Why We Write What We Write

19087327.thbSusan here, and today the Wenches answer a question we asked ourselves. We're all historical fiction writers, with plenty of variation — Regency, Georgian, Victorian, Tudor, medieval, romance, mainstream, fantasy, paranormal, mystery — more than one of us has dabbled in writing contemporary settings too.  

So we got to talking, as we do, and the question came up —

Why do we write historicals? Some of us write contemporary too. Why or why not, and what's the difference?

Patricia Rice

Rice-CyberGenius-FB Rice_FormidableLordQuentin_276x414I write anything that strikes my interest. I started in historical romance because those were the books I knew and loved, and because history fascinates me. I’d spent years researching English history simply to better understand the English literature I was reading. And since I lived in an area with a wealth of history, writing about that area gave me permission to waste more time digging through old books and visiting historical sites. I adored—and still adore—being able to combine work and play.

But there are some stories that simply don’t fit easily into a historical perspective. I wanted to address current issues, current situations, and to do that, I started scribbling on my contemporary romantic mysteries. Again, I got to explore Santa Lucia and California and other wonderful areas to research my stories. Writing about mental health or the environment or computer hacking just doesn’t fit into historicals!

And then, of course, there are the paranormals…  but I digress. It happens—a lot.

Cara Elliott/Andrea Pickens:

Cara_scandalouslyThe great children’s author/illustrator Maurice Sendak was once asked why he wrote what he did. His answer (I am taking artistic license and paraphrasing) was, “I would love to write the Great American Novel, but when I sit down to tell the story in my head, it comes out as a pig talking to a dog who has just swallowed a mop.” I feel a little like Sendak—my stories just seem to take shape as historicals. I’ve always loved the history, and find it fascinating to explore a time period in the past and learn about all its nuances. I think one of the things I find appealing about historicals is that even when you have collected a lot of research facts, you have to use your imagination to piece them all together. (I tend to have a very vivid imagination.) 

I haven’t yet written a contemporary. (Well, actually I have, a long time ago, but it’s one of those “Back-Of-The-Desk-Drawer” manuscripts that will remain buried under stray chewing gum warppers and paper clips.) Which doesn’t mean I won’t. In fact, I’m currently noodling on an idea that involves a contemporary setting. It’s early yet, and I’m still not sure whether the Muse and I are on the same page. But it’s fun to try something new, even if it ends up in the desk 

Diabolical%20Baron--OriginalMary Jo Putney:

Why do I write historicals?  Because I read them, of course!  I read a lot of other things as well, including non-fiction history, but I was addicted to Georgette Heyer and chomped through all the modern Regencies at the library when I discovered them.  So when I bought my first computer and decided to see if I could write a book, what came out was a Regency. 

 The Muse has wandered into contemporary and fantasy over the years, but I always come back to historicals.  I love the way stories can be over the top and characters larger than life, and history provides such nice conflicts.  In other words, historicals are fun!

 


Jo Beverley:

Vnawfinal (1)I write historicals largely because it's what I mostly read, and have all my life. The exceptions are fantasy and science fiction, which are mostly not "now", and mysteries, where I'm fine with contemporary for some reason. I do read contemporary romance, and I'm liking the New Adult style, but I'm not even slightly tempted to try to write like a today's twenty-something! Even as a child I was drawn to anything historical. My very first effort was a medieval romance, and when I settled to the matter more seriously fifteen or so years later, I happily followed Georgette Heyer into the Regency, though I was always determined to do my own research and come up with my own take. A degree in British history helped. As Regency has always been popular, that was a happy choice.

In the mid-eighties, as I set to learning the craft, I was in a romance writing group where everyone else was writing contemporary, so I tried my hand at that and  quickly found that it wasn't my genre. One problem is that in contemporary I lean quickly to realism and social issues, which is fine, but not the entertaining fiction I like to write. Another is that I have a more historical voice. A third is that my "now" is rather complicated. I was born and raised in England, but after living in Canada I knew I was out of touch with contemporary Britain. However, I still couldn't claim to be really in tune with contemporary Canada, and the more popular setting was the US. I felt much more comfortable in England's past.

So basically I do what I like to do and which feels comfortable, and feel no urge to explore alien, and rather scary, territory.

Nicola Cornick: 

Why do we write historicals? Some of us write contemporary too. Why or why not, and what's the difference?

HOUSE OF SHADOWS web When I started writing as a teenager I was drawn to romantic suspense. I suspect I was heavily under the influence of Mary Stewart and so my first attempts at writing my own stories were “women-in-jeopardy” in exotic places – I remember that Norway was one of the settings. It all seemed impossibly romantic and exciting.

 As I grew older, though, my favourite reading matter increasingly became historical novels and historical romance. I simply could not get enough of history. I read historical fiction and non-fiction voraciously, I visited historic places, I watched costume dramas on the TV and I studied history at school and later at university.  The world of the past fascinated me far more than the present so it felt natural that when I started writing in earnest I would choose to write historicals.

 My first attempt at a book was set during the French Revolution but I also tried out a story set during the 15th century Wars the Roses, as my first historical hero was Richard III. I moved on to reading about the Tudors. My stories moved on to the 16th century. Then I discovered Georgette Heyer and was enchanted by the witty world of the Regency. That was where I stayed, with occasional forays into the 17th century and the Edwardian period. Writing historical fiction felt like the right place to be, the time and place that inspires me.

 That said, my new dual and triple timeline novels do feature a contemporary thread alongside the historical ones. I’ve found this far more difficult to write and have to work very hard at it. The historical stories always draw me back. They feel a more comfortable place. The past is where I want to be.

