>Kate Noble is fast making a name for herself as a rising star in the world of historical authors. Her books have been compared to Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare and Laura Kinsale. Please welcome Kate for today’s Pleasure Me With Romance guest post.
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What’s in your Reticule?
First of all, thank you Monica so much for having me to the blog! You’ve collected such a wonderful array of authors here, I feel like we should all have a cocktail in hand and be wearing fabulous little black dresses, while chatting and eating canapés…
But instead, I’m in my sweats and endlessly typing. Being neck deep in the middle of my next series, I thought I’d talk about one of the hardest (for me, at least) and yet most rewarding aspects of storytelling: building character.
When creating a character from the ground up, an author has to take into account a lot of things, including but not limited to: their families, their hair color, their upbringing, the period they live in, any hobbies they may have, their passions, sense of humor (or lack thereof), goals and dreams. Inevitably, some of these characteristics will come out in physical ways: someone who is wealthy is going to have a very expensive wardrobe. Someone who loves to ride horses is going to have a physique that matches.
The Summer of You
Lady Jane Cummings is certain that her summer is ruined when she is forced to reside at isolated Merrymere Lake with her reckless brother and ailing father. Her fast-paced London society is replaced with a small town grapevine. But one bit of gossip catches Jane’s attention—rumors that the lake’s brooding new resident is also an elusive highwayman.
Follow My Lead
Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne is feeling the weight of his responsibilities – one of which is to get married. Being the most sought after bachelor in London can be trying, so who can blame him if he seeks refuge from the voracious hordes of young debutantes at the decidedly female-free Historical Society? Female-free, that is, until Winnifred Crane marches up to the door, demanding entrance.
Despite her prowess as a historian, Winn is denied membership in the Society. So she daringly offers an unusual bargain: if she can prove the authenticity of a certain painting, she’ll be granted recognition, fame, and respect. But to do that, she must go abroad. And to go abroad, she must have an escort, even a stubbornly unwilling one…
Jason has no desire to accompany Winn on her adventure across Europe, but even he is not immune to Winn’s passion for her profession. As the journey proves more difficult than planned, they must work together to stay one step ahead of their rivals…. and the closer they get to the proof Winn seeks, the closer she and Jason become. But as their adventure turns dangerous, can Jason keep this headstrong bluestocking safe? And what will become of their growing bond when the adventure ends?
I know my heroes and heroines so well – heck, I live with them for months on end — that I end up creating opinions, personality traits, and informational tidbits that never even make it to the page. This stuff is just for me: it may not make it into the story verbatim, but it does help inform the way I write the character. My favorite tidbit I make sure I know about each of my heroines is what is in their handbag.
Or, since I write historical romance, I call it “What’s in her reticule?”
Knowing what is in someone’s reticule is shorthand for knowing what’s important to them. What they need, what they use. For example, Lady Jane Cummings is forced to go to her family’s summer estate in the north of England while caring for her ailing father. I decided that in her reticule would be:
- A copy of her father’s schedule, so she could monitor his care
- Money, that she could use in Reston – the nearby village where she is expected to patronize the local shopkeepers
- A small mirror — she is, admittedly, a little vain.
- A pebble, that she picked up on the lakeside path, where she unexpectedly met Byrne Worth. – In the book we never see her pick up this stone, but I decided she would have, being as she’s the kind of person to be secretly sentimental.
This is very different from what is in the reticule of Winnifred Crane, the heroine of my next book, Follow My Lead, coming May 3rd, 2011. Winn is a very headstrong, stubborn person, determined to make her own way in the world of Academia. To do this, she has to go on a cross-country adventure, with the highly reluctant Duke of Rayne in tow, who’s determined to protect her.
In my mind, Winn has the following in her reticule (or, her valise, as most reticules are little more than change-purse sized):
- every single bit of money she has – travel is very expensive, after all.
- as many books as she can carry (if she were a modern girl, she would be all up on the eReaders)
- a change of clothes, interchangeably practical with the outfit she has on.
- a bread roll, stolen from breakfast that morning – after all, when you’re moving quickly, you never know if you might be skipping the next meal.
- a tin pocket watch, that was her father’s. Personal, yes, but utterly practical.
As you can see, the contents of someone’s reticule tells me in few words, but great detail, just exactly who that woman is, and what she holds dear. It helps me as the author get to know her, so I can tell her story the fullest possible way.
So, what’s in your reticule (er, handbag) and what do you think it says about you?
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