When I was eight, my best friend was Tabitha. She told wonderful--and extremely imaginative--stories about the things she did when she wasn't at school. Now, for all I know, she really did live as magical and eventful a life as her namesake from Bewitched. But for the most part, I devoured Tabitha's stories with a hefty pinch of salt. I was never sure whether she really expected to be believed.
Another friend used to say, Why do you hang around with that girl? She tells lies.
Not about things that mattered. Tabitha never lied to get anyone into trouble or get herself out of punishment. So she embroidered, embellished and sometimes downright fabricated stories about talking to animals or the enchanted pottery fairies her mother sculpted and glazed. Tabitha made life more interesting. She was a good friend, and her stories seemed to give her that extra, sparkly shine.
But then I've always been a sucker for glamour.
I write historical romance. I love research. I love delving into the English Regency period, a time of social upheaval, war, extravagance, poverty, marvelous architecture...
...And great hats.
And psst, I hate to admit this, given I'm *serious* about research--getting details, atmosphere, attitudes and expressions as accurate as I can, given reader expectations--but the thing I love most about the Regency era is the glamour. I love reading about aristocrats and balls and house parties.
The wit, the intrigue, the social mores and rituals, the sense of honour and tradition, the wealth of art and architecture, gardens and landscapes those old families collected, built and preserved.
The glamour of the Regency era wasn't limited to aristocrats, though. Highwaymen (or women), smugglers, spies, war heroes--for me, all of these glitter with a special kind of story magic.
Ordinary, middle class people finding love in a cottage? Not so much.
But glamour isn't just about wealth and beauty. It's about story, too, making it bigger, deeper, more. It's about high stakes and wrenching emotion, thrilling adventure and momentous, life-altering events. I think there's a place for the mundane, the ordinary, the obscure--but it's not in Regency historicals. I want the excitement, the thrill. I want the glamour.
So now you know my guilty secret. And that, as we say in the lair, is in the vault.
If you're a reader, what attracts you to a particular setting or subgenre? And if you're a writer, pretend you're my friend Tabitha. How would you 'glam up' your story?
And if you care to win a signed copy of Scandal's Daughter, plus some good old Aussie TIM TAMS, pitch me your most glamorous Regency historical in twenty words or less. It can be as fantastic or as silly as you like.
Just don't--please don't--make it mundane.