History/Historicals

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s a busy day here, bailing out from some heavy rains and flooding yesterday (my garage is a mess) and recuperating from my ballet class’s recital last weekend. My little students danced their routine perfectly, and were adorable in the bargain, and I’m so proud of them! Now I have to take more dance classes myself so I can keep up with them when lessons resume in July…

I’m also starting a new book which needs lots of research (it’s set in the world of the late Elizabethan theater!), and have been reading a lot lately, so I had a hard time summoning up the brain power to think of a blog topic for today. After reading Diane’s great history post yesterday, I thought of something I’d love to hear Risky visitors’ opinions about. I recently came across a review of my Laurel McKee book Countess of Scandal that said the reviewer didn’t like anything about it because she hates “real history” in historicals.

Now, like every writer, I wish every single reader would love-love-love all my books–as impossible as that dream is! But I certainly know there will always be people who don’t–I don’t like every book I read by any means, after all. But I puzzled over this one. If a reader doesn’t like history, wouldn’t they read romantic contemporary comedy, or romantic suspense, or vampire stories, or something else? I don’t like stories about serial killers, so I don’t read them.

But then I realized something–I tend to get lost in my own world of weird obsessions a lot (True Blood, salad caprese, finding the perfect pair of leopard-print shoes, or whatever), and my biggest obsession of all is history. It’s why I read historical romance and historical fiction and most of the non-fiction I choose. I love falling deep into a different world and feeling like I’m really there. As a reader, and a writer, it’s what I enjoy the most–using real events to create conflict and drama (as Diane did with Waterloo, or as my Laurel books do with Georgian Ireland!), and to believe in a setting and the characters who belong there (even if they’re the rebels of the era).

Yet maybe I do get lost too much in my own interests. Maybe other people want pretty clothes and fancy estates and that’s it. As I start this new project, though, it’s something I need to think about more as I work out the plot. Is this something people would want to read?

So, now it’s your turn! Why do you read historicals? What do you like to see in the stories? What plots or characters do you find yourself drawn to? What would you like to see more of?

And speaking of history–next month I’ll be at RomCon in Denver, and will be taking part in a workshop called “Stripping the Heroine,” all about what the well-dressed romance heroine will be wearing (I do like pretty clothes in historicals, too!). I’m so excited about it–it means I get new gowns!!! If you’re there too, come and find me and say hi (Risky Carolyn will be there, as well…)

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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