Anne Gracie:

GallantWaifWhen I first started trying to write romance I tried contemporary romances, but with the limited variety available in Australia, I hadn't come across any that were my cup-of-tea and those early attempts were pretty lame — you have to write the kind of books you love reading, after all. Then I saw some books with characters in Regency-era dress on the front and I thought — "Oho!" See, I've been reading and re-reading Georgette Heyer novels since I was eleven. You might say I was practically raised in the Regency era. So I started writing  a Regency-era novel — and that became my first published book, Gallant Waif (now available as an e-book.)

A few historicals in and I came across some funny contemporary romances, and I thought "Oho!" And I wrote a contemporary romantic comedy. Had a ball doing it, and it was published, but shortly after that the line closed. I still wanted to write contemporary romantic comedy, and I had plans for a series, but I'm not a fast writer, and a friend in-the-know advised me to stick to one or the other. So historicals won. I still have a hankering to write contemporary rom-com, and maybe one day I will. I do read contemporaries — I'm on a new adult binge at the moment — but I also read a lot of historicals, fantasy, crime — you name it. But I love sinking into the richly textured world of a historical — somehow life seems bigger, brighter, bolder more interesting there, so historicals have my heart.

Joanna Bourne:

RogueSpy prior cover w-o blurbFor me, it's historical all the way. The modern world just doesn't strike me as romantic, I'm afraid. 
The major difference between historical writing and contemporary writing is the language.  

I do not feel constrained by historical characters. There was just dazzling variation between town and country, rich and poor, French and English, young and old, liberal and conservative, in 1802. You got yer lass gathering kelp on the seashore in Wales, skirt kilted up above her knees, and yer Young Miss of the Ton who blushes if she shows her ankles. There were so many kinds of people. And I'm purposely writing about unusual historical people — spies and smugglers, assassins, eccentrics, scholars, idealists, business managers, and thieves. So I have lotsa leeway.

I have less leeway with language. 
My words have to lie within that 80% of the useful vocabulary we share with 1800. I can cheat a little and certainly Mistakes Are Made, but, on the whole, I'm trying to stick to authentic spoken language.
Do you have any idea how many wonderful words are late Nineteenth Century? Really, I want to jump through a time portal and start strangling Victorians. Or Crime Vocabulary. It's all C20 and American.  

So the long and short of it is, I feel happy writing historical people and places and problems but being careful about period language about drives me nuts.

Susan King:

Queen_hereafter_trade_pbk300aI love history, always will, and its the people in those centuries that fascinate me the most – I'm so very curious about them. I know the contemporary world around me, I live in that, but I don't feel a need to write about it. What I want to know more about are eras that I don't live in. From the time I was a kid until now, I've wanted to know who these historical people were, what life was like for them, what motivated them to do the things that have come down into the history books (and especially the things that haven't, the things we figure out as historians and history fans). This love of anything historical stuck fast and grew. The first book I wrote (or attempted to) at age 12 or so was a medieval – or what I thought was a medieval – and as I went through graduate school studying medieval art and history, the fiction I was writing on the side was medieval too. Write what you know, so they say – or write what you love! I've ventured as late as Victorian, and as a writer I'm most comfortable in other centuries.

I've played with contemporary, but only to see what it felt like. Didn't stick with it – I got bored with the every day (and it's important to get those details exactly right in contemporary if it's something you're not familiar with, so it's not that easy!) — and anyway, I was far more interested in the considerable historical threads in that unfinished story; someday I may pull that out and plump it up as another historical. I do read contemporaries now and then, mysteries and some romance; sometimes a character wearing jeans and eating pizza is just a relief to read about… and Mary Stewart (by now her settings are historical) and a couple of other contemporary authors are comfort reads. But historicals are my comfort write!    

Your turn! As a reader or as a writer – which do you prefer, historical or contemporary or something else entirely? They all have wonderful merit. We're all so individually and particularly tuned.   

 

 

120 thoughts on “Why We Write What We Write”

  1. I read everything, and love different things depending what mood I’m in. I will go a month only reading historicals, and then I’ll binge on something entirely different.
    You often hear people saying it’s just as hard to write contemporaries as historicals, but I’m not certain about that (except in Jo Beverley’s example!). Sure, if you’re writing about a very specific career, then a lot of research will be involved. Same if you are setting your book somewhere you’re not familiar with.
    However, when writing contemporaries, you’re not constantly stopping to ask yourself what sort of handle might be on a door, or exactly what year a certain food came in! Historical romance seems a very daunting subgenre to take on, which is why historical authors need some extra respect!
    The reality of the past isn’t especially romantic, which I suppose is why the upper classes are the focus of most historical romances…

    Reply
  2. I read everything, and love different things depending what mood I’m in. I will go a month only reading historicals, and then I’ll binge on something entirely different.
    You often hear people saying it’s just as hard to write contemporaries as historicals, but I’m not certain about that (except in Jo Beverley’s example!). Sure, if you’re writing about a very specific career, then a lot of research will be involved. Same if you are setting your book somewhere you’re not familiar with.
    However, when writing contemporaries, you’re not constantly stopping to ask yourself what sort of handle might be on a door, or exactly what year a certain food came in! Historical romance seems a very daunting subgenre to take on, which is why historical authors need some extra respect!
    The reality of the past isn’t especially romantic, which I suppose is why the upper classes are the focus of most historical romances…

    Reply
  3. I read everything, and love different things depending what mood I’m in. I will go a month only reading historicals, and then I’ll binge on something entirely different.
    You often hear people saying it’s just as hard to write contemporaries as historicals, but I’m not certain about that (except in Jo Beverley’s example!). Sure, if you’re writing about a very specific career, then a lot of research will be involved. Same if you are setting your book somewhere you’re not familiar with.
    However, when writing contemporaries, you’re not constantly stopping to ask yourself what sort of handle might be on a door, or exactly what year a certain food came in! Historical romance seems a very daunting subgenre to take on, which is why historical authors need some extra respect!
    The reality of the past isn’t especially romantic, which I suppose is why the upper classes are the focus of most historical romances…

