|Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy|
It's no coincidence that my favorite type of romance is historical romance in a British setting. Those are also the kinds of stories I feel the most compelled to write. When I imagine a hero, he is inevitably wearing 19th century clothing. If you think buff breeches, shiny black boots, and an elegant waistcoat equally sexy, then perhaps you share my passion for the past. Put a man in a cravat and he's immediately more attractive to me. Maybe it's Mr. Darcy syndrome. If so, I am perfectly content to be afflicted.
|Box Hill, Dorking, Surrey, UK|
I have traveled to England and Ireland and even lived in both countries for a time in order to quench my passion for British history. I visited Box Hill in Surrey, England and couldn't help but be transported back to the early 19th century and Jane Austen's imagined picnic there with Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley. I wanted to know the real history too and learned that two barrows (burial mounds) on the hill date from the Bronze Age.
Not surprisingly, when it came time to decide on a major in college, history was my first choice. Everyone told me there was nothing I could do with a degree in history. The warnings scared me, but I ended up enjoying every single class I took for my major. I also discovered something that I could do with a history degree. I could share my passion for the past with students by becoming a teacher. History teaching jobs are few and far between, but I have had the pleasure of teaching American history to middle school age students and it was the most fun I've ever had in the classroom.
|Fort Vancouver National Historic Site|
During graduate studies in history at Portland State University, I discovered a local historic treasure here in the Pacific Northwest and had the opportunity to work there for a time. Fort Vancouver is a National Historic Site and sits right on the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. The original buildings from the 1820's are gone, but the National Park Service has done an amazing job of reconstructing many of them. At Fort Vancouver, I got paid to talk about history. I was encouraged to share my passion for the past with every visitor and even got the chance to dress up in 19th century costume for certain events. Is it wrong to admit that I actually enjoyed wearing a corset for the presentation I gave on 1860's army wives?
The best thing about being a history lover is that there are so many ways to indulge your passion. Popular shows like Downton Abbey generate interest in the past. History books line the shelves at bookstores and talented historians continue to produce new research. I get to visit the past by researching and writing my historical romance stories. Others join historical re-enactment groups to dress in accurate costume and truly "live" in the past for awhile. Sites like Fort Vancouver also offer another way to get involved in the past by seeking volunteers to lead tours.
Do you have a passion for history? If so, how do you indulge your passion?