When I came up with the concept of writing a regency short story, I had no interest in alabaster or knowledge on the subject of sculpting. Such minor technicalities, however, never stops a writer from plunging into the unknown, for that’s where our true adventures lie.
For a short story, unlike a novel, one likes a minimum of complications. Unfortunately, my characters don’t care for limitations. So my heroine, Pauline, came to life already carrying heavy expectations for herself, her family and her society. She was a young lady who had turned to her art because she’d lost faith in love.
Her hero arrived next, a man grieving for the loss of his beloved brother in the
Peninsular War and claiming that his nickname was ‘Stone.’ And the medium for Pauline’s work was conceived.
With the artist being a woman, I searched for a medium that would be less strenuous to sculpt than marble or limestone. So, in To Capture Love, Pauline works with Alabaster because research suggested that was one of the softest stones to carve.
English alabaster is easy to shape because it is composed of gypsum. Due to its softness, threat of vandalism discourages use of this type of stone for outdoor statuary, but Pauline’s commission was to be displayed in the British Museum on Montague Street in London.
Since Alabaster has a beautiful translucent quality, it was perfect for her requirements. Mined locally, this stone could be found in midland quarries, from Derbyshire to Staffordshire, and came in shades that ranged from honey orange, greens, creamy whites, gold to raspberry.
Now that she had her medium, the only thing Pauline lacked was inspiration. And Stone, our grieving hero, a man whom she once loved in her quiet reclusive way, becomes her perfect muse. When he lets his jealousy of her many admirers frustrate him enough to try to catch her attention, he opens her eyes to the true reality of war – from the heroism of the young brash soldiers who played and fought in it, to the devastation wrecked on the Spanish countryside and local populace as a result of that conflict between nations.
Finally, with enough information to craft her work, Pauline retreats to passionately carve her alabaster sculpture. She captures the essence of a terrible war and the resultant loss in lives. The effect her creation has on its English audience is as shocking as its effect on her client, Matthew ‘Stone’ Livingston, the Earl of Ashford.
Shereen Vedam writes regency and fantasy romances. She has several short stories published through The Wild Rose Press. Her website is at: www.shereenvedam.com