    Reply
  4. I read everything, and love different things depending what mood I’m in. I will go a month only reading historicals, and then I’ll binge on something entirely different.
    You often hear people saying it’s just as hard to write contemporaries as historicals, but I’m not certain about that (except in Jo Beverley’s example!). Sure, if you’re writing about a very specific career, then a lot of research will be involved. Same if you are setting your book somewhere you’re not familiar with.
    However, when writing contemporaries, you’re not constantly stopping to ask yourself what sort of handle might be on a door, or exactly what year a certain food came in! Historical romance seems a very daunting subgenre to take on, which is why historical authors need some extra respect!
    The reality of the past isn’t especially romantic, which I suppose is why the upper classes are the focus of most historical romances…

    Reply
  5. I read everything, and love different things depending what mood I’m in. I will go a month only reading historicals, and then I’ll binge on something entirely different.
    You often hear people saying it’s just as hard to write contemporaries as historicals, but I’m not certain about that (except in Jo Beverley’s example!). Sure, if you’re writing about a very specific career, then a lot of research will be involved. Same if you are setting your book somewhere you’re not familiar with.
    However, when writing contemporaries, you’re not constantly stopping to ask yourself what sort of handle might be on a door, or exactly what year a certain food came in! Historical romance seems a very daunting subgenre to take on, which is why historical authors need some extra respect!
    The reality of the past isn’t especially romantic, which I suppose is why the upper classes are the focus of most historical romances…

    Reply
  6. I try to read widely, but in romance novels I generally come back to historicals. A major reason is that I live in the here and now and so sometimes find it hard to believe in the Romance With a Capital R in a contemporary because I know too much. For example, I work in financial services, so I’m far more likely to get pulled completely out of the story when the financial whiz in a contemporary acts in ways that make no sense or that would get him hauled before the SEC in a heartbeat. I do note the occasional similar issue in historicals but for some reason not quite as often or else it doesn’t bother me as much — but then, I’m careful with the authors I choose to read and only choose those like the Wenches whom I can trust.

    Reply
  7. I try to read widely, but in romance novels I generally come back to historicals. A major reason is that I live in the here and now and so sometimes find it hard to believe in the Romance With a Capital R in a contemporary because I know too much. For example, I work in financial services, so I’m far more likely to get pulled completely out of the story when the financial whiz in a contemporary acts in ways that make no sense or that would get him hauled before the SEC in a heartbeat. I do note the occasional similar issue in historicals but for some reason not quite as often or else it doesn’t bother me as much — but then, I’m careful with the authors I choose to read and only choose those like the Wenches whom I can trust.

    Reply
  8. I try to read widely, but in romance novels I generally come back to historicals. A major reason is that I live in the here and now and so sometimes find it hard to believe in the Romance With a Capital R in a contemporary because I know too much. For example, I work in financial services, so I’m far more likely to get pulled completely out of the story when the financial whiz in a contemporary acts in ways that make no sense or that would get him hauled before the SEC in a heartbeat. I do note the occasional similar issue in historicals but for some reason not quite as often or else it doesn’t bother me as much — but then, I’m careful with the authors I choose to read and only choose those like the Wenches whom I can trust.

    Reply
  9. I try to read widely, but in romance novels I generally come back to historicals. A major reason is that I live in the here and now and so sometimes find it hard to believe in the Romance With a Capital R in a contemporary because I know too much. For example, I work in financial services, so I’m far more likely to get pulled completely out of the story when the financial whiz in a contemporary acts in ways that make no sense or that would get him hauled before the SEC in a heartbeat. I do note the occasional similar issue in historicals but for some reason not quite as often or else it doesn’t bother me as much — but then, I’m careful with the authors I choose to read and only choose those like the Wenches whom I can trust.

    Reply
  10. I try to read widely, but in romance novels I generally come back to historicals. A major reason is that I live in the here and now and so sometimes find it hard to believe in the Romance With a Capital R in a contemporary because I know too much. For example, I work in financial services, so I’m far more likely to get pulled completely out of the story when the financial whiz in a contemporary acts in ways that make no sense or that would get him hauled before the SEC in a heartbeat. I do note the occasional similar issue in historicals but for some reason not quite as often or else it doesn’t bother me as much — but then, I’m careful with the authors I choose to read and only choose those like the Wenches whom I can trust.

    Reply
  11. I ping pong between Contemporary and Historical. It all depends on the mood I am in..And with the contemporary, it is divided between westerns (I call them female westerns) and regular.
    For the Contemporary, I don’t do the angsty ones, nor the first person ones, nor ones that are too “superficial”. I want some meat in my story, something that creates …tension? Dynamics? something. Lori Foster and Jayne Anne Krentz are examples.
    Throw in some paranormal/fantasy for a totally different change up occasionally. I used to read tons of SciFi & Fantasy but not very much now.
    There are way too many of all varieties on my shelves right now waiting to be read. Especially this week as I am just now finishing up working the library book sale! At 50 cents a piece, I tend to go over board.

