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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Researching for fun facts

I’m a research junkie. Love, love, love digging. Pride myself on researching each book I write, CAREFULLY, and so far I’ve had no objections from fans or reviewers. Cross my fingers on keeping it tup. What’s more, I thoroughly enjoy researching. I did more research before writing Spies and Roses than any of my other books. Although I don’t start any book until I’ve researched the time period, whether a true historical or not. The year is 1815, right before the battle of Waterloo. The hero and heroine have a hard time agreeing on anything, but together they must decipher a coded message to save Wellington’s life. The battle of Waterloo fascinated me and I’ve included the battle scene in the ending. Now I’m waiting to see if anyone disagrees with any of the details. Also had to learn about codes, since the hero has to break the critical code in order to save Wellington. Codes are fascinating, but hard for me to make one up that worked. Fortunately I have a mathematical son who helped me.
Sometimes I jot down a few lines to suggest the opening scene but no serious writing until I get anchored in the mood of the period. Clothing, current events, etc. For Love is New, my first historical romance is set in the same time period. The time is 1814-1815, and that book is all about the gorgeous heroine and handsome hero trying to foil the wicked villain. And boy, is that villain wicked. He’s not only trying to help Napoleon escape from Elba, he’s sadistic. You’ll purely hate him.

Every nuance of any book has to be accurate or a reader will let you know. I found myself completely fascinated by the complex character of Napoleon, in fact I’ve just been checking a book stating that Napoleon’s hemorrhoids were responsible for the disastrous delay of the final battle of Waterloo. According to this account pain kept him from mounting his horse and so he spent hours reviewing his troops on foot in hopes he’d feel better. This gave Wellington badly needed time to join forces with his allies and possibly allowed him to win the battle. Certainly Napoleon fled the scene in a carriage, not his horse. Interesting to speculate, isn’t it, and an example of what fascinating stuff you can find when you start digging.

Another interesting thing about Napoleon is how differently he’s viewed. I have a French friend who thinks he’s the greatest hero France ever produced, so I tred carefully around her.

My Druid and Mage books all required extensive research into mythology and history and the powers these fantastic people were alleged to possess. My characters in the Mage books are direct descendants of Merlin and Lady of the Lake and inherit their powers. In the first series the Druids are descendants of a Druid priestess, in the Mage series from Merlin. I’m just finishing book eight in the Mage series tentatively named Double Love and each of those series books has been wonderful fun. Three of this series are due out yet this year from Passion in Print.

But I LOVE reading and writing historicals. I’ve definitely got one or two churning in my mind right now. One has a little leeway in paranormal books, but in historicals you must stick strictly to the facts. Easy to put my rather active imagination into the sex scenes, so I can let loose there.. Weaving the details of the clothing, mind-set, atmosphere is always fun. Would love to know what you think, so here’s a sample from Spies and Roses.

Don't have the cover for it yet, so will use the cover for Love is New.

