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Lucinda “Sapphire” Brant
Writing, Researching, and Loving the 18th Century!
As you all know all my books are set in the 18th Century. I just love writing, reading and researching about the gorgeous Georgians! And who doesn’t, right?
What started it all was my very first research book on the 18th Century—Alfred Cobban’s History of Modern France (I still have it). I bought it with my pocket money when I was 11 years old. It has no pictures, and is a very dry (and some would say boring) history of 1700s France. But not to me. I was hooked and have been collecting books and researching about the Georgian era ever since.
From that first purchase has grown a considerable research library. I’ve not counted all the books in my study, but I’d say there would be close to two thousand—just on subjects to do with 18th Century. There is everything from fashion, food, sex, medicine, riots and revolutions, biographies of the famous and infamous, architecture, furniture, and houses great and small. I’ve read all of them except for the purchases made this year—I’ll get to those between writing books. Of course, that’s forty years of collecting, reading and researching about the 1700s.
When I was at school, and then at university, the Internet did not exist and only computer science students had personal computers. So I’ve always written my research notes out long hand, and still do. While I am now comfortable composing entire books on my computer, I still prefer to write up my research notes by hand. I assign each novel an A5 ring binder, and collate and tabulate my pages of notes. When I need to refer to a particular piece of research, I can find it in the ring binder: or the notes will point me to a particular book on my own shelves, or to a url on the web.
Historians are always sleuthing, reinterpreting, and re-examining, so it is wonderful that in the 21st Century we have the Internet and access to potentially unlimited knowledge! Which means I’ve managed to ferret out articles and references, get access to libraries, museums, and historical sites that I only dreamed about as a teenager.
And there is nothing like getting up close and personal with Georgian London! For a time I lived in Surrey and every weekend I caught the train to London and spent many happy hours visiting houses, museums, and places with a connection to the 18th Century. I did the same when visiting Edinburgh and Bath on a number of occasions.
But for a totally immersive 18th Century experience, there is nothing quite like Colonial Williamsburg! I was privileged to have visited for a week upon two separate occasions, and stayed first in an 18th Century boarding house, and then in a merchant’s cottage. I loved every creaking floorboard! Walking down DoG Street amongst the fine ladies and gentlemen re-enactors was a surreal experience. I observed the way the ladies carried themselves in their gowns, how their panniers moved, how their hats remained atop their upswept hair; discussed gown construction techniques with dressmakers, syrup of ginger as a cure for seasickness with an apothecary, and watched the printing of newssheets. To ride about the streets in an 18th Century carriage was such fun! I took part in an evening of 18th Century dance (how did they remember all those intricate dance steps?), attended a musical recital at the Governor’s Palace (by candlelight of course – how do musicians see in the dark?), and spent many an hour peering into glass fronted cases full of Georgian silver and porcelain. I doubt I would have discovered the “must have” dining gadget of the 1770s without a visit to CW – a delightful (and completely superfluous) silver cucumber slicer! Which will be making an appearance in Proud Mary, the fifth book of the Roxton Family Saga.
And because I love to share the fascinating facts I discover along the way and include in my novels, so my readers are fully immersed in my 18th Century world, I have a Pinterest Board for each of my books. I also have over 100 carefully curated research boards on every aspect of the 18th Century. Pinterest is a wonderful visual repository that enables me to share my research. So come join my characters and me in the 18th Century! We’ll have a ball!
You can learn more about my books at:
Eternally Yours: Roxton Letters Volume 1
A companion to the Roxton Family Saga
Special Pre-order Price 99c/99p
Previously unpublished letters from the private correspondence of the Roxton family, spanning 1743–1777. Eternally Yours complements the first three books of the award-winning Roxton Family Saga: Noble Satyr, Midnight Marriage, and Autumn Duchess. Written for the fans!