    Reply
  12. I ping pong between Contemporary and Historical. It all depends on the mood I am in..And with the contemporary, it is divided between westerns (I call them female westerns) and regular.
    For the Contemporary, I don’t do the angsty ones, nor the first person ones, nor ones that are too “superficial”. I want some meat in my story, something that creates …tension? Dynamics? something. Lori Foster and Jayne Anne Krentz are examples.
    Throw in some paranormal/fantasy for a totally different change up occasionally. I used to read tons of SciFi & Fantasy but not very much now.
    There are way too many of all varieties on my shelves right now waiting to be read. Especially this week as I am just now finishing up working the library book sale! At 50 cents a piece, I tend to go over board.

    Reply
  13. I ping pong between Contemporary and Historical. It all depends on the mood I am in..And with the contemporary, it is divided between westerns (I call them female westerns) and regular.
    For the Contemporary, I don’t do the angsty ones, nor the first person ones, nor ones that are too “superficial”. I want some meat in my story, something that creates …tension? Dynamics? something. Lori Foster and Jayne Anne Krentz are examples.
    Throw in some paranormal/fantasy for a totally different change up occasionally. I used to read tons of SciFi & Fantasy but not very much now.
    There are way too many of all varieties on my shelves right now waiting to be read. Especially this week as I am just now finishing up working the library book sale! At 50 cents a piece, I tend to go over board.

    Reply
  14. I ping pong between Contemporary and Historical. It all depends on the mood I am in..And with the contemporary, it is divided between westerns (I call them female westerns) and regular.
    For the Contemporary, I don’t do the angsty ones, nor the first person ones, nor ones that are too “superficial”. I want some meat in my story, something that creates …tension? Dynamics? something. Lori Foster and Jayne Anne Krentz are examples.
    Throw in some paranormal/fantasy for a totally different change up occasionally. I used to read tons of SciFi & Fantasy but not very much now.
    There are way too many of all varieties on my shelves right now waiting to be read. Especially this week as I am just now finishing up working the library book sale! At 50 cents a piece, I tend to go over board.

    Reply
  15. I ping pong between Contemporary and Historical. It all depends on the mood I am in..And with the contemporary, it is divided between westerns (I call them female westerns) and regular.
    For the Contemporary, I don’t do the angsty ones, nor the first person ones, nor ones that are too “superficial”. I want some meat in my story, something that creates …tension? Dynamics? something. Lori Foster and Jayne Anne Krentz are examples.
    Throw in some paranormal/fantasy for a totally different change up occasionally. I used to read tons of SciFi & Fantasy but not very much now.
    There are way too many of all varieties on my shelves right now waiting to be read. Especially this week as I am just now finishing up working the library book sale! At 50 cents a piece, I tend to go over board.

    Reply
  16. I think contemporaries are difficult in a different way–if you write about a real town, people will KNOW if you get it wrong. Many readers can’t tell you what kind of door knocker was used in Regency London, but they darned well can tell you that cell phone wasn’t used in 1995. 😉

    Reply
  17. I think contemporaries are difficult in a different way–if you write about a real town, people will KNOW if you get it wrong. Many readers can’t tell you what kind of door knocker was used in Regency London, but they darned well can tell you that cell phone wasn’t used in 1995. 😉

    Reply
  18. I think contemporaries are difficult in a different way–if you write about a real town, people will KNOW if you get it wrong. Many readers can’t tell you what kind of door knocker was used in Regency London, but they darned well can tell you that cell phone wasn’t used in 1995. 😉

    Reply
  19. I think contemporaries are difficult in a different way–if you write about a real town, people will KNOW if you get it wrong. Many readers can’t tell you what kind of door knocker was used in Regency London, but they darned well can tell you that cell phone wasn’t used in 1995. 😉

    Reply
  20. I think contemporaries are difficult in a different way–if you write about a real town, people will KNOW if you get it wrong. Many readers can’t tell you what kind of door knocker was used in Regency London, but they darned well can tell you that cell phone wasn’t used in 1995. 😉

    Reply
  21. Exactly! (I’m a former CPA so I really wince at money errors) This is what I was trying to tell Sonya above. It might be difficult to figure out the money system in Regency England, but how many people will know if we flub it?

    Reply
  22. Exactly! (I’m a former CPA so I really wince at money errors) This is what I was trying to tell Sonya above. It might be difficult to figure out the money system in Regency England, but how many people will know if we flub it?

    Reply
  23. Exactly! (I’m a former CPA so I really wince at money errors) This is what I was trying to tell Sonya above. It might be difficult to figure out the money system in Regency England, but how many people will know if we flub it?

    Reply
  24. Exactly! (I’m a former CPA so I really wince at money errors) This is what I was trying to tell Sonya above. It might be difficult to figure out the money system in Regency England, but how many people will know if we flub it?

    Reply
  25. Exactly! (I’m a former CPA so I really wince at money errors) This is what I was trying to tell Sonya above. It might be difficult to figure out the money system in Regency England, but how many people will know if we flub it?

    Reply
  26. I read some contemporaries, but they tend to be more women’s fiction, mystery or science fiction. I don’t much care for contemporary romance because too often the characters don’t seem contemporary to me — they don’t act, speak or share the same culture as the real people I know who are the age the characters are supposed to be. They seem like 50 year olds in 25 year old bodies.
    I can and do reread old paperback contemporaries from the 1980s because I suspect the characters and the authors were then the same age and the characters ring truer.
    Lately I find myself more and more drawn to historical fiction, whether it be mystery, spy, vintage sf, historical romance or whatever – just so long as I don’t get that feeling that the author isn’t in touch with the sensibility and worldview of her characters of previous eras — so no regency heroines who don’t fear pregnancy, disease, social ruin, exclusion or poverty enough.
    Perhaps it’s a desire to shift back to some era when I thought I knew the rules, as opposed to the chaotic nature of modern life and the aspects of our culture that I find repellent. I follow the news and I read nonfiction for information about those, but it’s not entertainment to me. I want a good story told in quality prose, and I seem to find that more in historical fiction, both classic and recent.

