The location of the lord or ladies home in London is always something I spend time over. And each time I then research the square I use or re-research it. I have used St. James Square a few times as well as others.
As St. James Square has a wealth of Georgian architecture, setting it as the location of our heroes or heroines seems apropos.
The square has long been one of the three or four most fashionable addresses in London, so obviously a place to plant one of or more of our Regency Lords or Ladies. The center of the square holds a statue of William III dating to 1808. The square was laid out by Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans after the Earl had been given a lease on the lands until 1720 by Charles II in 1662. In 1665 the king granted the freehold of the site to the earl’s trustees. The square was convenient located to the royal palaces of Whitehall and St. James. In the 1720’s the square was home to seven dukes and seven earls, very poplar indeed.
One has to look close to notice the windows are more widely spaced on the square then other parts of the West End, that the ceilings are higher, the plots are deep and thus some homes had very large amounts of accommodation. Leading architects designed the interiors such as John Soane (1753-1837), Robert Adam (1728-1792) and Matthew Brettingham (1699-1769).
The southern side of the square was the less fashionable side with plots only sixty feet deep and 22 feet wide. Originally facing Pall Mall with Pall Mall numbers. Things changed in the 1830s, at the end of the Regency with the arrival of club-houses about the square.
In period residents were the Earls and Marquesses of Bristol #6. Chatham House, the home of William Pitt the Elder, #10. #19 is the home of the Dukes of Cleveland. Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn lived at #20. Norfolk house which is the London residence of the Dukes of Norfolk is #31. Samuel Pepys Cockerell and Charles Robert Cockerell built #32 between 1819-1821.
In the years after the Regency the square will become home to the London Library, the East India Club, the Army and Navy Club and even now the headquarters of BP.
Once again I was Interviewed, this time at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews I mentioned this in the last blog, so now I will provide here the post of that interview for your entertainment. Though please click on the hyperlink and have a visit at Laurie’s site.
How did you start your writing career?
I’ve always liked stories. Hearing them, reading them, and then thinking about what happened next. That led to my own stories and the desire to write down the best ones so others could partake of them as well.
Who is your favorite author?
When writing a regency romance, then Georgette Heyer is my favorite author. But when not in the mode, for the sheer joy of the story, Charles Dickens is my favorite. I think he understood telling a story best and I like to think when I tell a story, others find I capture their interest as he captured mine.
Where do you research for your books?
I have an extensive library of books, over 1000 on history, culture, architecture. The needs that one as a genre writer uses. Now though we have wikipedia and google maps. Both of which are invaluable to me. When places some lords manor house, I can zoom down to great detail and see the lay of the land. It is much less expensive then flying to England and checking for myself, though should my books breakout, I’m on the next plane!
Does your significant other read your stuff?
When I was courting my SO, one of the things that united us was my writing her a romance. It was my first foray into Regency and we had met at a regency dance. As I crafted the story, she read it, but since, I have to twist her arm. It makes me wonder, especially since there is a question about it, if others have the same difficulties with their spouses.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I do, but I am always looking for more. I think I produce more than they can handle. I took a critique class as part of getting a writing certificate from Cal State Fullerton some years ago. The group from that class continues to meet once a month for over a decade now. They are my first line of readers, and recently I have started a new writing group after relocating. Every writer needs more than their own pair of eyes on their work.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I have an extensive collection of music and over the last few years digitized everything onto the computer. I need the background of music to be my white noise to keep the distractions away. To allow me to concentrate. So I let it go onto shuffle play. It is one giant jukebox. Classical, opera, rock, pop, soundtracks. Can you imagine the expense before recorded music if i were to write with quill and ink? I would need a large orchestra, and many singers sitting outside my window serenading me. But then should they choose a selection I just did not want to hear, the fast forward button would be shouting, ‘Next Song!’ which would make one just a little guilty.
What book are you reading now?
I am reading Maggie Secara’s Molly September. A piratical romance by a good friend. Before that, I just finished books 9 & 10 in Simon Scarrow’s Macro and Cato series. The Gladiator and The Legion.
If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
I am working on that. Two series actually. They are both fantasies. The first I started over 20 years ago (don’t all of us who write in the genre have such a series in their drawer?) Both have political, economic overtures. The first was conceived as a trilogy with a coup d’etat, civil wars, and magic. The second is more the avenging hidden prince, but I threw a unique device of an imperial game contest (others have that device as well, I suppose.) In order to succeed our hero must win the contest, but also must have the entire empire ready to back him. At the beginning he is a boy, he may have the right to succeed, but he has not earned it. By the end of the series, after a long dangerous road, he will have earned the right. Here there is no magic other than very active pantheon of Gods who push and pull at their faithful to get things going the way they wish.
The Writing Life
Aside from maintaining communications with the web and internet this week, I worked on Space Short 2 and Jane Austen and Ghosts. Jane Austen and Ghosts should be released this week.
One of the last things to mention, is my book landing page, that I am using to direct traffic to showcase the works I have done. If you are interested, or would like to comment on it, please stop by at David’s Page