10 Things I’ve Learned from Writing Historical Fiction
The Goddess Born series is set in the eighteenth century, which has allowed me to spend a great deal of time living in the past. Here are some interesting tidbits I’ve picked up along the way.
Ten Things I’ve learned from Writing Historical Fiction
- European men started wearing high heels in the sixteen hundreds. Women followed suit to masculinize their outfits.
- The English fancied curse words that started with the letter B, e.g., Ballocks, Blast, Bloody and Bugger were four favorites.
- On matters of equality, Quakers were centuries ahead of their time. While slavery plagued much of the known world, they were the first organization to officially ban the practice in the mid seventeen hundreds.
- Europeans in general were very fond of witch-hunts. Between 1450 and 1750, tens of thousands of people were executed for witchcraft, two-thirds of these being women. Torture was a must for the best confessions. Preferred methods of execution included drowning, hanging, and fire, though there was the occasional beheading.
- Europeans were equally fond of dueling. The French mastered the art, conducting approximately 10,000 duels between 1685 and 1716. The art reached new heights in 1808 when two Frenchmen took their quarrel to the Parisian sky and fought a duel from hot air balloons. The loser was shot down and died on impact along with his second.
- Not all women played by the rules. Princess Amelia, second daughter of King George II, is believed to have had an affair with a commoner that resulted in the composer Samuel Arnold.
- For several hundred years, Europeans of all ranks practiced medicinal cannibalism by ingesting remedies that contained bones, blood and fat taken from human corpses. This practice peaked in the seventeen hundreds.
- Flowery language was all the rage. Form and flourish mattered in conversation, as did word count, and one never said in ten words what could be better said in thirty.
- “You sexy beast you…” From the sixteen to eighteen hundreds, high-ranking women used their fans to carry on whole conversations without uttering a single word. A fan held in the left hand indicated a desire for company. A tap to the right cheek signified “yes”, while a tap to the left was a resounding “no”. Drop your fan and it was off to private nook for a clandestine affair.
- Historical people were suspicious of raw fruits and vegetables. That’s right, give them a corpse to gnaw on, but keep the fresh produce away.
Selah Kilbrid, descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, has been ordered to remain in London and leave any dangers in Ireland to her goddess-born family. They fear she’s no match for Death’s most powerful daughter and—if the legend holds true—the witch who once nearly destroyed the Irish people. But Selah has never been good at following orders, and nothing will stop her from setting out to find the two people she loves most—her dearest friend, Nora Goodwin, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan.
Hiding from kin, traveling uneasily beside companions with secrets of their own, Selah is forced on an unexpected path by those who would steal her gift of healing. With precious time ticking away, she turns to a mortal enemy for help, heedless of the cost.
Selah would pass through hell to rescue Nora and Henry, but what if it means unleashing a greater evil on the human world? Her only chance is to claim the fullest extent of her birthright—at the risk of being forever separated from the man she longs to marry.
Book three of Goddess Born