Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Tasha Alexander | How I Choose the Setting for my Books
Author Guest / October 25, 2010

When I sat down to begin the fifth installment in my Lady Emily series, I thought very seriously about where to set the book. Location is an essential tool when writing about continuing characters, not only because it provides the opportunity to introduce readers to another place, but also because it gives the author a chance to drop her creations into a new environment, one that exposes them to a broader, different world. A world that can be difficult, but one that in the end allows them to grow. Because in Dangerous to Know, Emily is recovering from the ghastly wounds inflicted upon her at the end of Tears of Pearl, I wanted to send her somewhere idyllic and beautiful. But I also wanted it to be a place where terrible secrets could be hidden. Normandy proved the perfect choice. Its sweeping landscapes look straight out of an Impressionist painting, and dotted throughout I found the ruins of châteaux, crumbling medieval abbeys, and rambling houses that screamed for ghosts. I spent a good portion of last summer researching and writing there, getting to know the area, the people, and the food. It was Author Heaven (especially if, like me, you’re…

Tasha Alexander | Reality Bites…or What Was It Really Like in Victorian England?
Uncategorized / September 2, 2009

Being a historical novelist has its perks and pitfalls. The perks? Being able to work in pajamas is probably my favorite. I love the travel that comes with the job–whether it’s when I’m on the road meeting readers or embarking on a research trip. I love being to stay up till four in the morning writing and getting to sleep late (mornings have never been good for me; I’m much more coherent in the middle of the night). And I love the reading my work requires–poring over diaries and letters written by Victorian woman, studying the history of the time. It’s this perk that leads to a pitfall–a pitfall that is one of the hardest things to deal with when writing historical fiction. Often, when you study history, you find that the actual truth does not always match with modern ideas of what the past was like. We like to think we know the Victorians–how they were prudes who never let any female out of the house without a chaperone and admonished their daughters to lie back and think of England. None of which is quite true. According to Michael Mason’s fantastic book, The Making of Victorian Sexuality, in the…

Tasha Alexander | Dare to Dream
Uncategorized / February 7, 2008

When I first started writing, I hardly dared to dream. I banged away on a semi-decrepit laptop in my attic apartment in New Haven, Connecticut (yes, really, an attic…servants’ quarters, actually; I kept looking with no success for the butler…), working on my debut novel, And Only to Deceive, with only the briefest someday-maybe-if-I’m-good-and-lucky-this-will-get-published thoughts. I’d chosen the location for the novel carefully—wanted to use settings familiar to me. Places I’d actually been. I studied abroad in college, living in London, and that seemed an easy starting point. Two trips to Paris had cemented the city in my soul, and a recent visit to Greece had wholly seduced me. I was confident I could capture the essentials of each location. But what next? I’d joked for a long time that my writing career was a thinly veiled attempt to justify my travel plans, but I’d never really let myself believe that someday, just maybe, I could be an author and jet about the world on research trips. I kept those thoughts far from my brain, focusing instead on writing. It’s the best thing an aspiring author can do—nothing is more important than crafting the best books possible—while all the while…