Characters, Writing

Blast from the Past! My style of Historical Romance? History or Romance?

Let me preface this post by saying this was originally posted April 19, 2011 only 5 days after To Win His Wayward Wife, the third and final installment in the Scandalous Sisters Series was released. When I wrote the first three books, I had been under the illusion that if a story is good enough, it would be okay if I wasn’t 100% historically accurate. (I mean come on seriously, how many daughters of nobility would be throwing away their virginity before marriage? How many would even enjoy the act? And how the heck, do the hero and heroine almost ALWAYS end up alone so they can be romantic before marriage? Highly unlikely, but we all read and accept it without a second thought.)

Oh, how wrong I was. At this point, all three of those early books were topping the Regency charts and the scathing reviews started rolling in at a rapid rate. The chief complaint: they weren’t full of historical facts or talks of politics or other such things I didn’t find pertinent to the story, but clearly someone did. 

So, I wrote the following post and with a little nervous hesitancy, I’m reposting it for anyone who hadn’t “met” me yet, to enjoy my getting ambushed by my own characters!

 

All right, so today I promised to tell you what my books are and—

Rose, we need a moment of your time!

*Turns head to see Brooke, Madison and Liberty all standing with their arms folded across their chests, looking decidedly upset* Ahem, ladies, is this something that could wait? I’m trying to do a little work just now.

Brooke: No, this cannot wait. There is a pressing matter we need to address, now!

Now? Are you sure we need to do this now?

Liberty: Yes, Mrs. Gordon, now. 

All right, what’s going on?

Liberty: Well, it has come to our attention that you didn’t do your job right.

Excuse me?

Brooke: These books are historical romances, correct? 

Correct.

Liberty: Well, apparently there’s been a complaint about the lack of history lessons in the books!

Oh, was there now? Hmm, and the three of you care because… *Raises one eyebrow like Andrew and does rolling hand gesture to get them to give their reasons so we can have this out and they can go back to the corners of my imagination*

Brooke: Because…because…well, I don’t rightly know. *Shrugs and looks a tad uncomfortable*

Exactly. Girls, let me just explain something real quick, these are romance novels, not history primers. *Pauses and tucks a tendril of hair behind ear* Liberty, remember when you read all those romance novels?

Liberty: Yes, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

Just bear with me. Well, would you have enjoyed them nearly as much if there was constant talk of world politics, war, poverty or some other depressing subject while you were trying to read a romance?

Liberty: No! That would have detracted from the story.

Just so. And that’s why I didn’t wax on and on about that type of nonsense. See, readers crack the spine—or fire up their Kindle, Nook or other eReader in this case—and start to read in order to escape from the hassles of the world and the heavy burdens they face. Not to leave these harsh realities just to read about someone else’s.

Brooke: That does make sense…

Told you so.

Liberty: What of a compromise? What about a little history? You know, some random facts, just nothing about war and or other dreary subjects?

*Sighs* Did the three of you even read the books? I did slip a few history factoids in each of them. Admittedly not a lot, but some. Let’s see, does the talk of Kings Henry the VII and VIII at the museum ring a bell?

Brooke: Well, I…uh…

Wasn’t paying much attention to much of anything the day at the museum?

Brooke: Yes, well, my thoughts were— 

Occupied thinking of Andrew and that torrid kiss the two of you’d just shared in that empty room?

Brooke: Rose, my private life with Andrew is not the point of this conversation. Your lack of history lessons is.

All right, what about the origins of your names? Hmm. Did you forget about that?

Brooke: Well, no, but I hadn’t really thought of that as history, but I guess it is.

Yes, it is. Oh, wait, I have another example, one Liberty might remember very well. Remember when you were in the pantry and Paul was in the tub singing Yankee Doodle—

Liberty: All right, all right, you’ve proven your point. *Flushing bright red*

That’s what I thought. Anything else? Madison, do you have something to add? You’ve been awfully quiet over there.

Brooke: Don’t mind her; she’s still steaming about the “Pouting Princess” remark.

*Rolls eyes and bites lips to keep from grinning * Oh, don’t get your feathers ruffled. She’s entitled to her opinion.

Madison: It’s not her opinion that bothers me, it’s yours!

Mine?

Madison: Yes, yours. I happen to love him, faults and all. But to hear you snicker at that comment hurt my feelings.

You have got to be kidding me.

Madison: No, I’m not. All right, I am. My feelings aren’t really hurt and I honestly confess had the comment  been made about either of their husbands I would have died laughing, too.

So then what’s the problem?

Madison: There really isn’t one. Brooke dragged us all here and told us to wear our angry faces. I honestly don’t give a flip about the lack of historical politics mentioned in the books. I agree, they’re for entertainment purposes only. When I told her this, she told me to imagine my husband wearing a tiara and a pink frilly dress. That’s what I’m steaming about. I’m unhappy with Brooke.