    Reply
  27. I read some contemporaries, but they tend to be more women’s fiction, mystery or science fiction. I don’t much care for contemporary romance because too often the characters don’t seem contemporary to me — they don’t act, speak or share the same culture as the real people I know who are the age the characters are supposed to be. They seem like 50 year olds in 25 year old bodies.
    I can and do reread old paperback contemporaries from the 1980s because I suspect the characters and the authors were then the same age and the characters ring truer.
    Lately I find myself more and more drawn to historical fiction, whether it be mystery, spy, vintage sf, historical romance or whatever – just so long as I don’t get that feeling that the author isn’t in touch with the sensibility and worldview of her characters of previous eras — so no regency heroines who don’t fear pregnancy, disease, social ruin, exclusion or poverty enough.
    Perhaps it’s a desire to shift back to some era when I thought I knew the rules, as opposed to the chaotic nature of modern life and the aspects of our culture that I find repellent. I follow the news and I read nonfiction for information about those, but it’s not entertainment to me. I want a good story told in quality prose, and I seem to find that more in historical fiction, both classic and recent.

    Reply
  28. I read some contemporaries, but they tend to be more women’s fiction, mystery or science fiction. I don’t much care for contemporary romance because too often the characters don’t seem contemporary to me — they don’t act, speak or share the same culture as the real people I know who are the age the characters are supposed to be. They seem like 50 year olds in 25 year old bodies.
    I can and do reread old paperback contemporaries from the 1980s because I suspect the characters and the authors were then the same age and the characters ring truer.
    Lately I find myself more and more drawn to historical fiction, whether it be mystery, spy, vintage sf, historical romance or whatever – just so long as I don’t get that feeling that the author isn’t in touch with the sensibility and worldview of her characters of previous eras — so no regency heroines who don’t fear pregnancy, disease, social ruin, exclusion or poverty enough.
    Perhaps it’s a desire to shift back to some era when I thought I knew the rules, as opposed to the chaotic nature of modern life and the aspects of our culture that I find repellent. I follow the news and I read nonfiction for information about those, but it’s not entertainment to me. I want a good story told in quality prose, and I seem to find that more in historical fiction, both classic and recent.

    Reply
  29. I read some contemporaries, but they tend to be more women’s fiction, mystery or science fiction. I don’t much care for contemporary romance because too often the characters don’t seem contemporary to me — they don’t act, speak or share the same culture as the real people I know who are the age the characters are supposed to be. They seem like 50 year olds in 25 year old bodies.
    I can and do reread old paperback contemporaries from the 1980s because I suspect the characters and the authors were then the same age and the characters ring truer.
    Lately I find myself more and more drawn to historical fiction, whether it be mystery, spy, vintage sf, historical romance or whatever – just so long as I don’t get that feeling that the author isn’t in touch with the sensibility and worldview of her characters of previous eras — so no regency heroines who don’t fear pregnancy, disease, social ruin, exclusion or poverty enough.
    Perhaps it’s a desire to shift back to some era when I thought I knew the rules, as opposed to the chaotic nature of modern life and the aspects of our culture that I find repellent. I follow the news and I read nonfiction for information about those, but it’s not entertainment to me. I want a good story told in quality prose, and I seem to find that more in historical fiction, both classic and recent.

    Reply
  30. I read some contemporaries, but they tend to be more women’s fiction, mystery or science fiction. I don’t much care for contemporary romance because too often the characters don’t seem contemporary to me — they don’t act, speak or share the same culture as the real people I know who are the age the characters are supposed to be. They seem like 50 year olds in 25 year old bodies.
    I can and do reread old paperback contemporaries from the 1980s because I suspect the characters and the authors were then the same age and the characters ring truer.
    Lately I find myself more and more drawn to historical fiction, whether it be mystery, spy, vintage sf, historical romance or whatever – just so long as I don’t get that feeling that the author isn’t in touch with the sensibility and worldview of her characters of previous eras — so no regency heroines who don’t fear pregnancy, disease, social ruin, exclusion or poverty enough.
    Perhaps it’s a desire to shift back to some era when I thought I knew the rules, as opposed to the chaotic nature of modern life and the aspects of our culture that I find repellent. I follow the news and I read nonfiction for information about those, but it’s not entertainment to me. I want a good story told in quality prose, and I seem to find that more in historical fiction, both classic and recent.

    Reply
  31. I’m a former CPA too, and not only do I wince at the vague financial dialog, but also the utter lack of understanding by some authors of what it’s like to work in a business organization. I recall one contemporary in which our hotblooded CEO hero called heroine, his subordinate, into his office, locked the door and had sex with her on his desk, and the author asked me to believe that Nobody Knew. Rubbish. Within five minute I guarantee you *everybody* in the building knew. Let the nasty critical gossip games begin 🙂

    Reply
  32. I’m a former CPA too, and not only do I wince at the vague financial dialog, but also the utter lack of understanding by some authors of what it’s like to work in a business organization. I recall one contemporary in which our hotblooded CEO hero called heroine, his subordinate, into his office, locked the door and had sex with her on his desk, and the author asked me to believe that Nobody Knew. Rubbish. Within five minute I guarantee you *everybody* in the building knew. Let the nasty critical gossip games begin 🙂

    Reply
  33. I’m a former CPA too, and not only do I wince at the vague financial dialog, but also the utter lack of understanding by some authors of what it’s like to work in a business organization. I recall one contemporary in which our hotblooded CEO hero called heroine, his subordinate, into his office, locked the door and had sex with her on his desk, and the author asked me to believe that Nobody Knew. Rubbish. Within five minute I guarantee you *everybody* in the building knew. Let the nasty critical gossip games begin 🙂

