mind.

It’s a fascinating bunny hole to dive down. Did you know writers had to pay for publication then? It didn’t necessarily have to be upfront, but one way or another, they paid for the printing. If one was well known and had an influential patron who could recommend your books so a group of people would pay in advance, one might serialize and pay as you go. Neither my heroine nor Austen were in that position.

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