Adventures in Inspiration
I haven’t written about my Writer’s Inspiration in a long while — that is, inspiration other than my characters tapping me on the shoulders and insisting that I write their books. But that’s really more Mandate than Inspiration. (I will always bow to the will of a pair of ardent lovers. I’m easy that way.)
What I have been doing lately is “pinning” the inspirations from my latest book, How To Be a Proper Lady. Have you discovered Pinterest yet? If yes, isn’t it fun!? If not, BEWARE: THERE BE DRAGONS! Pinterest is enormously addictive and will probably eventually suck everyone on the earth into it, causing world destruction like the Transformers or something, although I didn’t actually see that movie so I don’t know if the Transformers destroyed the world after all or not, so let’s go with the Zombie Apocalypse for a comparative instead. Thus, Pinterest equals the Zombie Apocalypse.
But I digress.
My point is that although I rarely use images to inspire characters before or while I’m writing a book, sometimes after I’ve written the book an image will appear to me as though it had been intended for that book all along. These are the images I’ve been “pinning” for How To Be a Proper Lady, and I should like to share a few of them with you lovely folks today.
All dressed up as a princess, and yet Eliza Doolittle is sober, pensive… sad.
Eliza flitted in and out of my mind while I wrote Miss Viola Carlyle in How To Be a Proper Lady. Kidnapped by her smuggler father when she was a girl, Viola spent her young womanhood as a rough and tumble sailor on the sea, only to be dragged from that life and hurled back into noble society at the age of five-and-twenty. Dressed up like a princess, she is no more settled in her new persona than Eliza at the Prince of Transylvania’s ball. For Viola believes that the man she loves does not love her.
I shall admit that it is possible I may have glanced at this shot of Rodrigo Santoro once or twice or three times perhaps four or maybe fifty after writing Captain Jin Seton, a privateer for the Royal Navy and the man who has made it his mission to bring Viola home. The troubled lines of his brow, the purposeful stride, the ocean behind him and the Exceptionally Nice Chest suited Jin’s not-entirely-English and brutally violent history.
Speaking of not-entirely-English history as an inspiration…
You see, quite simply, I am in love with the British Empire of the early nineteenth century. From the sparkling chandeliers of Mayfair ballrooms and the storm-tossed cliffs of Scotland to merchant ships laden with eastern teas and tropical verandas shaded by palm trees, the vast, rich expanse of Britain in this era fills me with excitement. Why? Because its story at this time is a story of adventure, of hoards of gold sent across seas, of men and women from near and far crossing paths, forging alliances, building the empire that was destined to be the wealthiest and most influential power the world had seen in a millennium and a half.
It was a dangerous world, a breathtaking world, a world of violence and honor, of death and discovery, of wicked avarice and profound beauty.
It gives me such wonderful chills! And it is where I like best to set my heroes and heroines on their paths toward love. For I adore adventure; I cut my baby teeth on it as I lay in my crib and my eldest sister spun me tales of knights and princesses and epic quests. The dangers, the nobility, the honor, the heartbreak and then the sheer ecstasy of these sorts of love stories never failed to set my young heart to racing. They’re still my favorite kinds of romances, especially when mingled with the rules and niceties (and handsome lords) of Regency high society. I find the contrast positively delicious. And the British Empire had all of it.
Where does that leave my proto Eliza Doolittle, my poor twice-uprooted Viola, forced to train her work callused hands to dainty parasols and delicate teacups?
Searching the horizon for a sailor, of course. And making adventuresome plans of her own to win his heart…
What is your favorite adventure-romance, whether book or film? One randomly chosen commenter today will win a signed copy of my award-winning Captured by a Rogue Lord, during the writing of which, by the way, Jin Seton first told me he wanted his own book. But he didn’t tap me on the shoulder. He just stood there, arms crossed over his Exceptionally Nice Chest, looking very serious and not a little dangerous. Who was I to deny him?
(This giveaway is open internationally through Saturday, July 9.)
For more about How To Be a Proper Lady and Katharine’s other Regency historical romances, please visit her website at http://www.KatharineAshe.com .