Oh Good Grief! I have two manuscripts almost finished, my mermaid sequel is just at the ’round everything up in a fantastic finale stage’ and my lovely, clean, traditional Regency is finished and just at the editing stage which is usually the most fun. Yet all I can do is stare out of the window like a schoolgirl studying for her GCSEs. Why are they always in June anyway? Is there a month less conducive to diligent study? Exams should be in March with Christmas well out of the way and nothing else to do but read.
I’ve promised myself I will take the whole of August as a holiday from writing but I’m not sure I’ll make it until then.
My new Regency has a very long history. Mistaken Marriage was originally written 34 years ago as the third in a three book deal with my first publisher. However, in the meantime, I had obtained a much more lucrative contract with a New York publisher. I have to admit I rushed Mistaken Marriage a bit in order to fulfill my obligations in the UK and get on with the new book. Not unnaturally, my publisher rejected it. However, every now and again I’d pull it out and have another look. Last year I decided it had some merit and began to seriously rework the whole thing. It has now metamorphosed into The Foolish Heart, the hero and heroine are significantly older, and a tedious subplot has been removed.
Any reader who has studied the Regency will instantly recognise that my hero is based on Beau Brummell. Brummell fascinates me. Here is a man who not only led Society by the nose in his day, but the rules he laid down for gentlemen’s fashion are still followed all over the world in the 21st century. Although men’s sports and leisure wear has descended into a kind of permanent toddlerhood , for business and formal occasions men, from New York to Hong Kong, still dress according to his rules: black, dark blue, charcoal grey jackets with either self coloured trousers (the suit) or pale coloured trousers (smart casual). I am only too well aware that his ruling on a clean shirt every day is still in force because, before I rebelled, I was doing laundry for the three males in my household who would all rather be dead than seen in the same shirt two days running.
Brummell wasn’t just a clothes horse. He was a very great wit, an artist and a poet. My hero, unfortunately for him, only has me to write his witty epithets and so, in that respect, he falls far short of his progenitor. I apologise to him and to my readers, but I did my best.
My heroine, I don’t apologise for. I think she is delightful and deserves her eventual happiness.
Much of my information on Beau Brummell comes from Ian Kelly’s marvelous book Beau Brummell, the Ultimate Dandy (US title: The Ultimate Man of Style). I highly recommend it to lovers of history, fashion and the Regency in particular.
Amazon.com: Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style
Amazon.co.uk: Beau Brummell
Amazon.de: Beau Brummell