Friday, November 14, 2014

SALLY ORR—A FASCINATION FOR THE 'GREATER' REGENCY-ERA (hint: it's not the Dukes)



My guest is romance author, Sally Orr. She debuts with a different sort of regency hero—a smart man of vision but not smart enough to stay out of trouble, lol! I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Today I’d like to tell you why I find the greater Regency-era exciting.

My books are not technically a Regency romance. Instead, they would fall under the Regency-era. The formal Regency is when Prince George ruled by proxy because his father, George III, was unable to govern (1811-1820). So the expected Regency romance should take place during these years. However, if you look up Regency-era on Wikipedia, it is defined as a distinct time in British culture and civilization (1795-1837). This era is before the railroads covered the country and before Victoria took the throne.

I find this era exciting, because it falls within the industrial revolution (1760-1840). A time of progress in transportation, steam power, chemicals, gas lighting, manufacture, and standards of living.

So you see I have strayed from the dogma of a Regency Romance. Romances that are usually characterized by having titled characters, like a duke. Regency romances celebrate a time of simple living, balls, carriages, and proper manners. I can easily see the allure of this time period and a duke as a hero, a wealthy, powerful individual with a grand estate. Most of us can imagine finding true love with a man like that, so it’s no surprise that they are the most popular heroes in romance. They are so popular, in fact, that in our modern romance world we have created thousands of dukes. In our fictional London, a large percentage of the people on the streets are dukes. When in reality, a tall, handsome, single, Regency duke (complete with seductive chuckles), is about as rare as rocking horse poo.

If I had the choice to fall in love with either a Regency duke or a man who would invent/discover something significant that laid the foundation of our modern world, I’d choose the inventor. 

Why? If I wrote Medieval romance, I'd choose a duke as a hero, a man who earned the title for service to his king and country. However, very few dukedoms were awarded for merit during the Regency. Arthur Wellesley earned the title of first Duke of Wellington and some others, but most Regency dukes inherited their wealth and title. That does not mean that they are unable to be alluring or seductive heroes—they are. The actions of these heroes in Regency romances are definitely swoon-worthy. 

My hero preference is a reflection of the fact that I'm a nerd girl whose taste in heroes is a little different.

Three years ago, my husband and I took our old Airstream to Las Vegas. One day we toured the Hoover dam. I distinctly remember turning the corner in the visitor center and coming face-to-face with a handsome Regency-era portrait of a man wearing a cravat—Michael Faraday. Now Michael Faraday is my muse, whether scientist or writer. My favorite quote is his response to a young man who asked him the best way to succeed as a man of science. Michael replied, “Work, finish, publish.” Simple, yes, but you have to do all three to meet your goal. Michael’s portrait was at the Hoover dam because he invented the dynamo (the bases for power generators) in his basement laboratory at the Royal Institute of Great Britain on London’s Albemarle Street in 1831-2. 

So if I had to choose my favorite hero, I’d choose someone like Michael. In fact, there are many fabulous Regency romances with these types of heroes. Lisa Kleypas’ Simon Hunt from her first Wallflower book, Secrets of a Summer Night, comes to mind. My hero in The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide, wants to build a foundry to manufacture small steam engines. It is these engines that will in the next couple of decades revolutionize the production of small consumer goods. So in my opinion, heroes like this add a bit more excitement and relevance to my enjoyment of the love story.

  • Are any of your favorite heroes inventors or scientists or discoverers?


                                                                                                

The definitive guide to seduction…

The Rake’s Handbook was written on a dare, and soon took the ton by storm. Now its author, Ross Thornbury, is publicly reviled by the ladies—who are, of course, forbidden to read the handbook—but privately revered by the gentlemen. Unfortunately, Ross’s notoriety is working against him and he flees London painfully aware of the shortcomings of his own jaded heart.

Spirited young widow Elinor Colton lives next to Ross’s country estate. She’s appalled not only by his rakish reputation, but also by his progressive industrial plans. Elinor is sure she is immune to Ross’s seductive ways. But he keeps coming around…impressing her with his vision for England’s future and stunning her with his smiles.

How does one resist the man who wrote the manual on love?

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Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it's not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars. Author WebsiteFacebookGoodreads

8 comments:

NASHVILLECATS said...

This sounds absolutely fascinating Sally, I love that sort of novel and being English through and through it appeals to me greatly.

Great post.

Yvonne.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Sally - sounds a different twist and I do love learning about all the inventions that occurred over time - the industrialisation period really garnered inventors in ...

With your medical research background I expect your book has some interesting facts ...

Sounds fun and good luck - cheers Hilary

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I admit to not being familiar with the greater Regency-era, so I found this informative. I wish you a wonderful weekend :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It only covered ten years, so I can understand wanting to branch out beyond that with your story.
And always take the geeky inventor.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I write science fiction and while my heroes tend to be military men, my women are the inventors, exploring, genius doctors and such. Yippee for the nerds.

Sally Orr said...

Thank you, Yvonne, Hilary, O.E., Alex, and Susan.
Yay for the nerd girls.
Happy reading ladies.

Kat Sheridan said...

Oh, I adore heroes like this! Give me the unusual every time (and I'm a nerdy geek girl married to a nerdy geek guy, so I totally love that type!) A couple of recent faves of mine have been The Whisky Laird's Bed by Donna MacMeans, with a hero who runs a distillery (and the temperance minded heroine!), and Dangerous Works by Caroline Warfield, where the hero is a scholar specializing in Greek translations (and the heroine who enlists his help translating ignored Greek poetry by women). I think that's my attraction to steampunk as well--all those gears and gadgets and geeky inventor heroes! This one sounds right up my alley and I'm adding it to my TBR stack!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Sorry I was absent yesterday but hubs had several appointments with specialists and we were gone all day and got home late evening. Ugh.

I love the possibilities that were available to those living in the industrial age. The excitement of discovery. So much happened during this period. So many opportunities. I think it's a great period of time for good story!

As for heroes, I tend toward the unusual and I'm one who finds intellect attractive. I enjoy stories with heroes who aren't cookie cutter dark dark and handsome. I like them with some substance.

I like how your story shows how a hero can be sexy AND smart. Personally, smart is very sexy,
:-). I'm also glad to see some heroes who aren't always from the gentry class, although many were interested in discovery and technology during this time.

Wishing you the best with this one and seeing the next story, Sally!