August 1st means we’d better get moving on our Summer To Do Lists! Was “Read a Novel” on yours? If so, I hope my 2012 Spring Into Summer Romance Book Blast gave you some great ideas. If you’re looking for one final book to consider, Mary Hart Perry is here today to discuss the first book in her upcoming series starring the five daughters of Queen Victoria: THE WILD PRINCESS, which released just yesterday from Avon! 🙂
Imagine chasing through the foggy streets of London in a horse-drawn carriage…
Thanks, Jill, for inviting me to visit today! I’m one of those readers who loves all forms of fantasy–but what I use most in my writing these days involves history. The make believe I weave usually has its roots in the real world…but also in the past, one in particular.
I confess: I’ve fallen in love with the Victorian era. That chunk of time, the 63 years during which Queen Victoria ruled, ended right about at the turn of the 19th century. And it was such an exciting time of change and new inventions that it’s fun to use it as the setting for a story. Imagine chasing through the foggy streets of London in a horse-drawn carriage, dressed in red silk or a black bombazine gown with a perky veiled hat perched on your head, matching gloves, and adorable ankle-laced shoes. The clothes alone and mode of transportation were enough to die for. I love getting lost in the era that’s now the basis for Steampunk. Perhaps it’s my childhood fascination with the Sherlock Holmes stories that keeps pulling me back into that time, and into exciting adventures.
My other recent obsession is royalty. The glamour and mystery involved in royal personalities and their family relationships has come front and center in the press, in recent years. My heart went out to Princess Diana’s two little boys when she died in that terrible car accident. And now her sons are grown–one marrying and the other getting himself into scrapes, just like ordinary families who have their own times to celebrate and kids who sometimes make their parents proud or create mischief. I wanted to find out more about Victoria’s royal family, thinking that perhaps there might be some interesting material to inspire stories of a Victorian thriller nature. I wasn’t disappointed.
I found that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had nine kids before he died as a relatively young man. Of the nine, five were princesses and four princes. And they didn’t always behave as they should have. Victoria was no angel either. (One wonders what she and her brawny Scott, John Brown, were up to in Buckingham Palace after Albert was no longer in the picture–hmmmm.) As I read more about the relationships and personalities in the family, along with the many scandalous rumors connected with them, I became most intrigued by the fourth daughter, Princess Louise. The Court called her the “wild child” of the family, because she was stubborn and insisted on getting her own way. In reality, she just wanted a life of her own choosing. She wanted to become an artist and be trained as men were trained in the arts…which wasn’t accepted by the queen or society of the times. But although she eventually convinced her mother to send her to art school with “commoners”, like many young people she made some mistakes along the way to her calmer adult years.
It’s her teen years and 20’s that I used in The Wild Princess, adding in plausible fiction details to give her an interesting adventure to share with readers. Of course, since I’m a sucker for romance, I needed to give Louise a hero who was worthy of her. And so I gave her an American Civil War officer, newly appointed to the queen’s Secret Service. I gave them both a dangerous mission, too; it’s up to them to foil a deadly plot by Irish revolutionaries. No matter what kind of fantasy you enjoy, I hope you’ll join Louise as she takes on love and danger in London in the not-so-distant past.
Meanwhile, I’ll be back at home in the Washington, DC area, working on the next book in this series of Victorian thrillers–this one featuring Beatrice, the baby of the family. And if you’d like to contact me, you can find me on Facebook. Or follow me on Twitter @Mary_Hart_Perry. Or check out my website: http://www.maryhartperry.com.
Do you have a favorite historical era? Let me know why it’s special to you. I’d love to hear from you.
Mary, thank you for giving us a peek into what inspired you to write about Princess Louise. She sounds like a heroine that would be fun to read about. Readers, how about it? Do you have a favorite historical era? If so, what do you love about it? Are you a royalty watcher? (If so, Mary’s got a page for you on her website under “Fun Stuff”). Do you wish you had a horse-drawn carriage and a red silk dress or a black bombazine gown? (I do!)