Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Historical Romance Guest Author Samantha Grace

Today I'd like to welcome our guest author, Samantha Grace to History Undressed! Ms. Grace writes Regency romance and is here today to talk a bit about her latest release in her Beau Monde Bachelor Series, Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie. Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy!

Thank you so much for having me at History Undressed today. I’m not a historian by any means, but I find the past absolutely fascinating. I love sites like this that share what others have learned in their research.

My 8th grade American History teacher is responsible for instilling a love for history in me. She was a ‘no nonsense or I will crush you’ type of teacher, but in spite of my fear of her, I couldn’t wait for her class every day. She did something no other teacher had ever done in my experience. She told stories that brought history to life.

I suppose that’s what authors do, too. We don’t necessarily tell true stories, but it’s important to have as many facts straight as we can to lend authenticity to a story.

Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie was pretty heavy on research even though I only used a small portion of what I learned. Since the book begins in New Orleans, I had to research what the city was like in 1819. I needed an old map, so I would know how my heroine and her family made it to the wharf where they would board Captain Daniel Hillary’s ship. I researched the War of 1812 and the Creole people, because Lisette Lavigne is a descendant of the Creole who came to New Orleans from the West Indies rather than France. I studied British colonies in the Caribbean, because the ship makes a stop to resupply. I had to study serious illnesses that could result in death without it being a given. And then of course, I needed to know as much as possible about wooden ships.

I was most interested in what life would be like on Daniel’s ship, the Cecily. I thought it might be fun to share some of what I learned. Travel by wooden ships was a real hardship, and many people didn’t survive the journey.

The ship’s captain (known as the shipmaster, but addressed as Captain) had the best living conditions on board. His quarters were located at the stern (back) of the ship and usually on an upper deck with natural light and fresh air available. His quarters often contained a separate area for sleeping, dining, and conducting business. He also had a private bathroom, which his poor crew didn’t have. Their facilities were often located at the bow of the ship with nothing but boards to sit on and the ocean below them. Yikes! Some of the bigger vessels might have had a head (ship talk for bathroom) below deck with a rudimentary plumbing system that spilled waste into the water.  

The captain’s first and second mates usually had individual cabins that were approximately 6 feet by 6 feet, although the size could vary by rank. If there weren’t quarters set aside for passengers, the first and second mate might give up their cabins. If someone of VIP status traveled on the ship, the captain might give up his quarters. A lot of ships in the 1800s included quarters for passengers, though.

Crewmembers didn’t have individual cabins. They slept in the bow of the ship, or wherever they could find a place. Some ships had bunks with straw mattresses or hammocks. Their area was crowded and smelly, and it could get very cold or unbearably hot, depending on the weather. Also sharing space on ship was livestock and poultry, which served as a source of food. I imagine that added to the stench and filth.

There were many dangers associated with sea travel, such as disease, storms, tainted food, shipwrecks, dead calms (no wind that stranded ships indefinitely, which meant they could run out of food and fresh water), and pirates, although they were less plentiful during the regency era.

Here’s a scene from Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie that shows the biggest danger the Cecily faces on the journey:

The wind-swollen sails of the Mihos carried her over the waves, and her flags whipped from the mast. Frothy white water parted for her bow. Daniel’s newfound enemy would be upon them soon.
He handed Lisette the spyglass. She gazed through it and shrank against his side. “It is him.” She passed the glass back to Daniel. “I recognize the flag.”
The Mihos’ personal flag displayed a red lion standing erect with claws bared against a white background.
Daniel hugged Lisette to him and kissed her temple. “Take Rafe, Serafine, and Amelia below deck. Stay out of sight no matter what transpires on deck. Have I made myself clear?”
Lisette’s emerald gaze narrowed and her jaw jutted forward. He returned her glare without blinking. She may dislike him ordering her about like one of his men, but he was in charge.  
She turned to her entourage. “You heard the captain. We are to cower below deck.”
“Now, that’s a good little woman,” he said. To annoy her further, he popped her on the bottom, eliciting an outraged squeal.
Several of his crew chuckled, and she turned crimson, slaying Daniel with one dirty look. Good. He preferred her angry with him than frightened by the coming confrontation.
“Run along.” He made shooing motions with his hands and grinned in the face of her displeasure.         
She snatched Rafe’s hand in hers and marched to the hatch with him in tow. Serafine hurried behind, throwing a wary glance over her shoulder before disappearing below deck.
Jake shook his head and offered his arm to Amelia. “You are hopeless. I’ll be back in a moment. Don’t start the fun without me.”
Amelia’s perfect lips turned down. “Jake, you will be careful, won’t you?”
“Of course, sweetheart. There’s no cause for concern.”
Daniel felt a twinge of apprehension as his brother escorted his wife below deck. What if Daniel had underestimated Reynaud and was placing everyone in danger? Perhaps he should have tried outrunning the other ship. He shook off his uncertainty and squared his shoulders. There was no turning back now.
A question for readers: What is your favorite time period or historical location?

Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie -- Out Now! Sourcebooks Casablanca

Captain Daniel Hillary's ship is the only one sailing from New Orleans to England, and Lisette Lavigne is bound and determined to be on it! Desperate to save her brother from being thrown into an asylum and to escape her devious fiancĂ©, Lisette offers to pay Daniel any price for safe passage — even if it means warming his bed.

Daniel never allows women on his ship, but Lisette's exotic beauty and spirited nature convinces him that rules are made to be broken. He had no idea that this decision would lead to a hasty marriage, an enraged pursuit by the jilted fiancé, or a dangerous blackmail scheme that could cost him everyone he loves...

Samantha Grace made her debut earlier this year with Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Her newest regency romance, Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and she did a happy dance in her kitchen. Samantha lives with her husband, their two tenacious kids, and an endless parade of characters that inhabit her imagination. You can connect with Samantha at:


Eli Yanti said...

My fave time period is Victorian and Regency era and location i love london :)

Melody May said...

When it comes to reading it's regency period. However, I have loved learning about other countries history. When I was in high school I love learning about Russian history. I don't know why, but I was always draw to it. The history channel might also play a part in it too.

Samantha Grace said...

London is my first love, too. :)
Thanks for stopping by today.

Samantha Grace said...

I think Russian history is fascinating. I saw an exhibit on Catherine the Great in Memphis a long time ago, and it sparked my interest.

ellaquinnauthor said...

This book sounds so interesting. I can't wait for it to come out.

LilMissMolly said...

Hi Samantha! You have the best titles and covers. They stand out from the crowded bookshelves for sure. Can't wait for this new one!

Linda said...

I love Regency England, anywhere in England! Tho Scotland is nice too .....but maybe it's more the people (ok, MEN!) that attract.


Samantha Grace said...

Thank you, LilMissMolly! I'm pretty lucky in the awesome covers department. :)

Samantha Grace said...

Thanks, Ella. :)

Samantha Grace said...

I'm reading "Outlander" right now, so I'm totally onboard with the Scottish men. Sigh

petula said...

I like historical romance the best. This book looks really good. I will put it on my TBR list.