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Posts Tagged ‘Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews’

History

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.

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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.

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Interview/Giveaway

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.

INTERVIEW

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

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History

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 Russell Square a few times as well as others.

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Russell Square is named after the surname of the Dukes of Bedford. The square is on the site of what were the gardens of what was the Duke’s London house. The street lamps have the Duke’s coat of arms on them. Developed in the very early 1800’s by 1808 there seems to be available housing all around the square.

In 2002 the square was re-landscaped to the design of PastedGraphic2-2012-01-28-09-08.jpgHumphry Repton, regarded as the successor to Capability Brown. Repton lived from 1752 to 1818 so he is one of our Regency Resources.

Russell Square was designed for Upper and Middle incomes. During the Regency it was home to PastedGraphic1-2012-01-28-09-08.jpgThomas Lawrence’s studio at #67 during the Regency (1805 to 1830). The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Charles Abbott lived on the square during the Regency. Also Sir Arthur Pigott #35, a Whig lawyer, Sir Samuel Romilly #21 who cut his own throat after his wife died. At #3 were the Booth’s of Booth’s Gin (That has some possibilities for a future story.)

Interview/Giveaway

Once again I was interviewed for my work on Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence.

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It was at English Epochs 101 As promised, I am posting the interview here in two parts, but I encourage you all to take a look at Debbie’s Page and the rest of her material. During the weekend of the 14th thru 16th of January 2012, she was the leading seller at Amazon of her work, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire PastedGraphic-2012-01-28-09-08.jpg

An Interview with Author David W Wilkin (part 2)

When did you first begin to think about writing a novel, and what motivated your

decision?

As I mentioned, when I left college I got a job right away. But six months later, nepotism and diminishing revenue meant cuts. I was out. So then I turned my hand to a science fiction, a tongue in cheek western, a fantasy. All have potential, but they need another edit based on all that I have learned about the craft. When unemployment ran out, and I only had rejection slips to show for it, I went back into the workforce.

Did you study the Regency when you were at University?

Not at all. I studied a little on the English Victorian era. I had a class on the American Revolutionary era, but otherwise I focused on premodern asian history, and then european, before Napoleon. The Regency era did not hold any interest then. I was college age and a guy. The medieval and renaissance had a lot of battles that appealed to me and the many stories such as King Arthur (whose time period is before the medieval era of course, but all the movies come out with medieval armor and fighting) or Richard Coeur de Lion.

What do you think is the hardest part of writing?

The middle is often hard. To keep everything energized when the Boy is struggling to redeem himself for the Girl, or to capture her interest. I have it plotted but often by the time I get there, secondary plot lines are coming into play and what I had originally glimpsed as interesting when I first thought to write, is now eclipsed by other better ideas. Then the true hard part is editing. Somedays I would rather take a catnap while reading my own words. I of course pretty much remember what they say and where it is going. (Not that I think so highly of my work knowing that it does need editing. But somedays a nap seems very appealing.)

Do you find it easy to choose character and place names

I cheat. I look up in the long list of peerages names and change a thing or two to get them right. Then for place names, I look for an area I want to put the action at, and if it needs to be fictitious I think up something. Using @@@@ford, or @@@@ ton often works. There are a lot of fords and tons in England.

Please tell us about your books.

I’ll just talk about the Regencies if that is alright. By far the most popular is Colonel Fitzwilliams Correspondence. It is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Originally I envisioned that the Colonel would emerge and have a romance, but I quickly put Kitty into the scene. With Lydia gone, I found Kitty torn between wanting to be a better young lady, than she had been while her more boisterous sister led her about, but also still a person of fun. I knew that the growth that occurs in all of us over time could be telling for one such as Kitty moving from being a girl to a woman.

I also knew that the war lasts for years, and a woman, if not married before her lover goes to war, most likely would not wait and appear to be on the shelf. When I placed the first letter in the story as a device to appease and contain the ever flighty Mrs. Bennet, I had no realization that would become the device I could employ for the entire story, but the truth is that England was growing closer by virtue of the post. Look to the original and the post between Jane and Lizzy telling of Lydia’s flight. Look at the missive Darcy places in the hands of Lizzy to explain himself. There is a great deal of letter writing occurring.

I believe that carries my book. That it is also the change in our hero, who becomes a great correspondent and uses his connections back in England to keep him sane amidst the battlefields of Portugal and Spain. The crux of both his growth, and that of his love interest occurs when he returns from the war. I attempt to place my own use of language, as did Heyer, into the story. I think this is a dividing point for my readers. Some have related that they find this works for them, while others expecting this book to be our current use of language can’t get past that.

The last caveat of a work based upon another’s writing is that many have their own ideas of what should be happening to the characters the original author created after writing The End. I of course take all those characters in the direction I chose. I used the last few paragraphs as a guideline, and I used Aldous Huxley’s view of Pride and Prejudice’s Catherine de Bourgh portrayed by Edna May Oliver for mine more than some of the others. Austen says that Lady Catherine and Elizabeth will make amends in the final paragraphs of the novel. The Olivier movie (1940) I think shows that clearly. (Edna May beats Judi Dench in this portrayal, hands down-IMO)

My other two Regencies are a little more of the typical pieces one finds with my twist. I try to emulate as best I can Georgette Heyer. So I don’t write to a Harlequin formula but my own. In each I tried to evoke certain parts of the history that is occurring. In The End of the World the location is Cornwall. At this time the first railroad track was laid, without a train, to transport the copper from the mines to the ships that carted it to wales. My fictitious mine is the site where this is first adopted. Not that it plays a central point to the entire tale, but it is there as background. Something our hero brings to the story.

In The Shattered Mirror we have a story that evolves around the true end of the war. It ended twice of course, since Napoleon came back. And when it ends a second time, our heroine, who wants a hero, is going up to Town (London) for her first season. When in Town, she meets, runs into, a man she played with as a child. He, however, is now crippled from an injury sustained in the war. I think that is a side we forget about and I find that most of my heroes have some sort of PTSD. They have seen demons and have to confront them and come to terms with them. I think a great many other heroes in the genre are not beset by such problems. None I have read at least.

Another Interview/Giveaway

I have also been interviewed this week at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews In the next blog I shall post that here.

The Writing Life

Aside from maintaining communications with the web and internet this week, I worked on my post for English Historical Fiction Authors. The work I shared with the group can be found on line and it is about the research I did for the The Fastest Love on Earth. See it here

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Haven’t written a great deal of pages this week. Have seen sales for the month reach 38 and of course hoping for more. My Books landing page if you are interested in checking it out and commenting on is at David’s Books And feedback here is appreciated.

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