on A New Passion
Too many years ago I decided to make a big leap and write a historical set in the Regency period. I'm a huge Georgette Heyer fan. I had resisted such a project knowing I could never emulate her comedy of manners style. But there was no reason why I could not screw up my courage and write the kind of story I always write except set it 200 years ago. History has always been my favorite subject. The change in direction seemed to be a natural progression in my growth as a writer.
I often write about military heroes and have been fascinated with the Napoleonic Wars since I read Desiree and Ride With Me in high school. With that in mind, I came up with a story set against the backdrop of the Peninsular War. Research into uniforms led me time and again to the Sharpe TV series. The 95th Regiment (Rifles) stirred a desire to learn more. Mark Urban's Wellington's Rifles and Georgette's The Spanish Bride answered questions and set me off in new directions. Before I knew it I had developed a passion for stories about the war.
My research library continues to grow. In a house where I already "fight" with my husband for shelf space--I don't have a quarter of the bookcases he does--my new passion is a bit of a problem. We'll solve it one way or another. At least he doesn't attempt to discourage my collecting. The big problem is who gets to read my Peninsular War books first. He is a military historian by avocation, but the Peninsular War is not his area of expertise--yet.
Why does a romance writer need to know about military battles in depth? I probably don't, but the more I know the richer a story becomes. The only drawback is slapping my fingers and not boring my readers with more information than the story requires.