from Mia Marlowe

Mia MarloweJauntyI’m the first to admit it. The porcupine and I have not exactly bonded.

I know, I know. Jaunty is our mascot and he’s been with the JQs much longer than me. I should show some respect.

But from the very beginning, I just wasn’t feeling the love. For one thing, I wasn’t expecting the high-handed (Excuse me, ought I to say “high-pawed?”) interview with the porcupine to which I had to submit when I first joined the group. Also, I’m not used to egotistical rodents who demand offerings of pine nuts. Or whine (Sorry, Jaunty, but you do sometimes get a “tone” going, you know!) that we ought to put him in our stories.

But the DH and I were in Rouen, France recently and I saw something there that made me think Jaunty just might have reason to have such a high opinion of himself.

Crowned Porcupine

Yep, that’s a porcupine with a golden crown on its pointed little head. (Hey! Don’t take offense, Jaunty. A porcupine is arguably covered with nothing but points!) Anyway, the crowned porcupine is the emblem associated with Louis XII of France who ruled from 1498-1515. He reformed the French legal system, lowered taxes and was adept at handling his nobles. Popular with his subjects, Louis was known as “The Father of his People.” He didn’t even run up the deficit, unlike previous and subsequent monarchs.

But lest our Jaunty get too puffed up, King Louis XII’s dealings with the ladies was nothing to write home about. He was forced to marry a distant relative when he was quite young. How young no one could be certain since there were no accurate records of his birth, but he argued that he had been under the age of consent, which was 14 at the time. Once he unexpectedly became king, he had the marriage annulled, but he didn’t claim he and Queen Joan were too closely related or that he’d been too young to have consented to the marriage. Louis testified that his wife was deformed and he couldn’t consummate the marriage because of it.

Needless to say, the lady was horrified and fought the charges with vehemence. However, the Pope had political reasons for supporting Louis, so the annulment was granted. (Joan entered a convent and was later canonized as a saint in 1950. After a husband like Louis, she deserved it!)

He then married Anne of Brittany and sired 4 stillborn sons and two live daughters. Louis was desperate to beget a male heir for France, so when Anne died in 1514, he lost no time in marrying Mary Tudor, sister of England’s Henry VIII. Three months later he died, reputedly from exhaustion from his exertions in the royal bedchamber, still without a male heir.

Who’s deformed now, Louis?

Anyway, I thought Jaunty might enjoy seeing his royal roots and how his illustrious many-times great-grandfather was commemorated in France. Does this make up for the lack of pine nuts?

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One Night with a Rake

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Mia’s newest release One Night with a Rake is based on the very real historical race for the English crown. When Princess Charlotte died in 1817, the unmarried sons of King George III realized that if they could present their royal father with a legitimate grandchild, that child might one day sit on the throne. But not everyone wants to see the House of Hanover continue, so Lord Nathaniel plans to seduce Lady Georgette out of royal consideration, one delicious sin at a time…

To Purchase One Night with a Rake
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Sourcebooks is offering a print copy of Waking Up with a Rake (Book 1 in the Royal Rake series) to one random commenter. US/Canada only. Here’s a question to get the discussion started:

History is often stranger than fiction. Honestly, I could not make some of this stuff up! How much actual history do you like in your historical romance?


43 thoughts on “Jaunty’s Many Times Great-Grandfather

  1. Don’t feel too bad, Mia. I put Jaunty in quite a few books, and what do I get? Nothing but attitude. He’s like my third teenager. Can’t wait to read the book! I love the concept, and I envy you the research trips!

  2. MiaMarlowe MiaMarlowe says:

    Thanks, Kristan. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. But then, we really can’t expect a porcupine not to be a little . . . well, prickly, can we?

    Speaking of research, my DH always threatens to have a T-shirt made that reads: “My wife writes romance. The research is killing me.”

    He’s not talking about cruising around the UK. ;-)

  3. Connie Fischer says:

    Hey, Mia!

    I lived in France for a number of years and visited Rouen several times but don’t recall the porcupine. However, I loved your history lesson and – YES – I have always enjoyed it when an author adds history to a novel. I realize that it takes a lot of research for one to do that, but I think it’s fabulous. I’ve always said that history as taught in school – especially when I was going – is very dry and boring. I wish that teachers would assign fiction novels for students to read that goes with the time period being studied in class followed by verbal reports and discussion. I think students would learn a lot more. Not just memorized dates, names and places but add real stories such as you did here and what a fun time that would be.

    Thanks again for the great history lesson today!

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape@aol.com

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I like to think of the history I include as “women’s history”–the details about how people actually lived and thought about themselves and their world. The stuff we learn in school is more geo-political and doesn’t touch on how that impacts people’s lives.

  4. Love the history! Do you have any idea *why* Le Jaunty was associated with Louis XII? I bet that’s a story. Great post, Mia!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Louis inherited the porcupine emblem from his grandfather and felt it suited his bellicose early rule. Later, he tried to soften his image, so the porcupine was not as much in evidence. Even then, it was all about the spin!

  5. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    Mia, what fun! The Louis XII tidbits were hilarious–what a catch he must have been! A man who likes to think of himself as a porcupine! ;-)

    I think Connie has a great point about how to make history classes come alive! I learned more about the Henry VIII from watching “Anne of the Thousand Days,” or about the Plantagenets from reading Anya Seton’s “Katherine,” than I ever, ever learned in school.