That’s nice. *Snickers at Brooke* Just remember you’re the one traveling back with her, not me.

Brooke: Can we leave her here? Just for a while?

No. She’ll be back on Friday anyway.

Brooke: You know, Rose, that’s something else I wanted to talk to you about. Andrew and I were never interviewed about our book. All you did was write up droll summaries of our characters. Talk about something that’ll make a reader fall into a deep sleep.

So are you saying you’d like me to do a round of interviews with you, Andrew, your parents, sisters and the Dangerous Duke?

Brooke: Yes! Do that and I’ll forgive you for…for that other nonsense.

Hmmm, but don’t you think it’s too late? I mean the book has already been out for two months.

Brooke: That’s not too late. Surely there are some people who have yet to read it. Perhaps they’d enjoy the interviews rather than the boring drivel you posted previously.

*Rolls eyes* All right, Brooke. You win. Next week I’ll start in on the interviews for the characters in your book. Then after that’s all done I plan to have one more go around with everyone to catch up with what they’re doing after the end of the books. Fair?

All three: Fair.

Liberty: All right, now that we’ve voiced our complaints and were so nicely put in our places perhaps it’s time to go back to the past.

Good plan. But wait, before you go, there’s something I wanted to you see.

Madison: What’s this?

Another review. This one posted just Sunday on Shameless Romance Reviews. [Site no longer exists–in 2016 😦 ] I think you’ll be much happier with it.

Here’s a few of the things she had to say,

“I read for the entertainment of a good story, and this book kept me turning the pages.

“I thought the characters were wonderfully written, Rose Gordon really brought out the personalities well, and their emotions and thoughts are always known to the reader.”

Oh, and listen to this last part,

“The secondary cast of characters were great as well. Gateway is that bastard you love to hate. And the sisters, Liberty…she tries to be the prim and proper one, doing everything by the book, she tries anyway. She is a little bit of a drama queen too. And Madison, who is wise beyond her years, I bet there’s a story behind that one.”

Madison: Seems like nobody has anything nice to say about him.

Brooke: Dearest, considering he tried to pay Andrew to ruin your reputation, you cannot argue with her conclusion.

Liberty: Besides, he really is a bastard. And I should know, I seem to surround myself with them.

Very good. All right, ladies, I think it’s time to go back to 1813 now. If you’d like, you may take a copy of that with you.

*Girls exit, chatting about the wonderful review*

Well, I guess I did tell you what my books are and aren’t, didn’t I?

Mrs. Gordon I need but a moment of your time, please.

*Turns head* Why if it’s not, Alex, one of my all-time favorite heroes.

*Snorts* Does that mean I’m one of the winners in a six way tie?

No. Just a two-way tie.

*Shakes his head and plops down in the closest chair* I’m flattered. Now, there was something I wished to talk to you about. What were you thinking naming my magazine Popular Plants?

Um…well…don’t kill me, but I hadn’t been thinking about it when I jotted that down. It was one of those things I meant to change later, but I just needed a quick name to throw in just then because the scene was coming together so quickly…but then…but then…well, I forgot to change it. I’m very sorry.

Yes, well, see that it doesn’t happen again.

That’s not possible, I’m afraid. Now that it’s been published that way, whenever I refer to the magazine in future books, I’ll have to keep calling it that. I’m dreadfully sorry.

*Groans loudly* Why do you need to write a story about me anyhow? I’m perfectly content without a wife.

Yes, well, as content as you may be to continue living the bachelor life, you won’t be able to much longer. It seems your father may have done something that is about to put you on the fast track to marriage.

What? What did he do?

I’ll let him tell you about it later. *Glances out the window* You better get back out there before they take off in the time travel machine without you.

I’m not worried about that. Between the three of them they don’t know how to run it. I’m always the one who gets it going for these little trips.

Is that so? Well, that won’t be possible any longer if I write you have an accident where you hit your head and lose half your precious brain cells.

You wouldn’t dare.

Wouldn’t I? If you don’t get going that’s exactly what I’m going to do. You better go, I’m opening up my file titled, “Her Sudden Groom”. Hmm, where could this accident go? The first page perhaps?

All right, all right, I’m going. But if you think I’ll be coming back here for some any of your ridiculous interviews, you’re mistaken.

We’ll just see about that.

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4 thoughts on “Blast from the Past! My style of Historical Romance? History or Romance?”

    1. I didn’t read the book. I only saw the play and movie and thought it was a little bogged down. (But I also have a hard time with keeping track of the plot when I have to read subtitles.)

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