Some folks write great historicals that include very detailed information about the era in question. They’ll include everything from specific accounts of political events to how cooks prepared meals in the Medieval Era, on the Western Frontier, or in Ancient Rome. Whether it’s how they did laundry, polished armor, or got the Queen awake and dressed, I really don’t care that much about it. If I want to know about political intrigue, I’ll turn on the TV to one of the 24-hour news outlets. I have enough reality in my day to day life. That’s not why I read.
I like to read – and write- books where history either sets the mood or sets the bar. The Regency period conjures images of one set of rules and expectations. A civil-war era Texas ranch or Charleston mansion conjures an entirely different set of images, rules and social mores. I find it fun to use history as wallpaper to set the mood and then bring in characters to knock down the wall.
It must be the Rebel in me, but I like to read and write about characters that push the limits and defy expectations. Of course, I enjoy it most when my hero or heroine is behaving badly because they’re madly in love, or willing to break every rule to get back the one who got away.
I admire writers who can construct carefully crafted historicals. I cheer for readers who have the patience to wade through them. They’re not my cup of tea. I want to escape the details and routine of my life when I read or write. Give me lust and love, danger and desire, rowdy fights and ravenous make-up sex.
The real world lives at my desk, behind the wheel of my car, on the television news and outside my window. Keep it out of my books.