    How about that? Mia Marlowe as required reading! :cool:

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      It would have to be for college classes. My stories aren’t exactly YA. ;-)

  6. Shana Shana says:

    Mia, you know what’s REALLY unfair? The new quills didn’t have to submit to the Jaunty interview!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      That’s something Jaunty should remedy immediately. Clearly our mascot is falling down on his job. He’s been hanging out on my FB page in a kilt trying to get me to make him my next hero! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=504115656309170&set=a.133632983357441.31474.109542735766466&type=1&theater

        1. Mia Marlowe says:

          Sorry, Vanessa. You’ll have to get used to the porcupine. I’ve learned to my sorrow that he’s got seniority.

  7. Jaunty Quills Jaunty Quills says:

    Mia, Mia, Mia, do you know you are my new best friend? I always KNEW I was royalty! Now I have the PROOF. Call me King Jaunty from now on and do not forget to bow.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Think I’ll go with LeRoy instead. (That means the King, sort of.) Jaunty LeRoy Quills. It could work as a middle name.

  8. Kathleen OD says:

    I like some fact with my fiction.. But it’s not always necessary for me in order to like the book.. I have to feel the passion and attraction in real in my books, more than the historical accuracy..

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      You’re right, Kathleen. It’s all about the relationships. And ever since Eden, we’ve all been coming into this world with the same need to find that special someone who will go through this life with us and love us despite ourselves.

  9. catslady says:

    Oh, that was a great history lesson. I love learning new facts and romance writers have the best way of telling you things without it seeming like a dry history lesson. If only they told you such interesting facts in school lol. I’ve always wanted to know the real (and interesting) facts and not what the history books want to tell you.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Catslady! I do love finding odd little historical tidbits. And I always find more than I could ever possibly use in my books, so I enjoy sharing them like this too.

  10. bn100 says:

    Not so much that it becomes the focus of the book

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      BN100–I like to think of the historical underpinings as the canvas upon which I paint my story. It’s the backdrop, the behind the scenes doings that impact my characters’ lives.

  11. LOL! That is one awesome post, Mia: “who’s deformed now?” Talk about karma coming back to bite you in the ass.

    I confess that I also make hubby do some of my research, too!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Well, he’d have to since he’s your writing partner too. I’ve been talking to my DH about writing together. He’s a sci-fi, techno-thriller fan. Not sure how that would work at Almack’s…

  12. Xoun J. says:

    A little is alright. Like having real info about places and events etc. But going into detail things like war and political stuff is quite boring. Not a huge on that.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Noted, Xoun. I always try to leave out the parts readers love to skim.

  13. How do porcupines make love? VERY carefully!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Old joke, but it still works, Mary Anne. Perhaps Jaunty would care to expound on that. I did try to set him up with a cute little hedgehog in a tutu a few months ago. Never did hear how that turned out…

  14. Fascinating post, Mia! I second LeRoy as Jaunty’s middle name. :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      You’ve called the question, Nancy. It’s time for a vote. Should Jaunty’s middle name be “LeRoy?”

  15. Terri Brisbin says:

    I love lots of history in the historical romances I read – but I like it woven in well.

    And wow! Who knew Jaunty had such lofty ancestors?

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I hear you, Terri. That last thing you want to think as you’re reading is “Wow! This author did her research.”

  16. Barbara Elness says:

    I love history, and that’s one of the reasons I love historical romance so much, so I’m all for lots of history with my romance. :D

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      One of the main things historical authors owe to their readers is to get how the people thought at that time. For example, in the medieval I’m reading at the moment, one of the characters worries about “germs.” Since germ theory is a late 19th century construct, no medieval person would ever think about it. I wouldn’t even enter a Regency character’s head. Those are the anachronisms that yank me out of a book.

  17. Rhonda says:

    I love the history in the books. The history is much more interesting when there’s a fictional story of sex, scandal, and mystery mixed in!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      A little sugar with the medicine, huh?

  18. Marcy Shuler says:

    I like history woven in with the romance. Just so it doesn’t detract from the main storyline.

    My father’s name was Leroy (his mother taught French LOL) and he was also a prickly character. ;-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I was also thinking Leroy Jethro Gibbs–another prickly alpha.

  19. Kim says:

    I enjoy a fair amount of history woven throughout a book, as long as it doesn’t read like a tutorial.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Agreed. Showing my research is far worse than showing too much ankle.

  20. Anita H. says:

    I have to say, I’ve learned quite of bit of history through reading historical romances. As long as it enhances the story and doesn’t bog it down, I’m all for it. By the way, I love Jaunty’s new middle name! :lol:

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      We’ll see it he’ll embrace it. I believe he’s been Jaunty P. Quill for some time. I’m not even sure what the P stands for.

  21. Ada says:

    Interesting history lesson Mia, I always like a bit of historical facts woven into the stories. But it has to be done right or else it just feels like another history lesson from high school – boring!! What do you think Jaunty’s ancestors think about his life now? (him being the “mascot” and all) ;-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Actually, he’s serving the same function as his illustrious forebearer–that porcupine might be called Louis XII’s “mascot” as easily as his “emblem.”

  22. Chelsea B. says:

    If I’m being honest, history always went over my head. So if the facts were real or fake, unless they were glaringly obvious, I probably wouldn’t even know :roll:

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