History has always fascinated me, although not the dates and details of battles that we learned in American history in high school. But learning about people is another story. What did they think? How did they live? What would they think about life in the 21st century?
I loved reading historical accounts of people like Marie-Antoinette or Anne Boleyn. Even knowing what would happen to them in the end did not temper my enthusiasm. For awhile they got to be queens, but in the end they were abused and executed as traitors. I always feel like there is much to be learned from historical events…that when we get to the point where we feel we have advanced too far to make such mistakes, we find ourselves doomed to repeat them, although perhaps in different forms.
But when Treasuring Theresa was released and so many of my family and friends were eager to read it, I found myself flooded with questions: “Why do you write historical fiction?” “What is the Regency anyway?” “Why can't Lady Theresa inherit her own father's estate?”
I endeavored to answer some of these questions in a blog post at The Romance Reviews. But then it occurred to me that I could use Susana's Parlour (my historical blog) to give them a few insights on the period…in a light, humorous fashion that doesn't at all resemble a dry history course.
That's when Lady P came to mind. Lady P is a character from Treasuring Theresa: The Epilogue, which is a free read on my web site. She's Damian's eccentric aunt who helps Theresa prepare to assume a presence in the ton after so many years in the country.
In my whimsical scenario, Lady P comes to visit Susana in 21st century Toledo. As a writer of historicals, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick Lady P's brain about life and people in late Georgian and Regency England. And Lady P experiences pizza, driving a vehicle for the first—and last—time, sparkly fabrics at Joanne's, and Star Trek. It's a match made in heaven!
These pieces are fun to write, and I hope the followers of Susana's Parlour enjoy them. I also persuaded my mother to pose as Lady P. We made her a 19th century bonnet and took photos at Joanne's. My sister Gloria insisted she wanted to be someone, so she's Letitia, Lady Beauchamp, who will be entering the fray at some point in the future—yes, with her own bonnet too!
From there, I've gone to interviewing characters—Damian is interviewed in my guest post on SOS Aloha, and Theresa will be the focus of my guest post at Shawna Romkey's blog on February 13. It's a blast to get back into their characters again, and I hope my readers enjoy it half so much!
This is what I call “History in Small Doses” or “Light History,” and I hope it will catch the attention of romance readers and entice them to start reading more of the historical romance sub-genre.