This month’s Round Robin topic asks how can contemporary fiction keep up with our swiftly changing world, politically, socially, or technically. Or how do you keep your stories located in time?
It is a good question, but one that does not affect my writing. My genre is historical romance, so while I delve into the 19th century, I don’t worry so much about any of those topics. Politics a little, the social world a lot, and technicalities hardly at all.
The technicalities of the time were about the craft involved in producing furniture, of making the best clocks and carriages. There were theories on how to breed the best carriage horses or hunters. As Juliana Clifton discovers in His Ocean Vixen, weapons vary in weight and use depending on whether it is a rapier or cutlass. Beyond maybe creating an image of what a pair of Manton’s duelling pistols looked like, describing Captain Morris’s pistol crutches in Hester Dymock, or mapmakers’ instruments in Charlotte Gray, technicalities are not at the top of my list.
The social scene makes much more impact on my novels. The Regency era was well known for its strictures. From the correct time of day to visit friends and acquaintances and the length of the visit to the rules and regulations for riding and driving in Hyde Park, Society was rigid. Confusingly, morning calls were made between one and four o’clock in the afternoon. This was because the whole period before dinner was referred to as morning.
A visitor would send in a calling card via a footman. The caller would be invited to join her if the lady of the house was receiving visitors. Visits were usually no longer than thirty minutes, less if other visitors arrived and the first visitor would then leave. Each visit was long enough to be polite, and short enough not to outstay one’s welcome.
A lady could only venture out alone in a closed carriage. Other than that, she would travel in the company of a gentleman or chaperone. If a single lady happened to be found in the company of a single gentleman by chance, the most likely outcome would be a proposal of marriage to save the lady’s virtue and satisfy her parents.
Other than referring to battles and incidents during the Peninsular Wars, politics rarely rears its ugly head in my books. Politics has no place even in the two contemporary western romances I have written, nor will it in my current work in progress which is another contemporary romance. I will leave that to more skilled authors than myself. I am looking forward to reading what my fellow bloggers have to say. Find them here:
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2QS
Anne Stenhouse http://wp.me/31Isq
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Oh Victoria, you have casually described so much potential for gripping, fun content. I've once read a fascinating book about Thomas Chippendale's life. That's furniture, and the same is possible for every single thing you have mentioned.ReplyDelete
I see you are not the only anonymous commenter, but know your style of writing so you are not anonymous to me.Delete
Google hates me and it's mutual. It decided to keep me anonymous, and it bars me from being anything else, but the previous comment was from Bob RichReplyDelete
You forgot to mention the whole topic of witchcraft - still very much alive and well in your time period. Although it might not be featured in any of your novels, it would be one of those social issues that plagued that time. On the other hand there are a few people in current American politics that I definitely would call witch. Interesting tidbit about the whole period before supper being morning. Ive read many books set in that era, but have to confess, I never stopped to wonder why a morning call was at 3pm.ReplyDelete
Not witchcraft per se, but in Hester Dymock, Book 1 of Those Regency Belles, Hester is a healer, sometimes referred to as a hedge or green witch. So sad to think of all the herbal knowledge those women had that was lost because of paranoia and the social climate.Delete
Hi Victoria, My preferred period, too, although for DCThomson, magazine publishers, I do write about late nineteenth century and get into all sorts of political with a small 'p' stuff - like women doctors. I love and relish the challenges posed by the rigid rules of Regency society and I see you do, too. AnneReplyDelete
Thank you for signing your post. You came up as anonymous, the same as Dr. Bob, but I guessed it was you. I will take a look at DCThomson as I have some unpublished short stories that I might try and place.Delete
Hi Victoria, that's interesting about the morning calls. I always imagined they were actually in the morning! As Anne commented, it must be fun incorporating these rules and strictures into your fiction. I've really enjoyed this month's Round RobinReplyDelete
Georgette Heyer's Regency World is a mine of information on Social dos and don'ts. Some of them seem to have no reason, but I guess they were put in place for a purpose.Delete