You are playing "Bookworm" on your iPod Touch, and you make words like: kirtle, quirt, borne, or chamberlain.
You speak in phrases like "off the reel" or "settle their hash."
You know that the stethoscope was invented in 1816 and consisted of a rigid tube, belled at either end. That "hors de oeuvres" were first served in 1821. And the word "flirt" didn't exist in the 1300's. Jillet, hure, or trifler. No flirts.
As an author of historical romance, I need to know when certain words originated. I can't say my 1720's hero was "mesmerized" because F. A. Mesmer died in 1815, and the word came into common usage a decade later. I can't reference an adrenaline rush in any of my characters' responses, because that hormone wasn't identified until the 1900's.
Do I do much research, you might ask?Oh, yes. And God bless Google! I know what day of the week March 20, 1721 was (Thursday). And where the medieval monasteries are in southern Norway - and when they were built or burned.
In light of all these necessary details, why do I write historical time periods?
Because mistakes can't be corrected with a text message. Letters take weeks or longer to arrive - plenty of time for misunderstanding to ferment. For wrongful revenge to be plotted and implemented. For a wedding of retaliation. Confrontations must bow to social conventions. And there are no DNA swabs to prove paternity.
Knowledge is limited. Choices are limited. Travel is limited. But dangers are limitless. A sore throat can kill you. Babies and mothers don't always survive birth. Accidents are fatal. If anyone survives, all manner of tragedies can result. This is great news for a writer who needs to torment her characters before she lets them have their triumphal ending!
And then there are the clothes. Women with corseted waists and sweeping skirts. Men in tight breeches and shoulder-hugging tailored coats. Silk slippers. Tall boots. Lace everywhere.
What about the weapons? How romantic is a glock? Imagine instead a double-edged sword, glinting in the sun, the extension of a muscular arm. The sting of steel on steel, sweat making a linen shirt cling to a rippling chest? Hair tied back with a leather thong, coming loose and hanging in thick strands along a chiseled jaw.
Why do I write historical time periods?
Isn't it obvious? :)
June 4th - Arizona's 1st Romance Reader Event!
"Norway IS the new Scotland"