Sometimes I talk to people who aren’t romance writers or readers. Crazy, I know. I forget they don’t have the same lexicon we do. They’re not in our club and don’t speak our language. I vaguely remember how, when I first began reading historicals, I puzzled over what the ton was or why Beau Brummell was so important. I was vaguely confused at mentions of Tattersalls, and I couldn’t have told you the difference between a marquess and a viscount if my life depended on it.
Almost twelve books later, and I chat about countesses, privateers, and Prinny without a second thought.
Until someone who does not read romance asks me about my books.
I was at a birthday party for a friend’s toddler recently, and another mom asked me about my September book, When You Give a Duke a Diamond. I started to tell her about it, and she said, “What’s a courtesan?”
Okay, I went off on a tangent to explain who and what courtesans were and then I was back to the story and my hero, the sixth Duke of Pelham.
“So dukes are part of the royal family?” she asked.
No. Well, sometimes, yes. Okay, another tangent.
“And why are the prostitutes—”
“Whoa, now! They’re courtesans! Big difference!”
She narrowed her eyes. “Why are the courtesans called The Three Diamonds?”
I started to explain about Regency cant and the phrase diamond of the first water, but by then the party was over. I think I succeeded in confusing her more than convincing her my book was a fun read.
And then a few days later, I was running with a friend in boot camp, and she asked about the title of my next book, which releases in March. I told her it was If You Give a Rake a Ruby. “Why would you give a rake a ruby?” she wanted to know.
“No, not that kind of rake. A rake in Regency England was a womanizer or a roguish sort of man.”
“There’s that word again. Wasn’t your last book something about a rogue? What’s a rogue?”
“The Rogue Pirate’s Bride…”
“So it’s like Pirates of the Caribbean?”
“No, because my book deals with Barbary pirates and anyway, my hero is a privateer, not a pirate.”
“Uh-huh. Right.” And she sped up. Yep. Another reader running out to buy my books.
What confused you when you first started reading romance? Do you ever find yourself trying to explain the romance lexicon to your non-romance reading friends or husbands? One person who comments will receive a copy of The Rogue Pirate’s Bride.