    Reply
  34. I’m a former CPA too, and not only do I wince at the vague financial dialog, but also the utter lack of understanding by some authors of what it’s like to work in a business organization. I recall one contemporary in which our hotblooded CEO hero called heroine, his subordinate, into his office, locked the door and had sex with her on his desk, and the author asked me to believe that Nobody Knew. Rubbish. Within five minute I guarantee you *everybody* in the building knew. Let the nasty critical gossip games begin 🙂

    Reply
  35. I’m a former CPA too, and not only do I wince at the vague financial dialog, but also the utter lack of understanding by some authors of what it’s like to work in a business organization. I recall one contemporary in which our hotblooded CEO hero called heroine, his subordinate, into his office, locked the door and had sex with her on his desk, and the author asked me to believe that Nobody Knew. Rubbish. Within five minute I guarantee you *everybody* in the building knew. Let the nasty critical gossip games begin 🙂

    Reply
  36. I read everything, but I prefer historicals. Somehow I find it easier to escape into a historical romance and silence the cynical voice that says, ‘that would never happen in reality. I also enjoy the clothes and the homes. Beautiful gowns and castles have so much more appeal than jeans and prefabs!

    Reply
  37. I read everything, but I prefer historicals. Somehow I find it easier to escape into a historical romance and silence the cynical voice that says, ‘that would never happen in reality. I also enjoy the clothes and the homes. Beautiful gowns and castles have so much more appeal than jeans and prefabs!

    Reply
  38. I read everything, but I prefer historicals. Somehow I find it easier to escape into a historical romance and silence the cynical voice that says, ‘that would never happen in reality. I also enjoy the clothes and the homes. Beautiful gowns and castles have so much more appeal than jeans and prefabs!

    Reply
  39. I read everything, but I prefer historicals. Somehow I find it easier to escape into a historical romance and silence the cynical voice that says, ‘that would never happen in reality. I also enjoy the clothes and the homes. Beautiful gowns and castles have so much more appeal than jeans and prefabs!

    Reply
  40. I read everything, but I prefer historicals. Somehow I find it easier to escape into a historical romance and silence the cynical voice that says, ‘that would never happen in reality. I also enjoy the clothes and the homes. Beautiful gowns and castles have so much more appeal than jeans and prefabs!

    Reply
  41. I’m primarily a historical romance fan because it provides me the opportunity to escape my life with all the gadgets, computers and stress of being a working mother. Contemporary novels hit too close to home – with divorce, infidelity and other life’s struggles.

    Reply
  42. I’m primarily a historical romance fan because it provides me the opportunity to escape my life with all the gadgets, computers and stress of being a working mother. Contemporary novels hit too close to home – with divorce, infidelity and other life’s struggles.

    Reply
  43. I’m primarily a historical romance fan because it provides me the opportunity to escape my life with all the gadgets, computers and stress of being a working mother. Contemporary novels hit too close to home – with divorce, infidelity and other life’s struggles.

    Reply
  44. I’m primarily a historical romance fan because it provides me the opportunity to escape my life with all the gadgets, computers and stress of being a working mother. Contemporary novels hit too close to home – with divorce, infidelity and other life’s struggles.

    Reply
  45. I’m primarily a historical romance fan because it provides me the opportunity to escape my life with all the gadgets, computers and stress of being a working mother. Contemporary novels hit too close to home – with divorce, infidelity and other life’s struggles.

    Reply
  46. Historical everytime. I just don’t read contemporary. I have enough of my own everyday life without having to read about it as well. I tend to live in the past really. And I enjoy most eras. But Regency is a great love of mine and I also enjoy books set in the two World Wars. Another great love of mine is timeslip novels and I can’t wait for Nicola’s new book.Keep up the good work Word Wenches!!

    Reply
  47. Historical everytime. I just don’t read contemporary. I have enough of my own everyday life without having to read about it as well. I tend to live in the past really. And I enjoy most eras. But Regency is a great love of mine and I also enjoy books set in the two World Wars. Another great love of mine is timeslip novels and I can’t wait for Nicola’s new book.Keep up the good work Word Wenches!!

    Reply
  48. Historical everytime. I just don’t read contemporary. I have enough of my own everyday life without having to read about it as well. I tend to live in the past really. And I enjoy most eras. But Regency is a great love of mine and I also enjoy books set in the two World Wars. Another great love of mine is timeslip novels and I can’t wait for Nicola’s new book.Keep up the good work Word Wenches!!

    Reply
  49. Historical everytime. I just don’t read contemporary. I have enough of my own everyday life without having to read about it as well. I tend to live in the past really. And I enjoy most eras. But Regency is a great love of mine and I also enjoy books set in the two World Wars. Another great love of mine is timeslip novels and I can’t wait for Nicola’s new book.Keep up the good work Word Wenches!!

    Reply
  50. Historical everytime. I just don’t read contemporary. I have enough of my own everyday life without having to read about it as well. I tend to live in the past really. And I enjoy most eras. But Regency is a great love of mine and I also enjoy books set in the two World Wars. Another great love of mine is timeslip novels and I can’t wait for Nicola’s new book.Keep up the good work Word Wenches!!

    Reply
  51. Definitely historicals for me, whether as a writer or a reader. I wonder if it is perhaps because I grew up reading 19th century novels and Restoration comedy, but I find myself comfortable in the world of the past.

    Reply
  52. Definitely historicals for me, whether as a writer or a reader. I wonder if it is perhaps because I grew up reading 19th century novels and Restoration comedy, but I find myself comfortable in the world of the past.

