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Monday, May 20, 2013

Celebrating Victorian Romance



Today I learned that my Victorian era-set romance, The Worth of a Kiss, won the historical category in the NEORWA (Northeast Ohio’s Romance Writers of America) Cleveland Rocks Romance contest. Beyond being thrilled to win the first contest I’ve ever entered, I am excited to have won with a historical romance entry set during the late 19th century. Though I love Regency romance, it’s always been the Victorian era that called to me as a writer.

Personally, I blame my elementary school. For several years in row, they would gather us in the gymnasium
on the last day of the school year, turn down the lights, and spin reels of Oliver!, the 1968 film adaptation of Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist. Like everyone else, I whined, groaned, and barely paid attention as the film began. But then, slowly, subtly, I fell in love—with the clothes, the setting, the grit and grime, and the complicated struggles of Victorian Londoners. Those scenes of the slum where Fagan lived with the beautiful dome of St Paul’s in the background were forever burned into my young, impressionable brain.

It’s no wonder, then, that when I write stories, I often see my characters inhabiting a darker, Dickensian Victorian London. And, yes, I always want to include lords and ladies, but also those of the working class, the less than proper, and the self-made men and women who struggled amidst grit and grime and the unprecedented technological and social changes of the era to thrive.

Two of my favorite historical romance authors, CourtneyMilan and Laura Lee Guhrke, set their stories during the Victorian era. Both do a wonderful job of bringing the period to life and joining old money aristocrats with new money heroes and heroines.

Two current television series, Copper and Ripper Street, also highlight the Victorians. Copper is set in the mean streets of New York City following the Civil War, and Ripper Street focuses on London’s East End and Whitechapel following the Jack the Ripper murders in the 1880s. If you crave a taste of the fashions and social and political issues of the mid to late 19th century, these two series will satisfy your desire.

I am thrilled to watch and read anything related to the Victorians. Most of all, I love writing about the time of Queen Victoria’s reign and seeing how my characters react to the ever changing era. It’s sweet to win a writing contest in the historical category, but it’s even sweeter to know that I can do it while writing about the period of history I love.

If you read historical romance, what historical setting do you prefer? 

6 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Christy,

Congratulations on Winning the NEORWA contest! I'm not at all surprised having read your short stories the Genre-ista's Free Reads site.

I love reading historical! and I've read just about every era from Medival to early 20th Century (through WW2 I call historical - after that, it isn't history to me because I've lived it)!

Some of my favorite Genre-ista historical authors are Bronwen Evans and Margaret Tanner. I also have Kris Tualla's books on my Kobo to get to. And then there is Paty Jager's historical Westerns.

Non-Genre-ista favorites are Jo Beverly, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, Elizbeth Boyle, Margaret Mallory, Elizabeth Hoyt, Grace Burrows, Madeline Hunter, and chapter-mate Delilah Marvelle to name a few!

Please note: this is an Incomplete List.

Waiting for the news your book is on the shelves whether they be e-shelves or book shelves.

Sarah Raplee said...

Doing the happy dance for you, Christy!!! You so deseve this! Your short stories are amazing!

I read historicals from many different eras and love them all. But like you, I'm particularly drawn to the Victorian Era-for many of the same reasons you are. Only I love stories set not only in England, but in the American West, Australia, Canada, and anywhere else in the world during that period.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Huge Congrats, Christy! That is a tough contest to win. So, I hope this means you will have a book ready soon.

I must admit there are books set in the Victorian era that I loved in childhood, Peter Pan and the Secret Garden come to mind. However, in adulthood my reading in that era has been slim. Though I have enjoyed many movies or TV series (most taken from novels) about the era. Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Middle March and many more.

I do think anytime a book looks at the working class for heroes and heroines (in any era) that you speak to the experience of the majority of readers.

Christy Carlyle said...

Thanks, Judith, Sarah, and Maggie!

I will definitely have a book submitted very soon, and I hope to self-publish some of my work too.

I'm glad you all enjoy stories set during historical periods, whether it be reading historical romance or watching movies and films set in past times. There has been some chatter recently about the decline in popularity of historical fiction and romance, but I sure hope it's here to stay. :)

Paty Jager said...

Congratulations~! Though it comes as no surprise to me. Your writing is fabulous and you are very talented.

Vonnie Alto said...

I'm chiming in late with my congratulations and comment. I'm so happy for your contest win!

I, too, like the Victorian period. For Victorian romance authors, I have always liked Victoria Holt. I also like reading books by Alexis Harrington (Americana) and Lisa Kleypas (Victorian and Regency). Many of Lisa's books have working class heroes/heroines.

For children's authors, I've enjoyed reading Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frances Hobson Burnett (Secret Garden, A Little Princess), the Anne of Green Gables series and the Emily series by L.M. Montgomery, and the Betsy Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.

I also love the Napoleonic Era in France but it's hard to find romances set there.