Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Historical Research and World Building

It often surprises me how my historical research will add to or completely gel with the fantasy aspects of my novels. In my new series, The Elven Lords, the stories are based in the eighteenth century, so I spent over a month researching the Georgian era, including the political environment, with special emphasis on daily life and--since my books are first and foremost romances--the clothing and housing of the aristocracy.

When I read that white wigs were prevalent in the era, it made perfect sense that the true reasons for wearing the wigs were to imitate the ivory-haired elven lords of my fantasy world. All I needed to do was to add a crushed silver stone to the wigs, which the aristocracy uses to imitate the silver sparkle of my lords. For my readers to identify with the history of the era, I felt that it was important to keep a king on the throne, but since the elven broke through the barrier between worlds and conquered England, dividing it into seven sovereignties that each ruled, I couldn’t be sure of the role he would play. Then I read that the power behind the throne at that time truly lay with Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister of England. So, with an apology to King George, I made him nothing more than a trophy for the elven lords to wage their wars—wars that used humans as chess pieces in games of entertainment similar to the Roman and Greek gladiatorial games, but on a much broader scale. Sir Robert became the leader of the Rebellion, the underground movement of humans and half-elven who fight for England’s freedom and the restoration of their king to true power. As with actual history, the court set the precedence for clothing and style, but since the king of my fantasy world held influence only in that limited aspect, it became an obsession with him and the court.

My seven mad elven lords each had possession of a scepter, and the master of a particular power. As I researched the landscape and the development of England’s resources, I used that knowledge to divide the sovereignties. Since Bath and it’s famous healing waters were located in the Southwest, it fell naturally into place that the elven lord Breden, master of the blue scepter of sea and sky, controlled that area, becoming the sovereignty of Dewhame, and this realm is explored fully in book two, The Lady of the Storm. South Central England, where London is located, is a politically important part of England and became Firehame, the sovereignty of Lord Mor'ded and his black scepter over the mastery of fire, a powerful realm that is fully revealed in book one, The Fire Lord’s Lover. Agricultural Eastern England became Verdanthame, with Mi'cal ruling with the green scepter of forest and plant. Northeastern England, extending upward into York and known for its roadways, became the sovereignty of Terrahame, and the elven lady Annanor and her brown scepter of earth. North Central England, dominated by mining and hilly country, became the sovereignty of Bladehame and the silver scepter of Lan'dor, who masters metal. The Northwest became Stonehame, where the elven lady La'laylia called up quartz from the depths to enchant with her violet scepter. And the West became Dreamhame, butting up against the craggy mountains of Wales, the sovereignty of Roden of the golden scepter, with his spells of glamour and illusion, a realm fully explored in book three, The Lord of Illusion.

As you can see, my historical research into eighteenth-century England helped me develop my world, sometimes in completely unexpected ways.


  1. I love your books and you do a lot of research. I love doing research too. I can't wait to read more of your books. I have most, but I don't think I have this series. I love the blue topaz...hope I'm a lucky winner. Good luck with all of your series.

  2. Thanks so much, Mary! I'm always thrilled when my special readers win my contests, so good luck! :}

  3. I'm not much of a history buff myself, but I do appreciate how much thought you put into your work. It definitely shows! That's great that history seemed to be on your side in this one though, and I can't wait for the rest of the series to come along! Do you think you'll add any more to your "Enchanting" series? I know that's probably a lot to ask for while you're still working on this one, but I was just wondering ^-^'

  4. Hi Alyssa! I've actually finished the third book in THE ELVEN LORDS series, and I will soon have some news to share regarding the RELICS OF MERLIN series, so stay tuned. :} BTW, are you on my newsletter group? I share all my news with my special subscribers first.

  5. Yes, I did sign up, and I got the emails about the contests? I think that was the last one I saw. I'll make sure to keep an eye out for the Relics news though ;)

  6. You're right, Alyssa, that was the last one. I'll be sending another as soon as I can. :}