"Josh reached a decision while she twisted the button on his coat. Unfortunately, most unfortunately, his annoying wife was right. If he could pass this trip off as a honeymoon he’d have a much better chance of reaching Wellington. He looked at her beguiling face, the face becoming so dear to him, and hesitated. Could he take a chance with her life, even to save Wellington? But might she be in more danger if he left her behind?
Sara saw the indecision on his face and moved in adroitly.
“I’ll follow your every instruction, Josh. Only let me go with you. I know I can help.”
From the tiny smile at the corner of her expressive mouth, he could tell she knew he was weakening. He mentally threw up his hands.
“Just a moment, my girl. I want you to know exactly what you’re proposing. If we go to Brussels as newlyweds on an ecstatic honeymoon, I’ll expect you to act accordingly. I’ll caress you in public, you will hang on my every word, and you’ll sleep in my bed at night. Every night. There will be no separate accommodations for a couple in love and newly wedded. I serve you notice that under those circumstances, I can’t promise to keep my vow not to force you.”
He couldn’t interpret the look on her face. It wasn’t the horror he’d expected, although she seemed a little surprised. She’d not thought this through, then. With thrilling satisfaction he saw she was not repulsed.
She took a deep breath and looked directly into his eyes.
“I accept your terms, my lord. All of them.”
He reached for her again and buried his face in her curls. Carrying her to her bed was only the beginning of his desire. Even drained as he was, he wanted to bury himself in her warm body and find the peace he’d not known since she invaded his life. He thought she’d submit to him. Vulnerable tonight, she’d try to please him.
He did not want to take her in such a manner. She must come to him because she wanted him.
He straightened.
“If we didn’t have to leave so early I’d do much more than give you a goodnight kiss. You tempt me unbearably, Sara, but for this one more night I’ll honor my word. Don’t count on any more.”
He folded her in his arms with a fervor he’d not previously allowed himself. He kissed her more deeply than ever, molding her hips flush against him so she had no doubt of his desire. He touched her lips with his tongue and when she opened to him plunged in with a rhythm forecasting the way he wanted to invade her body. She let him do as he willed, and he plundered her mouth, marveling at her sweetness and uninhibited fire. Reveling in the knowledge she was breathing as hard as he, Josh finally lifted his head, and smiled down at her.
“You’re a child from hell sent to sway me from the path I should take. I’m powerless to resist you once you’re near.” His voice grew serious as he held her eyes with his. “Take warning, wife. We will be thrown together in great intimacy if you insist on going with me.”
She lifted her head, her voice husky, conveying at the same time both defiance and pleasure.
“I want to go with you,” she said.
He was a weaker man than he’d thought. Even though he was taking her into danger, he rejoiced she’d be with him.
He set her from him abruptly.
“We must be on the road before five in the morning. I wish to make Canterbury by evening, and leave Dover on the morning tide. Since we’ll be on our honeymoon, we’ll be entertained in Brussels. Take as many clothes as you deem necessary, but you’d better pack tonight. Leave instructions for your maid to waken you.”
His tone curt, he turned and strode to his own room. He was going to have hell’s own time trying to keep his lustful hands off her. Especially if she looked at him with those huge passionate eyes."


jean hart stewart said...

This was supposed to publish at 2:00 this morning. So sorry, I've had it finished for a week..Damn yahoo or whoever....Jean

Liz said...

while I don't normally turn to historical romance as my genre of choice, when I do read one, it's pretty obvious when an author has done his or her homework...or not. Refreshing to note how seriously you take yours Jean. I will certainly make a point to pick up one of your books soon! cheers

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks, Liz. I really like this group and am pulling for everybody in it...Jean

Paris said...

Research is part and parcel of any historical romance and it's always a delight when I find one that has been done well. Love your characters and your plot!

jean hart stewart said...

You're a sweetie, Paris. I'm partial to historicals too.

Cynthia Arsuaga said...

Hi Jean,
Don't you just hate when our hard work to write doesn't get published on time? LOL. It's up now and a great excerpt. I write paranormal but I still do research. I think it's important no matter what you write, but probably more on historical. Good job!

Bobbye Terry said...


I have to agree with you that the research is extensive for an historical justice, much more so, in my opinion, than any other genre. As Terry Campbell,I did co-write one novel set in the Civil War period. We have been complimented over and over again for our accuracy in detail. However, one reader mentioned we had the phase of the moon wrong. Never underestimate your reader.

Great blog!


Amber Skyze said...

I'm so glad there are authors like you who enjoy researching so I can read great books. Me, I hate research. :)

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks Cynthia... I'm so pleased to be getting comments and such nice ones...jean

jean hart stewart said...

Bobbye, that's a hoot. Never thought of looking up the phases of the moon. Something else to be careful about. I have checked the weather for the year I'm writing in, though

jean hart stewart said...

Cynthia, I couldn't agree more. I research my paranormals too, just not as extensively. Thanks for stoping by.

Sandy said...

Jean, I'm so sorry to be late, but I just had to come in and read your blog.

The research you did on Napoleon was astounding.

I loved your excerpt.

Yahoo has been giving me a fit lately, too.

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks,SAndy...So glad you could drop by, Jean

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