Bestselling Author of Regency Historical Mysteries
The Inspiration Behind the Series
I confess, given that my academic expertise in science ended in 9th grade biology class (you know, the one with formaldehyde, dead frogs and very sharp knifes!) So it might strike you as rather strange that science plays a big role in the plot of both Murder on Black Swan Lane and Murder at Half Moon Gate, the first two books of my Regency-set mystery series. (And I’m delighted to announce that I’ve just signed to do two more books in the series, so stay tuned!).
I have an art background, which may seem like the polar opposite from the world of laboratories, microscopes and bubbling chemicals. I thought the same thing until I read a marvelous book called the Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. In it, he talks about how during the Regency era, the artists and scientists all thought of themselves as kindred souls. Exploration and discovery required imagination and creative thinking—painters, poets, chemists, astronomers—they all pushed themselves to think outside the box.
Hmmm, I thought . . . these are just the same qualities required to unravel diabolical mysteries. So it suddenly struck me that having a scientist and an artist could be a really fun combination. In the Earl of Wrexford and Charlotte Sloane, I’ve sought to create two lead characters who embody the intellectual curiosity—and gritty courage—of the times. They are opposites: a brooding aristocrat whose extraordinary mind runs on the rational new principles of scientific inquiry, paired with a struggling artist whose innate cleverness and intuition are the keys to her survival. Forced to work together, Wrexford and Charlotte find they make a formidable team, despite their differences. (Ah, but as science tells us, opposites often attract!)
Okay, now I have a second confession to make—I may not be a science expert, but I’m a total Regency history geek. So it was great fun researching science during the era. Like in our own times, new discoveries and new technology were changing society. The top scientists were the hot celebrities. All the trendy people flocked to heard the public lectures at the Royal Institution, the leading scientific society in London. And yes, there were science groupies! The charismatic Humphry Davy (he’s pretty dishy, isn’t he?), the most famous chemist of the day, routinely had love letters and invitations for private hanky-panky—often wrapped in frilly undergarments—delivered backstage! (There are several scenes in my book set at the Royal Institution—I hope they will forgive me for creating intrigue and skullduggery within their hallowed halls!) You can read more about some of the real-life scientists of the Regency in the “Diversions” section. Just click here.
Now, on to more Regency goodies . . .
I also hope you’ll enjoy doing more exploring in the Diversions section here, which features some fun background on the Regency
and some of the people and places who appear in my books.
Just a few other things on logistics: The BLOG button in the social media icons will connect you to The Word Wenches, where Mary Jo Putney, Joanna Bourne, Susanna Kearsley, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Nicola Cornick, Susan Fraser King and I blog about books, history, the craft of writing, and just about anything else you can think of! And in the BLOG section here on this website I’ll be musing occasionally on Writing and . . . any other Quirk of Life that strikes my fancy.
And lastly, you can click on the links in the sidebar to connect to my other alter egos! I write traditional Regency romances under the pen name of Andrea Pickens. And I write Regency historical romances—which have more spice than the trads—as Cara Elliott.
Have you ever wondered where authors get the inspiration for their heroes and heroines? Well, I have an art background, so I’m a very visual person and love to look at historical paintings to help me picture my characters. You can see other seductive men and alluring women on my Pinterest boards.
Please check back often and say hi!