Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's a Tough Job...

I've written more than a dozen books set during the Regency period, but each book poses different questions. Each book requires a bit of research. Some books require a lot of research. Fortunately, Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend didn't require the sort of tedious research some books do. I can't even complain too much because a lot of my research involved looking at sparkly jewels. Like this necklace I sent to the cover designers, hoping they'd use it on the cover.


As you can see, I think it did inspire the artists. The one they used is even prettier and more interesting, in my opinion.

At one point, I had to do a bit of research on sapphires themselves. I found out they come in many different colors, including pink!
And then there were the pretty people. Sometimes I like an image of my characters in my head, and I'd had these images of Lily and Darlington in my head from the very first book in the series. This is how I pictured Lily, who's a redhead and called The Countess of Charm.


But this picture of Darlington was my absolute favorite. I think the cover designers did a great job of capturing the idea I had of him in my mind. Tell me he doesn't look like a debauched Regency gentleman.
Of course, I had to do some real research. The series was inspired by a real life courtesan, who was actually an English spy during the French Revolution. Grace Dalrymple Elliott was a very famous courtesan in her day, who birthed an illegitimate daughter rumored to be the daughter of the Prince of Wales himself.


I had to do a bit of research on clothing, as I always do for each novel. At one point, Lily and Andrew go riding and I did look at a few riding habits in order to describe hers for the reader. Here's one illustration I consulted.


And another.
And if you're interested in how all of this research plays out in the novel? Pre-order it before February 28 (hurry!) and receive a free gift PLUS the exclusive, not-in-the-book epilogue.







 

19 comments:

  1. Oooh, love the necklace, Shana! :) Love the cover! Can't wait to read! :)

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    1. Thanks, Terry. I love that necklace too. If I had it, I'd have to buy new clothes to wear with it!

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  2. Love that you were inspired by Grace Elliot. Me too. Do you know she once saved a French gentleman from the guillotine by hiding him under her mattress? She entertained the police with witty banter from among her pillows while they searched her house for him. And later was imprisoned in France herself. A lady of character that had nothing to do with how she made her living.

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    1. I do know that story, Mia. I read it and also watched a movie about her life where the scene was very well portrayed. She is such a fabulous historical character.

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  3. Gorgeous necklace! The costumes of the day were so beautiful, but man, it must have been hell on a hot day with no air conditioning?

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    1. So true, Ashlyn. I think it was more often cold in England, but all those poor English ladies in India!

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  4. Very cool! I love to see this kind of behind-the-scenes inspiration. I had no idea sapphires came in so many colors.

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    1. The things you learn doing research! I think on my Pinterest board, I also have a pretty purple sapphire ring.

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  5. Your covers are always lovely. I think women back then should have gotten credit for riding sidesaddle and with those long dresses - that looks so hard to do!!!

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    1. No, kidding! Who was REALLY the accomplished rider, right?

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  6. Thanks for sharing your inspiration and research. Is the redhead Emma Stone (in her redhead days)? Darlington...well, obviously I need your book to fall further in love.

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    1. Yep, Emma Stone. I fell in love with that picture and knew it was my Andrew!

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  7. I'm in awe of regency writers and all the research. Love all of your covers and your titles!

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  8. Gorgeous cover, love the sapphire necklace (both the one you found, and the one they used).

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    1. Sigh. I wish I could own one...both...either!

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  9. Those pink sapphires are gorgeous! :) The research on riding habits and Grace Dalrymple Elliott are very interesting too; I always knew that such roles existed though it seems at times far-fetched. lol

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    1. It does seem far-fetched, but truth is stranger than fiction!

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  10. By the way, see more on my Pinterest board...
    http://www.pinterest.com/shanagalen/sapphires-are-an-earls-best-friend/

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