    Reply
  53. Definitely historicals for me, whether as a writer or a reader. I wonder if it is perhaps because I grew up reading 19th century novels and Restoration comedy, but I find myself comfortable in the world of the past.

    Reply
  54. Definitely historicals for me, whether as a writer or a reader. I wonder if it is perhaps because I grew up reading 19th century novels and Restoration comedy, but I find myself comfortable in the world of the past.

    Reply
  55. Definitely historicals for me, whether as a writer or a reader. I wonder if it is perhaps because I grew up reading 19th century novels and Restoration comedy, but I find myself comfortable in the world of the past.

    Reply
  56. I read widely and in many genres but I have always been attracted to historical romance.
    It may be significant that my two hobbies other than reading also have historical connections: counted cross-stitch , black work, needlepoint, and similar embroideries often depend on or develop from historical designs. And genealogy plus family history consists of historical research.

    Reply
  57. I read widely and in many genres but I have always been attracted to historical romance.
    It may be significant that my two hobbies other than reading also have historical connections: counted cross-stitch , black work, needlepoint, and similar embroideries often depend on or develop from historical designs. And genealogy plus family history consists of historical research.

    Reply
  58. I read widely and in many genres but I have always been attracted to historical romance.
    It may be significant that my two hobbies other than reading also have historical connections: counted cross-stitch , black work, needlepoint, and similar embroideries often depend on or develop from historical designs. And genealogy plus family history consists of historical research.

    Reply
  59. I read widely and in many genres but I have always been attracted to historical romance.
    It may be significant that my two hobbies other than reading also have historical connections: counted cross-stitch , black work, needlepoint, and similar embroideries often depend on or develop from historical designs. And genealogy plus family history consists of historical research.

    Reply
  60. I read widely and in many genres but I have always been attracted to historical romance.
    It may be significant that my two hobbies other than reading also have historical connections: counted cross-stitch , black work, needlepoint, and similar embroideries often depend on or develop from historical designs. And genealogy plus family history consists of historical research.

    Reply
  61. It says there are 15 comments on this post and one was mine but none of them seem to be appearing here. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  62. It says there are 15 comments on this post and one was mine but none of them seem to be appearing here. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  63. It says there are 15 comments on this post and one was mine but none of them seem to be appearing here. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  64. It says there are 15 comments on this post and one was mine but none of them seem to be appearing here. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  65. It says there are 15 comments on this post and one was mine but none of them seem to be appearing here. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  66. I’m currently reading a contemporary and I realize that I’ve been so immersed in historical fiction and historical romance in the past few years that this book is completely jarring in it’s voice, the attitudes and language (to me.) But I have read and loved everything else this author has written and I just had to give this one a try too. I’m loving the story now….about a third of the way in….but I laugh at myself because it’s tough!
    I’m really stuck in the past I think. And I am even more amused now, because perhaps five years ago if you had said to me I’d become obsessed with historical romance I would have laughed my head off at you.
    But thank you Wenches for feeding my obsession so wonderfully!!!!

    Reply
  67. I’m currently reading a contemporary and I realize that I’ve been so immersed in historical fiction and historical romance in the past few years that this book is completely jarring in it’s voice, the attitudes and language (to me.) But I have read and loved everything else this author has written and I just had to give this one a try too. I’m loving the story now….about a third of the way in….but I laugh at myself because it’s tough!
    I’m really stuck in the past I think. And I am even more amused now, because perhaps five years ago if you had said to me I’d become obsessed with historical romance I would have laughed my head off at you.
    But thank you Wenches for feeding my obsession so wonderfully!!!!

    Reply
  68. I’m currently reading a contemporary and I realize that I’ve been so immersed in historical fiction and historical romance in the past few years that this book is completely jarring in it’s voice, the attitudes and language (to me.) But I have read and loved everything else this author has written and I just had to give this one a try too. I’m loving the story now….about a third of the way in….but I laugh at myself because it’s tough!
    I’m really stuck in the past I think. And I am even more amused now, because perhaps five years ago if you had said to me I’d become obsessed with historical romance I would have laughed my head off at you.
    But thank you Wenches for feeding my obsession so wonderfully!!!!

    Reply
  69. I’m currently reading a contemporary and I realize that I’ve been so immersed in historical fiction and historical romance in the past few years that this book is completely jarring in it’s voice, the attitudes and language (to me.) But I have read and loved everything else this author has written and I just had to give this one a try too. I’m loving the story now….about a third of the way in….but I laugh at myself because it’s tough!
    I’m really stuck in the past I think. And I am even more amused now, because perhaps five years ago if you had said to me I’d become obsessed with historical romance I would have laughed my head off at you.
    But thank you Wenches for feeding my obsession so wonderfully!!!!

    Reply
  70. I’m currently reading a contemporary and I realize that I’ve been so immersed in historical fiction and historical romance in the past few years that this book is completely jarring in it’s voice, the attitudes and language (to me.) But I have read and loved everything else this author has written and I just had to give this one a try too. I’m loving the story now….about a third of the way in….but I laugh at myself because it’s tough!
    I’m really stuck in the past I think. And I am even more amused now, because perhaps five years ago if you had said to me I’d become obsessed with historical romance I would have laughed my head off at you.
    But thank you Wenches for feeding my obsession so wonderfully!!!!

    Reply
  71. I love pre-20th century historical romance, and they are my favorite. I’ll dabble in the Edwardian and Victorian eras occasionally, but earlier than that is my preference. I suspect part of it is that I am not a scholar of those historical periods, so if the author makes an error or uses the wrong language, I am less liable to catch it. Whereas I have done a lot of non-fiction reading about the era between WWI to the end of WWII. Writers seem to be going there more often lately, but the bloopers and implausible plots really, really irk me and pull me out of the story, so I mostly stay away.
    For mysteries, I prefer books written or set in the golden age of British mystery, which is roughly from the 1920’s to 1950’s.
    I do read a very little bit of contemporary romantic suspense, but only if it’s from my short list of favorite authors, which includes Jayne Ann Krentz.

