How do we find settings for our regencies?
So much depends on our historical research. As a plot develops, many tidbits of information are uncovered in the research. For example, in my current romance, Moonlight Masquerade, most of the action takes place in the posh Mayfair mansion of my heroine, Lady Céline Wexham. However, I needed to get her out of town, preferably to a country estate, where she could have more encounters with her hero, a man posing as her butler. But I wanted her in a less formal setting, where their chance meetings would allow her to see him more as a man and less as a butler.
Since Lady Wexham is spying for the French, I ended up reading quite a bit about the exiled French community in England at the time, known as the émigrés. The most important was the Comte de Provence, one of Louis XVI’s younger brothers. Louis, as we all remember from history, was beheaded during the French Revolution, along with his wife, Marie Antoinette. His younger brother, the Count of Provence, escaped from France and claimed for himself the right of succession.
The count, or Comte de Provence, aka Louis Stanislas Xavier, spent several years in exile in various European countries, until the British government took pity on him and gave him a small allowance and a place to live.
For my story purposes, this house and its vast grounds sounded like the ideal place for my hero and heroine to go unnoticed a bit. It was also the perfect locale for a masquerade ball…and an unexpected encounter between my hero and heroine, hence the title “moonlight masquerade.”
I hope you’ll enjoy traveling back to the regency era, when England was at war with France. It’s a time of intrigue, but more importantly, my story centers around two people who find themselves attracted to each other at an inconvenient time and place but who find it impossible to resist the pull.
In 1994, her second manuscript was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart competition. In 2002, her sixth manuscript took second place in the Laurie Contest of RWA's Smoky Mountain chapter. The final judge requested her full manuscript and this became her first published book, Winter Is Past, which was spotlighted in Christian Retailing magazine. Since then, Ruth has gone on to publish thirteen historical romances and one novella. Her books have been translated into Dutch, Italian, Polish and Afrikaans. Her second historical, Wild Rose, was chosen by Booklist as a "Top Ten Christian Fiction" selection in 2005.
Ruth lives on the coast of Maine where she enjoys gardening, walking, reading romances and gazing at the ocean plotting her next romance. You can read more about her at http://ruthaxtell.com and http://ruthaxtell.com/blog