Regency,  Research,  Risky Book Talk

By the Sea

I’m composing this by the sea (but posting later), a beautiful sea view out my hotel window at Daytona Beach, Florida where I am attending the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention. It is a beautiful sunny day with blue skies reflecting in the water, gentle waves breaking into foamy white. The sand is hard packed, perfect for walking or sun-bathing. I love the ocean. I love the smell of it, the rhythmic sound of the waves, the soothing sight of the water, the warmth of sun on my skin.
In my imagination I’ve spent a great deal of time at another beach resort – Brighton in Sussex. The book I’m working on now, untitled as yet, takes place at Brighton, the seaside town the Prince of Wales, aka “Prinny” made fashionable and where he built his exotic Pavilion. In my book I am in Brighton of 1816 and it is cold.

1816 was “the year without a summer” with June snowstorms in the Colonies and rain and chill in the British Isles and Europe. It is thought that the year without a summer was caused by the April 1815 volcanic eruptions of Mount Tambora half a world away on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia. Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein that “wet, ungenial summer” of 1816, because she, Percy Byssh Shelly and Lord Byron were housebound and bored in Lake Geneva.

In 1816 the exotic renovations to the Prince Regent’s Marine Pavilion had not yet been completed, and the Prince Regent was not in attendance (that I could discover), but just as so many of us do today, the fashionable people came to the sea side for summer entertainment. Without sea bathing, my characters have had to pass the time at the Circulating Library, which was less like what we would think of as a library, and more like a Barnes & Noble or Borders, where one could purchase refreshment and gather for conversation. One could also gaze at the newest caricatures that arrived from London or try out the newest sheets of music on the pianoforte. The fashionable people also attended balls, assemblies and card parties at the Old Ship Hotel or the Castle Inn, and a dreadfully boring-sounding Sunday afternoon Promenade.

Unlike the view of people out my window here at Daytona Beach, there is no sea bathing in my book, which tells Blake’s story. Theobald Blackwell, Viscount Blakewell, is one of the Ternion introduced in The Marriage Bargain, the three men who have been friends since childhood. Blake reunites with the daughter of a con artist and sparks fly–passionate ones!

In the real world, I have been meeting with friends–fellow authors, booksellers, and readers–at the Romantic Times Convention. The Marriage Bargain, nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Regency-set Historical, alas, did not win, but I was interviewed about it for Dungeon Majesty, a website doing a documentary on Romance. I looked it up and it seems to also be a very clever Dungeons and Dragons site. Imagine me on a Dungeons and Dragons website!

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Megan Frampton
16 years ago

I am so jealous of your being near the beach right now.

Hope you are having a fantastic time!

Elena Greene
16 years ago

Sounds like you are having a great time, Diane!

And Brighton is such a cool setting; I used it at the start of SAVING LORD VERWOOD. Sometime I might blog about what I learned about Regency sea-bathing.


Mallory M Pickerloy
16 years ago

Glad your haveing a great time!,
I too love the sea. I enjoyed your post about the history. I’m so glad for the follow up after the Marriage Bargain of the three men who have been friends since childhood. I know I myself cannot wait to read them,it sounds great!

Best Wishes,
Mallory Pickerloy

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Glad you’re having a good time, Diane, but can I just say–no fair, waaaah! 🙂

I also love the beach, and the idea of a “seaside holiday.” can’t wait to read the Brighton book.

16 years ago

Yay, Diane! I’m glad you are writing the other Ternion stories! I really enjoyed The Marriage Bargain and can’t wait to see what adventures Blake gets up to in Brighton!

Hope you had a blast at RT! I hear it was quite the party:)

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

I’m still not HOME! But I’ll be home tomorrow at last. I’ve been visiting my uncle, who was the only one who so far has mentioned a mistake in The Marriage Bargain–I call the heroine Emily instead of Emma in one place. My uncle is 85 and he caught the mistake I, my 6 critique partners, my editor, and the copy editor with obsessive compulsive tendencies all missed!
He also is reading The Mysterious Miss M while I am here–He’s almost halfway through. He read while my aunt and I went into a couple of shops. When we returned, I asked him, “Did you finish the first chapter?” “Yep” he answered.

Mallory and Mandacoll, I’m glad you are looking forward to Blake’s story! All I can say is it is a sexier one!


Mallory M Pickerloy
16 years ago

Well I love sexy stories, I cannot wait to see what the covour looks like! I know the book is going to make a fantastic read!

Cara King
16 years ago

Totally off-topic, Diane, but I was in the Borders bookstore in Cambridge (yes! American chains are taking over the world!) and they had your purple Diane Perkins book there. Cool. (Sorry, I never remember which is which, I just remember it was the purple one.) 🙂

They also had lots of Zebra Regencies there, but no Signet Regencies! Grr…

Cara (in England at the moment)

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

Wow. That is interesting, Cara. That would probably have been The Improper Wife!

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