    Reply
  72. I love pre-20th century historical romance, and they are my favorite. I’ll dabble in the Edwardian and Victorian eras occasionally, but earlier than that is my preference. I suspect part of it is that I am not a scholar of those historical periods, so if the author makes an error or uses the wrong language, I am less liable to catch it. Whereas I have done a lot of non-fiction reading about the era between WWI to the end of WWII. Writers seem to be going there more often lately, but the bloopers and implausible plots really, really irk me and pull me out of the story, so I mostly stay away.
    For mysteries, I prefer books written or set in the golden age of British mystery, which is roughly from the 1920’s to 1950’s.
    I do read a very little bit of contemporary romantic suspense, but only if it’s from my short list of favorite authors, which includes Jayne Ann Krentz.

    Reply
  73. I love pre-20th century historical romance, and they are my favorite. I’ll dabble in the Edwardian and Victorian eras occasionally, but earlier than that is my preference. I suspect part of it is that I am not a scholar of those historical periods, so if the author makes an error or uses the wrong language, I am less liable to catch it. Whereas I have done a lot of non-fiction reading about the era between WWI to the end of WWII. Writers seem to be going there more often lately, but the bloopers and implausible plots really, really irk me and pull me out of the story, so I mostly stay away.
    For mysteries, I prefer books written or set in the golden age of British mystery, which is roughly from the 1920’s to 1950’s.
    I do read a very little bit of contemporary romantic suspense, but only if it’s from my short list of favorite authors, which includes Jayne Ann Krentz.

    Reply
  74. I love pre-20th century historical romance, and they are my favorite. I’ll dabble in the Edwardian and Victorian eras occasionally, but earlier than that is my preference. I suspect part of it is that I am not a scholar of those historical periods, so if the author makes an error or uses the wrong language, I am less liable to catch it. Whereas I have done a lot of non-fiction reading about the era between WWI to the end of WWII. Writers seem to be going there more often lately, but the bloopers and implausible plots really, really irk me and pull me out of the story, so I mostly stay away.
    For mysteries, I prefer books written or set in the golden age of British mystery, which is roughly from the 1920’s to 1950’s.
    I do read a very little bit of contemporary romantic suspense, but only if it’s from my short list of favorite authors, which includes Jayne Ann Krentz.

    Reply
  75. I love pre-20th century historical romance, and they are my favorite. I’ll dabble in the Edwardian and Victorian eras occasionally, but earlier than that is my preference. I suspect part of it is that I am not a scholar of those historical periods, so if the author makes an error or uses the wrong language, I am less liable to catch it. Whereas I have done a lot of non-fiction reading about the era between WWI to the end of WWII. Writers seem to be going there more often lately, but the bloopers and implausible plots really, really irk me and pull me out of the story, so I mostly stay away.
    For mysteries, I prefer books written or set in the golden age of British mystery, which is roughly from the 1920’s to 1950’s.
    I do read a very little bit of contemporary romantic suspense, but only if it’s from my short list of favorite authors, which includes Jayne Ann Krentz.

    Reply
  76. Michelle, we’re delighted you’re hooked. I enjoy contemporary mysteries more than historical ones, but historical romances more than contemporary. I like some dash and glitter! But not particularly billionaires.

    Reply
  77. Michelle, we’re delighted you’re hooked. I enjoy contemporary mysteries more than historical ones, but historical romances more than contemporary. I like some dash and glitter! But not particularly billionaires.

    Reply
  78. Michelle, we’re delighted you’re hooked. I enjoy contemporary mysteries more than historical ones, but historical romances more than contemporary. I like some dash and glitter! But not particularly billionaires.

    Reply
  79. Michelle, we’re delighted you’re hooked. I enjoy contemporary mysteries more than historical ones, but historical romances more than contemporary. I like some dash and glitter! But not particularly billionaires.

    Reply
  80. Michelle, we’re delighted you’re hooked. I enjoy contemporary mysteries more than historical ones, but historical romances more than contemporary. I like some dash and glitter! But not particularly billionaires.

    Reply
  81. I am a historical romance fan , all genres of history. If the stories are factual, I learn a lot…handy in answering Jeopardy questions. I prefer those with adventure, intrigue, mystery with circumstances not settled between the H & H until near the end. I am particularly fond of Regency spies.

    Reply
  82. I am a historical romance fan , all genres of history. If the stories are factual, I learn a lot…handy in answering Jeopardy questions. I prefer those with adventure, intrigue, mystery with circumstances not settled between the H & H until near the end. I am particularly fond of Regency spies.

    Reply
  83. I am a historical romance fan , all genres of history. If the stories are factual, I learn a lot…handy in answering Jeopardy questions. I prefer those with adventure, intrigue, mystery with circumstances not settled between the H & H until near the end. I am particularly fond of Regency spies.

    Reply
  84. I am a historical romance fan , all genres of history. If the stories are factual, I learn a lot…handy in answering Jeopardy questions. I prefer those with adventure, intrigue, mystery with circumstances not settled between the H & H until near the end. I am particularly fond of Regency spies.

    Reply
  85. I am a historical romance fan , all genres of history. If the stories are factual, I learn a lot…handy in answering Jeopardy questions. I prefer those with adventure, intrigue, mystery with circumstances not settled between the H & H until near the end. I am particularly fond of Regency spies.

    Reply

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