There is no doubt that the outside world seeps into our stories — even in a Regency. You have only to look at Mary Balogh’s excellent Survivor series to see that. Her characters are all recovering from various injuries that are a result of the Peninsular wars, from blindness to classic PTSD trauma. She makes it work in her Regency world but every reader has to make the comparison with today’s veterans.
The impact on my writing is not quite as obvious. At least I don’t think it is. So I am going to share one with you. And want to know yours as a writer and a reader.
When I started writing Lovers Kiss in 2006 I was enjoying a Bible Study class led by one of the most amazing women I know, Marika Ullanowicz. She brought a fascinating, often unconventional perspective to whatever we studied and many of her thoughts and the resulting discussions made their way into Lover’s Kiss.
The most enduring is the phrase “You stupid Galatians.” The King James Bible as well as the New American Bible translates the phrase from the Greek as “You Senseless Galatians” (3:1) but Marika suggested that we look at the literal translation which is — ta da — Stupid. We all laughed at this and discussed how that was so much more Paul than the more temperate word “senseless.”
So the phrase “stupid Galatians” became the ultimate insult the resident and aging vicar used as he searched through the night for lost sheep, a sure sign of his age and the need for him to retire. Michael Garrett finds him out wandering one evening and as Michael escorts the vicar home they have the same discussion re the translation of the word and the vicar’s conviction that stupid is much more appropriate.
When they reach the vicar’s home Michael leaves the old man in the care of the housekeeper and as he departs Michael says to her “Do tell him I am sorry he found no lost sheep tonight.”
The housekeeper responds, “Oh, but he did. He found you.” And that is the first step on Michael’s road “home” and the current series I am working on where Michael Garret is now the Vicar of Pennsford and dealing with both stupid Galatians and lost sheep.
But I digress. In the current wip “Stupid Galatians” has become his family’s most forceful condemnation referring always to someone who is on the wrong path and totally unaware.
That’s a long story for a short phrase but a favorite of mine. Tell me, authors, what parts of your world have made their way into your historicals, or contemporaries? And as a reader tell us about a book that has connected most directly to something in your world?
I love this insight into Lover’s Kiss and Michael Garrett. And the passage you quoted about the housekeeper saying “He found you” was one of those moments in reading where one stops and savors the moment. What a brilliant connection.
For my own writing, I think I take bits and pieces of my life and people I’ve known and reconnect them. In my Diane Perkins book, The Improper Wife, I based parts of the father on my father. Not exactly, but partly. All of my soldier heroes are based on what I learned being the daughter of an Army Colonel. And more recently in A Lady of Notoriety, I explored the notion of beauty–how beautiful people, especially women, have their own challenges to face in life. How beauty is both an asset and a curse. (not that I’m one of the beautiful people, but I’ve known some who are)
Thanks, Diane. I am guessing your Dad was career military. That does have a profound effect on a family’s life. I appreciate you sharing something so personal.