I read exactly one romance writer–Elizabeth Boyce. Elizabeth is a great writer and her topic is Romance, not my usual genre. But remember the subtitle of this blog: Exploring Worlds I Know Little About…” Elizabeth Boyce is, I repeat myself, a very fine writer–and a good human being. She has a new book coming out on October 27–today! Enjoy her blog, then buy and enjoy her book. Marion Aldridge
The Past: A Different World
by: Elizabeth Boyce
First of all, a big thank you to my friend Marion for inviting me to write a guest post for his blog. It’s lovely to be here!
When I was thinking about what to write, I was inspired by the subtitle of Marion’s blog: Exploring Worlds I Know Little About. In many ways, that’s exactly what I do as an author of historical romance.
The past is a world we know little about. Consider what you learned in your history classes. Big events, like wars and elections; notable social or technological advances, such as Hammurabi’s Code, or Gutenberg’s printing press, are covered. The nitty-gritty of living day-to-day in any given time period is often overlooked. There just isn’t room in the curriculum to delve into every aspect of a given historical era—much less every aspect of every historical era.
Where do you live? Not just your country, city, or state. Consider the land on which your home or workplace sits. What was there before the current building? Who was there? What were their names? How did they live, work, and die? What did they do for entertainment? To whom did they turn when they were sick? What foods did they eat, and what hardships did they endure? Now, who were the people there before them? Once you start thinking in terms of history, you’ll discover unexplored worlds right under your feet.
You see, every life, every era, is a world I know little about. I focus my writing on the Regency period of British history, 1811-1820. I have spent nearly a decade intensely studying these few short years in a fairly specific location. Still, the more I learn, the more I realize my own ignorance.
If we were to be suddenly transported to the British Regency, we 21st century dwellers might get by with our English. The language spoken at that time wasn’t so very different from our own. But we cannot conceive of what it was like to actually live at that time. We women would find ourselves stripped of all rights of citizenship and property ownership. You gentlemen who were not born into the aristocracy would find yourselves struggling mightily to support yourselves, not to mention a family. The clothes we would suddenly have to wear would change how our bodies move. Our freedom of travel would be reduced to a radius of a few miles around our homes.
These are just a few of the changes we’d experience. Truly, the past is a whole other world, with customs, laws, and beliefs that are totally foreign to us. I choose to explore it, because it fascinates me. I’m fortunate to have found an audience for the tales I spin, which are always inspired and informed by my little discoveries.
My newest novel, Honor Among Thieves, delves into the Regency medical underworld to uncover the fine line that existed between criminal dealings and scientific advancement. I hope you’ll find this a compelling look into a world you know little about.