New project, new perspective

Seriously, it’s time to take the Christmas posts down! Though the real-life decorations have been packed away since early January, here on Ramblings of A Writer-Girl, it’s still December.

Yikes. Gotta change that, as well as post a new giveaway! Watch for details in my newsletter this weekend.

I do have an excuse, though.  I’ve been hard at work on The Thief of Hearts, my new historical romance. Beta reader notes have come back, and I’ve begun the search for a developmental editor.

But yesterday, while zoning out on social media, I ran across a blog post that really made me think.

The topic is how Georgette Heyer has defined the modern historical romance novel, for better and for worse.

As you might have guessed, the “worse” is the genre’s lack of diversity. While there were certainly plenty of people of color and various religions living in Regency and Victorian England, they’re pretty much invisible when it comes to HR. The same can be said for those with disabilities, and folks who aren’t part of the ton.

This isn’t a new topic of course, but reading it while I’m at work on a HR made me take a hard look at my own book. Sure enough, it’s pretty white. However, there are characters whose race is never defined. One in particular seems ripe for recasting, so I’m doing research to see how I might approach this.  What would his name be? What kind of backstory would he have? How would he relate to the other characters, and they to him?

A later chapter includes a young boy with an intellectual disability. Am I being respectful to this character, or unconsciously falling back on stereotypes?

So yeah, still lots of work to do.

But when it comes to economic diversity, I felt really encouraged. While the heroine comes from the aristocracy, she willingly joins a world that’s a lot more Dickens than Heyer. She falls in love with a street thief whose fortunes eventually change, but instead of becoming a self-made millionaire, or a duke’s long-lost son, he becomes a servant.

For a long time, I wondered if characters like these could find a place in Historical Romance. But butlers and schoolteachers deserve a happily ever after, just as much as dukes and duchesses. The great thing about self-publishing is there’s room for new and different stories. I can’t wait to share this one with you.

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3 thoughts on “New project, new perspective

  1. Janice Laird says:

    “This Earl is on Fire” by Vivienne Lorret is a Regency with a physically disabled heroine. One leg is a good couple of inches shorter than the other due to a childhood accident and she’s a wallflower as a result.

    • Elizabeth Harmon says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll add it to my TBR list. And as I think about it, I’ve read several historicals with heroes with disabilites, a Mary Balough Regency with a blind hero, and Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, with a hero who has Aspergers.

  2. Kathleen Bylsma says:

    Georgette Heyer introduced me to historicals at least 50 years ago. My memory may be faulty but I recall her mentioning and treating “others” as real people, with all the faults/goods thereunto.

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