When I first began taking my Texas ladies to England’s shores, I had to do quite a bit of research about the Victorian period in order to understand how things would go for them. One of the best research books I found was How to Marry an English Lord. It went into quite a bit of detail about American heiresses’ obsession with marrying English lords. And English lords, many of whom had fallen into an impoverished state as a result of changing times changing their income, were quite happy to provide these ladies with a title in exchange for a nice settlement.
I saw one political cartoon of the time that showed an old, crotchety looking fellow–obviously an aristocrat–kneeling before a young, haughty woman. The caption read, “American heiresses, what will you bid?” It was, of course, making sport of the American obsession with the nobility.
What will you bid? That phrasing stayed with me for a while and one day, I had a vision of a penniless aristocrat who didn’t want to bother with courtship. Being pragmatic, he invited all the American fathers, who he was certain were tired of the Season, and told them that he’d marry the daughter of the man willing to pay the best settlement. The auction began, and he finds himself betrothed to the one daughter he’d hoped not to marry. Of course! Could it be any other way?
And so Just Wicked Enough came to be. I was really in the mood to write a dark, brooding hero, and Michael Tremayne was agreeable to the role.
As a writer, I always feel like I should be in charge of the characters, but the truth is that they’re usually the ones in charge–down to the minutest detail, including their names. I recently was struggling with writing a story, changed the hero’s name, and the story flowed along swimmingly after that. Who would have thought something so simple could provide such a stumbling block?
Have you ever read a novel and thought–this character’s name is wrong? Who was the character and what should his name have been?
PS. I thoroughly enjoy writing my stories set in England, but as you may know my earlier stories were set in Texas–which I also thoroughly enjoyed writing. My mom was British, my dad a Texan, so I’m quite fond of both settings. But going back to my earlier writing roots (although before I wrote my first Texas-set book, I was writing medieval-set stories–did you know that?), I recently joined forces with a group of writers who write westerns and we just launched http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com. Its purpose is to provide a place where readers who love western romance can find information on the latest books and writers of romance can find sources. It’s a lovely group of ladies, and I’m pleased to be included with them. I hope you’ll drop by and visit. We have a very yummy cowboy puzzle that you can have fun with.