I’d like to welcome bestselling author Sharon Lathan to Thoughts in Progress today.
As a special treat today, Sharon will be giving away a signed copy of “My Dearest Mr. Darcy” to one lucky person who comments on her post between now and 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. Those wishing to be entered in the contest must include their e-mail address in their comments. Sharon will selected a lucky winner from one of those commenting.
Sharon could you tell us how you incorporate historical facts into your novels and how it came about?
I no longer remember when the idea of Darcy and Lizzy visiting the seacoast first occurred to me. Faint glimmers probably began with the numerous references to holidays at Bath and Brighton that are scattered throughout any article that even touches upon the Regency. Much like appearing in London for the Season, leisurely vacationing and socializing at a beachfront locale was an expectation among the ton.
Yet right off I knew they would not visit any of the popular resorts. I wanted to be unique! Finally, after exhaustive research, I settled on Norfolk. Combining historical facts about the fame of Great Yarmouth with creative license, the Darcys ended up a few miles north at a lavish resort on the bluffs of Caister-on-Sea. I became so immersed and fascinated by the history of the region, the wonders in nature by sea and land, and the wealth of possible activities that what I imagined being a one or two chapter jaunt ended up being six!
As I always do when writing of the Darcys living their life, I wove romance and healthy doses of drama with loads of historical information and enlightenment. Of course you must read My Dearest Mr. Darcy to learn of all the fun to be had, but let me share some tidbits to pique your interest.
Silhouettes: Named for the despised French finance minister in pre-Revolutionary France who was so miserly and horrid at his job that anything cheap was labeled, “a la Silhouette.” Cutting shaded profiles from paper was an inexpensive, faster method of capturing a person’s image and grew as a popular art form in the late 1700s onward. Silhouettists gravitated to tourist areas, like Bath and Brighton, and were frequently invited to parties of the wealthy to trace the guests.
Nelson Monument: Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson was born in Norfolk and the first of this great Englishman’s several monuments was erected in Great Yarmouth. Luckily for me, the first stones were laid in 1817 upon land that had originally formed part of the Militia Barracks on the South Dene. Also lucky for me was the horseracing track at those barracks! Lizzy and Darcy were able to tour the foundation of Nelson’s monument and then have a bit of fun betting on the horses.
Hot air ballooning: In 1783 the first manned-flight of any kind took place in Paris, France in a balloon filled with heated air designed by the Montgolfier brothers. In 1785 a manned balloon crossed the English Channel and you might say the rest is history! It would remain an extremely dangerous undertaking for a long while to come, but brave souls like Englishman James Sadler paved the way for other balloonist like the one who takes off from Great Yarmouth while the Darcys are there to observe.
The Norfolk Broads: A network of navigable rivers and lakes, the Broads are utterly unique, and today a protected national park. The peat wetlands that span over 100 square miles are simply amazing with diverse wildlife, rich history, and stunning beauty. Writing the Darcys driving through this lush landscape was a must.
Touring Caister Castle, attending a magic lantern show, walking to the end of a classic wooden pier, dining in a new-fangled restaurant, and interacting with the other guests combined to keep the Darcys quite busy! Still, it isn’t a truly romantic holiday at the beach if the lovers do not enjoy the sunrise and sunset, right?
Nestling onto a blanket spread over the soft sand as the sun first shows her face and touches the rippling waves of an ocean in a blaze of glorious colors is a universal delight, and certainly an occasion I was not going to allow the Darcys to miss. J Additionally, the flat western horizon with an expanse of wide waterways means that sunsets in this area of Norfolk are nearly as spectacular as the sunrises. Indeed, a romance writer’s dream comes true.
So of course I wrote my somewhat clichéd interludes near the surging surf! I figured we women never tire of that sort of ideal. In fact, I bet you can readily recall a beach-themed romantic scene from a book or movie – and From Here to Eternity is too easy! Any others?
Here's a book trailer video highlighting Sharon's wonderfully romantic, historically accurate series.
Sharon, thanks so much for guest blogging today and for sharing this information with us. The beach is a wonderful place to return to time and time again. I can see how the Darcy are drawn there. And adding historical facts to your novels is an extra bonus for your readers.
Don’t forget to leave your e-mail in your comments if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway for a signed copy of “My Dearest Mr. Darcy.” Sharon will also be stopping back by during the day to answer any questions you might have and respond to comments. For more information about Sharon and her novels, visit her Website at: www.darcysaga.net. She also blogs at Casablanca Authors blog.
Is there a spot your characters return to time and time again?