My original concept for this entry was to write about my adventures as a historical nomad, and that’s still probably where things are ultimately going. First, though, a slight detour. When I logged into Facebook this morning, it showed me my daily memory, a link to my first Hypercritical Gremlins post, here:
Technically, it’s the Hypercritical Gremlins’ birthday. Okay, not technically, as they did exist before I gave them a name or a voice on my blog, but funny thing about that; giving them blog space took away some of their power. They’ve been mostly quiet of late, and I consider that to be a good thing. I finished my initial draft of Her Last First Kiss, and Melva and I are a good chunk of the way into the Beach Ball, so yeah, I think letting the gremlins out once in a while actually has some benefits. Happy Birthday, guys. I’d lob a cupcake into the closet for them, but A) I do not have any cupcakes, and B) if I did, I would not throw them into closets. Maybe a couple of pieces of hard candy will suffice. Spirit of the thing, more than the letter of it, and all that stuff.
Back to historical nomad-ness. Vagabondary? Whatever I want to call it, I’ve always been that way. When I was but a wee little princess, I lumped all historical eras into what my father called “the olden days.” I seriously thought that was how it worked, which was A) kind of confusing, and B) partially explains how it made perfect sense for me to reenact the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with my Jane and Johnny west figures. I want to say I was maybe four? Five? At any rate, young. I grew up on fairy tales, and my dad’s strong interest in the 1920s. We lived in Westchester County, NY, where relics of the Revolutionary war were commonplace; stone walls built by the Dutch settlers still marked land boundaries, and the town itself had been burned to the ground during the war, but for one house (Can a historical romance writer hear that and not get ideas about why that one house was spared? No, she cannot.) and there is a fence around the Bedford Oak, which is more than five hundred years old and still hanging in there. Talk about living history.
We also made frequent trips into NYC, where the turn of the century (and prior) architecture still holds echoes of times long past. Not all that different from where I currently live, in Albany. A five minute walk will take me to Washington Park, where continental army soldiers drilled. The name, Schuyler, is everywhere, and yes, those Schuylers, Hamilton fans. I remember, once, when my mom levied the worst possible punishment (no idea what I did, but she had her reasons) for teeny me -I had to sit facing a blank wall and not talk to her for x amount of time- I was allowed paper and crayons (likely for her sanity more than my amusement) and spent my time figuring out what the planets would have been named if the names were taken from different pantheistic mythologies than what they were. This was entirely my own idea, and I was pretty heavy into mythology when I was in about first grade, so it was probably then. I remember asking her if there was any kind of grownup job that involved reading myths all the time, and she said no, there was not. Guess she forgot about “writer,” because that’s where I landed. Stories are, and always will be, my happy place, even if that place moves around a lot.
I popped my current paperback read, The Queen’s Christmas Summons, into today’s deskscape because of the sheer strength of the grabby hands I made at it as soon as I saw it on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Standalone (as far as I know; if it’s not, please do not disillusion me; it’s Christmas, or nearly so, and I do love my standalones) Christmas Tudor Romance. Did Amanda McCabe (another historical nomad, as she’s written Tudor, Regency, and 1920s so far; must investigate further) read my diary? No, she did not, because I do not have one, but if I could have designed the perfect concept for the sort of book I was in the mood for when I went to the store that day, that would be it, to the letter. There may or may not have been happy dancing right there in the aisle. (Okay, there was.) The Tudor era was the first one I fell in love with as a setting for historical romance, and I chased after it like a madwoman. Not used a lot these days in historical romance (and whyever not, because it’s perfect for it, but that’s another topic) but I love it all the same. Ditto for a later discovery, the Stuart > English Civil War/Interregum> Restoration era(s,) which I touched on in Orphans in the Storm.
My Outcast Heart, my first published novel, is set in 1720 Bedford, NY, where I spent the first ten years of my life. and still a favorite place to visit. Queen of the Ocean took me to 16th century (technically, my first Tudor era romance; I did not even put that together until right now) Cornwall, and Never Too Late brought me to turn of the twentieth century (aka Edwardian.) England and Italy. Her Last First Kiss could be set nowhere else but Georgian England, which seems to be my current default, back to the era that surrounded me in my childhood, even if it’s on the other side of the pond. I still have my postapocalyptic (oh, tell me the Black Plague wasn’t an apocalypse to the survivors, and we are going to wrangle) medieval romance to finish editing, and I don’t think my historical travels are going to end there.
TLDR (too long, didn’t read) version: I love history. I love romance. I love historical romance, in all its various eras and places and tying myself down to one is not going to work. So, I don’t. Love is love, in any era, no matter how hard life might have been. Isn’t it in the hardest times that we need love the most? Must’ve worked, because we’re all here, so people did fall in love and make more people back in the olden days, or there wouldn’t be any contemporary folk. That whole “proof of a thousand loves” thing: I’m sticking with that.