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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

10 Things I Love About Writing Colonial History

This year, it’s a Colonial Christmas for me. Not only is Surrender being reissued a few weeks before Christmas, but I’ll be finishing Defiant right around the holiday. I’ll do a post soon about Colonial Christmas traditions. But for today, I thought I’d share with you why I love writing Colonial American romance.

And I do love it.

Although I do intend to try my hand at a few other periods of history, the one I enjoy most is America’s colonial history. Here’s are 10 reasons why:

10. There was no television. People turned to one another for entertainment, reading aloud, telling stories from memory, playing music, singing songs together at night.

9. It was the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, with science supplanting religious hatreds, Church control and medievalism. People were free to think for themselves, challenge old institutions, and create new ones.

8. The romance of old technology was still there — the chandler, the cheeser, the seamstress, the vintner, the milliner, the butcher, the rope maker, the sawyer, the blacksmith, the baker, the fish monger, the cooper, the poulterer and on and on.

7. The mix of cultures is fascinating, though often tragic. I’m not just talking about American Indians and whites. I’m also talking about the mix of Europeans, too — English, Scottish, Scots-Irish, German, French, Scandinavian, Dutch and so on. They had their own religions, their own customs. And somehow this mix of Europeans — often enemies back in the old country — managed to create communities and, eventually, build a nation.

6. The class conflict. That’s a strange thing to like, I guess, but that’s always something I include in my writing. Despite how it may seem in Romancelandia, most people were not nobility. Lords and ladies made up a tiny segment of society. The stratification was very strong in Europe. It was strong, too, in the Colonies, but the frontier eroded those boundaries, including the boundaries between men and women.

5. The clothes. They weren’t as absurd as the clothing from earlier in the 18th century, nor as ridiculous and comical as 17th-century attire. There’s something about a man with a queue and a tricorn that I find really sexy. Women’s gowns ranged from functional to works of art.

4. The women were strong, brave and skilled. They had to make clothing, cook, can, garden, treat all sicknesses — and give birth to many children at home, often without help.

3. The men were tough, skilled, and strong. They had to farm, care for animals, chop firewood, hunt and fight to keep their families alive.

2. The landscape was true wilderness, giving my characters something else to overcome besides the machinations of mere mortals. The wilderness is like another character in the story.

1. Men with muskets! Need I say more?

Only 21 days till MacKinnon’s Rangers muster once again and Surrender is back on bookshelves!


All excellent reasons, and makes me wish Surrender would get her sooner...especially the musket/Last of the Mohicans reference :)

landipan said...

You know,I just thought about it,and I'm pretty sure that you're books are the only colonial romances I've read! I think more authors should get more into colonial history,I really like the setting and the 'feel' of this time period thus far,plus it's nice to take a break from all the Lords,dukes,ladies etc. every once and awhile.

P.S Do you have any specific sites that give great clothing reference of this time period? I'm wanting to get into drawing some characters,maybe do a little fanart *hint hint*,and I want to get the clothing just right!

Hi, Booklover,

I'm glad you enjoyed my reasons. Yes, Hawkeye in LOTM is one big reason all by himself, isn't he? Talk about a big musket! ;-)

Hey, Landipan —

Here's a link to an interactive site that explains clothing based on gender and class. Have fun with it!

Also you can just google "18th century gowns." Some museums have amazing collections. Check out the "cloth of gold" gown. OMG!

I love fan art! ;-)

Dalila G. said...

What a great list of 10 things you enjoy about Colonial American Romance.
I have to agree with you on all counts, especially the 'mamly' men!
I don't think I've read very many books about this time period. Thank goodness you're around to make me happy!
Happily waiting for the release of DEFIANT!!!

Have a wonderful evening and do take care of yourself!

Dalila G. said...

OMGosh.....what a dork....manly not mamly!
It's late and I need my tea with my little 'extra' in it! LOL!

Dalila, that's a great typo because it almost changes the meaning of the word. :-)

And don't worry about typos. I make more than anyone but my sister, who is a typo hurricane.

I love manly men. Well, I love all kinds of men, but the men I'm attracted to tend to be on the masculine, know-how-to-use-a-gun, chopping firewood kind of men. Hey, I'm from Colorado. ;-)

Great list, Pamela, and I couldn't agree more about manly men :)

Jenny Q said...

Great post! Give me a man with a queue and a tricorn anyday!

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