Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Guest Blogging With Regina Scott

The Things We Do for Love

I’m delighted to be here today. Thanks to Megan for having me as a guest! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Regina Scott, and I write primarily historical fiction, usually set in the nineteenth century in England. My first young adult novel, La Petite Four, is available now in fine stores everywhere. I love the glamour, the interesting stories, the sheer adventure that is the nineteenth century. But when you write history, you have to research.

And that’s a love in itself.

They say write what you know. To write about a historical period, you have to know everything from what they ate to how they got around town to what they called their best friends. I’ve read dozens of books on the Regency period (1810 to 1820 in England), gone to a plethora of museums and conferences, but, for me, head knowledge isn’t enough. I have to experience it.

And that’s led me down some rather odd paths.

I’ve handled nineteenth century dueling pistols in New Orleans. I learned to fence with the epée and once fought a silver medalist from Iran to a draw. I’ve driven a coach and four around the park. I’ve danced to Hole in the Wall and the Sir Roger de Coverly, two famous Regency country dances. I’ve peered through quizzing glasses and laced up corsets. I’ve dressed up like a Regency dandy to prove it was possible for a girl to masquerade as a boy. (And it isn’t as easy as it sounds, believe me!)

It wasn’t until this year, though, that I could do the ultimate research—go to England and experience it for myself. Oh, a lot has changed since the nineteenth century, but there’s so much in England that still reminds me of the period I love so much. For example, the city of Bath holds a lot of its nineteenth century charm. One of the original spa towns, people used to go to bathe in and drink the water that bubbles up from hot springs below. Of course I had to try it.

Besides the obvious places like Spencer House, the home of Princess Diana’s ancestors, there are little known corners of London that whisper of times past. I loved seeing Hyde Park and Rotten Row, where my characters ride their horses, and Bond Street, where they shop. My wonderful critique partner Kristin and I even stumbled into this little alley off St. James’s where we found what must have been a mews at one time. Each of the lower doors would have housed a prized bit of horseflesh for the aristocracy living nearby while grooms and coachmen lived in the upper rooms. Can’t you just see the horses prancing into the yard, so proud, hear the jingle of tack and the call of the grooms? Now, that’s what research is all about, making your story more real!

If you love history or just good stories, be sure to stop by the blog I share with talented author Marissa Doyle. Nineteen Teen ( features interesting tidbits about life in nineteenth century England, along with fun quizzes and contests. And my website has articles and more pictures on the Regency as well. Until we meet again, blessings!

Quote of the Day:
If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.
-- Virginia Woolf


Lenore said...

Those are sure some exciting adventures!