Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daunting Research for The Price of Love

The challenges of writing historical fiction and/or romance can be daunting. I admit that I have procrastinated and run into a huge season of writer's block with The Price of Love. At the present time, I am beginning to chip away at the wall that has been between me and the finished book. I am so very sorry to my faithful readers who have been more than patient! Please hang in there with me a little while longer.

As I move through the story, I often become boggled down with questions. I can write one scene and end up doing hours of research on the Internet to make sure I've got my facts straight. I'm faced with a new era, that brings with it new thinking and fashions. In addition, I've placed myself into another geographical location in Austria, where titles and life are somewhere different. Here are a few of the things I've had to research so far, just to give you an idea of the challenges that I face.
  1. I am now writing in the Edwardian era, after becoming well versed in the Victorian. It's new territory. Angelique has just turned eighteen. The time is 1905. My first scene included a trip from her residence to the solicitor's office. An obvious change is that the mode of travel is evolving. Carriages are prevalent, but so are the beginning of "strange motorized brass carriages," which were the first cars. I had to make sure they were in production in 1905 in Austria, and I was able to confirm some very early models were on the streets.
  2. The question arose whether Angelique could obtain the title of Countess as an adopted child. Boy, that took a lot of research. Here is the scoop. If she was adopted into a noble family as a daughter, and her father had no male heirs, special permission from the king (Franz Joseph in this case) could be granted whereby the daughter would be treated as if she were male and could inherit the title and the estates. She could pass the title to her children, even if she did not marry another aristocrat.
  3. Forms for addressing Austrian nobility had to be researched. Even though Angelique inherits the title of Countess, she must use the title of Komtesse (Comtesse Fr. version) until she weds. (It's interesting to note that in 1919 Austria completely abolished nobility and their titles.) Also, how the male population is addressed has changed. In England we have Mister or Sir; in France we have Monsieur; and in Austria we have Herr as the form of male salutation.
  4. When was the height of the London social season? Had to research that one too, since I'm bringing Angelique into the scene with other aristocrats. According to research, the season coincided with the sitting of Parliament and began some time after Christmas and ran until roughly late June.  It was then that the aristocrats, who lived on their vast estates in the country, would travel to London to stay in their residences for the social and political gatherings. Thank goodness, I picked the right timeline for my heroine's quest for identity to begin. 
These are just a small example of why historical fiction/romance takes so long to write. It's true that if you don't get it right, someone will slap your hand. Apparently, an English lady caught my mistakes in The Price of Deception with how the Duke and Duchess were addressed incorrectly by the staff. I should have used "Your Grace," even though the former form of Duke and Duchess was permissible. Since I've been watching Downton Abbey, I think I'm becoming well versed in this area. Here's a great link on forms of address for English Nobility in Wikipedia

I'll keep you updated as I progress. And once again, my SINCERE apologies for the lateness of this book. 

 Fondly, Vicki