It’s always so exciting to meet others who share my love of the Georgian era! Here’s my lastest interview with the wonderful Diana Scott Lewis.
1) Explain why the period of the eighteenth century is important and tell us why we should want to read about it.
This era was a time of social and political upheaval, with revolutions in America and then France. The common man (and woman) was insisting on being heard. England feared their own revolution and reforms for the poor were at first suppressed. Crop failures drove people to desperate means—such as requesting to be paid in bread. Women started demanding rights, and had more freedom before the stodginess of the Victorian age. The Georgian period brimmed with excitement.
2) Who is your favourite eighteenth century personality?
Mary Wollstonecraft is one of my favorites. A feminist before it became popular, she questioned the inadequate education of girls in her book, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters—which I read in its original eighteenth century script! And she advocated women’s rights in her Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She argued that women weren’t inferior to men, they just lacked proper education. Mary was a visionary who wasn’t appreciated until feminism rose again at the turn of the twentieth century.
3) Share a quirky fact from your research?
Women wore no underpants during this era! Can you imagine donning a chemise, a corset, and a few petticoats, then the gown, but leaving other important areas uncovered?
4) One of historical romance’s hardest questions – Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer?
They were both influential writers, but I think Jane Austen is more popular today given the many TV shows and movies made from her novels. I admit I’ve only read two Heyer books, and while I enjoyed them, Austen seems more relevant with her stories of manners and social mores among ordinary people.
5) Tell us about Betrayed Countess.
This novel is a re-release of my debut book, The False Light, which earned an accolade of “Simply brilliant” from the Historical Novel Society. Though branded a romance by the publisher, it is more an adventure, with plenty of historical detail, no formula, and no happy ending. Here is a blurb:
Forced from France to England during the French Revolution, Bettina Jonquiere toils in poverty, finds love with a notorious squire and is threatened by ruthless revolutionaries.
The sequel is also available at Amazon: Without Refuge.
6) What will you be working on next?
I’m polishing another novel set in eighteenth century Cornwall, England. A historical mystery called The Apothecary’s Widow, set in 1781.
7) Can you recommend some other books, fiction and non-fiction, set in your period?
Midnight Fires: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft, by Nancy Means Wright is a book I reviewed—and enjoyed—for the Historical Novel Society.
Dr. Johnson’s London, by Liza Picard, is a great non-fiction resource, as well as,
Daily Life in Eighteenth Century England, by Kirstin Olsen.
8) Girly question – if you could design and make your perfect eighteenth century outfit, what would it be like?
Though I write pre-Regency stories, my perfect outfit would be a high-wasted Regency, or Empire, gown in burgundy, with flowing skirt and short, puffed sleeves. And of course, I’d insist on underwear.
For more information on Diane and her books, visit http://www.dianescottlewis.org.
You can also buy Betrayed Countess and Without Refuge here.