...you were there for most of it."
Yeah, and I still love the man. Lord knows why but I do.
Writing historicals, if I can slip in a little sci-fi or alternative action, well, that works for me. But, if I have to stick to the facts, I'm afraid I'm going have problems. Lot's of em. I've never read a historical romance novel. I have no interest in the accuracy of the history part of the book.
I have written two historicals, one a time traveling thing that isn't published yet and deals with the natives in my own area of the world. I'm not sure if that would be considered a historical though.
The other, a tale that takes place in the year 1898 in New Orleans. I enjoyed writing it immensely, but honestly, couldn't tell you how accurate I was with my scenario or language. This is due for re-release in January 2010 from Phaze, so you're getting a kind of sneak peak here of 'Of Death and Desire':
The train ride from Memphis to New Orleans took more out of Philip than Jonathan liked. His lover's health was deteriorating faster all the time, and even with the tonic and poultice applied every night, the man could scarcely catch his breath. He'd become so thin and frail it tore at Jonathan’s heart. He'd always been slender, but now his joints looked like knots of bone holding him together. His sharp-featured, fair-haired Adonis was fading before his eyes, and he, with all of his wealth and position, could do nothing to stop it.
Sitting next to him in the carriage, Jonathan ached to wrap an arm around the younger man's shoulders, but even in this city of sin he didn't dare. Dressed for travel in charcoal frockcoats, vests and slacks, both men were stifled. Philip reeked of sweat and his face shone with it. His high collar was soaked though and he finally took off his hat in hopes of cooling himself.
"We'll be there soon, Philip," Jonathan reassured and wished he could do, or say, more.
Philip looked at him, eyes bright with fever and nodded dismally.
The trip through the city center was horrid. New Orleans had a smell about it that never quite went away. Those who lived in the city became accustomed to the heavy humidity and its stench of decay from the brackish water of the gulf and Mississippi River. Those visiting never could.
Half an hour later, Jonathan helped Philip from the carriage and walked beside him to the steps leading to their vacation retreat's front doorway. It was an impressive building surrounded by ancient oak trees with long, wispy beards of Spanish moss sweeping the well-manicured lawns and cobbled walkways. Flower beds of every variety and color imaginable filled the air with an almost cloying sweetness, nearly masking the scent of the delta, until a breeze swept by and magically the heady perfume disappeared. The two-story house had wrought iron railings on the second story balcony, and shutters bracketed each of the tall windows.
Cobblestone paths meandered around the lawn and around several large bushes, leading to who knew where, but at that moment all he could think of was getting Philip inside and into bed. The man was beyond tired and stumbled ahead only as Jonathan pushed him. The front stairs were mountainous and Jonathan all but carried his lover up them. Finally they stumbled across the wide porch and reached the door. With his arm around the sagging man’s waist, he reached in his jacket pocket for the key his friend Cecil had sent him. He fumbled for a moment with the unfamiliar lock, but soon pushed one of the large, beautifully carved wooden doors wide.
A blast of cool air enveloped him. Beside him, Philip shuddered and straightened. Jonathan felt his ribs expand and knew he was taking in a deep breath of that refreshing cool air. It seemed to give him strength for a moment and he shook himself loose of the helpful embrace, walking into the foyer under his own questionable steam.
* * *
I think the characters were what really made the story come to life for me. That and the mystery. The actual time of the thing, to me, wasn't as important as the love the characters had for each other and the willingness of one to give up what he most treasured in order to be with his lover again.
What brings a story to life for you? Does it matter what era or the dress? I'd love to know.