Why I’m Thankful for This Job by Diane Perkins

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d let you all in on part of the reason I’m thankful for the job of writing Regency Romance. In my current Work In Progress, which you may recall is a road story, I have spent my days wandering around the north of England and the south of Scotland. Through the magic of the Internet I have visited many places and discovered wonderful things.

I can’t really share the visual images I’ve used to create my story, because most of the images are copyrighted, so I went into my own photographs from my 2005 trip to England and Scotland for some similar visual images.

My characters wound up in Liverpool which might have looked a little like this:

They rode over the countryside. Imagine these hills in the Autumn with all different colors:

They might have passed through villages like this one:

Or stayed in a castle ruin like this one:

My heroine may have gazed upon the home of her childhood:

And, finally, my hero and heroine may have shared a bed similar to this one:

Do I have the greatest job in the world or what?

For a wonderful virtual adventure, immerse yourself in this website!

Is part of what you like to read about the Regency imagining what it looked like?
How much setting do you like in our books?

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!


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About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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23 Responses to Why I’m Thankful for This Job by Diane Perkins

  1. Cara King says:

    Ooh, what lovely pics, Diane!

    I like setting a lot, if it’s done well. Long lists of things don’t work for me, but good, visceral description does. (I’m not a very visual person, see, so I’m not great at processing description!)


  2. JaneFan says:

    Visual descriptions are great for setting the scene and mood, but if they are too detailed I get lost.

    I think your photos show that nothing is quite like being there. For example, I have a much greater understanding of Austen’s Bath now that I’ve been there and seen it with my own eyes!

  3. Judy T says:

    Beautiful! I’m very visual. Reading is watching a movie in my head. That being said, the visual description isn’t as important as character and emotional description. I do not want to know about every rock, flower and tree (unless it’s significant to the story, of course), but a few well written sentences can paint an entire ‘backdrop’.

    (Cara, My Lady Gamester just arrived in the mail, and I’m looking forward to it.)

  4. I love rich settings. However, I, too, don’t like lists but like to discover its layers as I progress through the scene. So my focus stays on the action and the characters while the setting gets filled in my peripheral vision and in all the spaces in between.

    One thing I noticed when we traveled through NE Scotland down to NE England in the summer of 2002 was the black-faced sheep. I had always seen white-faced sheep before, so these black-faced ones were a surprise. They however baaed just like the other ones. πŸ™‚

    The narrow vertical baron towers of Scotland were interesting to see in juxtaposition with the wider squater ones from England. And I just loved-loved the villages in the Cotswolds.

  5. Anonymous says:

    One of the reasons I love Regencies is that I find the visuals (houses, dresses, etc) so attractive. Setting alone doesn’t make or break a story, but I love the slim sihouette and elegance of Regency dress on women, and images of men in Regency mode is much more appealing to me than the center-parted hair and mutton chop whiskers of the Victorian era.

  6. Lois says:

    Ooooooh, pretty. . . boy, one of these days I’d love to make it to one of those places! πŸ™‚

    And yep, I love imagining it all! That’s the funny thing for me, when I think about it and Regency, well anything, not just romances. I grew up loving English stuff, influenced by Mom’s love of A Christmas Carol, Sherlock Holmes and when I grew up in the 80s, there was plenty of talk of the Royals, especially Diana and Fergie. So you got to see everything — but the first two, were obviously Victorian.

    But once I started reading romances and started figuring out there were different time periods and such, I simply gravitated heavily to Regency, which I never really heard of until then (a couple years ago). So to me it’s rather funny how that all worked out. πŸ™‚


  7. Cara King says:

    Ooh, excellent, Judy!


  8. Lois, I never really knew about the Regency period until I started writing and my writing friend Helen told me about Mary Jo Putney, Mary Balogh, AND Georgette Heyer. I reaquainted myself with Jane Austen, too. Regencies of any kind quickly became my favorite books to read. I loved the Traditional Regencies, which were a fast and satisfying read.

    Janefan, Isn’t Bath just the most elegant place? When Amanda and I went on our England trip, my friend Patty, our tour director, arranged for us to all dance with the Jane Austen dancers in the Assembly Rooms where Jane Austen danced!

    Judy, you’ll have to tell me if I paint a good backdrop in this book. I have no idea when it will come out.
    Keira, I didn’t include the sheep. I thought about it, but I didn’t know which sheep would be out in the autumn. Or if they would have had sheep on those hills. So there might have been sheep, but my hero and heroine did not think about them….
    Anonymous, I LOVE the clothing of the Regency. I love it. And I totally agree about the Victorian. I refuse to imagine my characters becoming Victorians, a not-great fashion period, IMO.
    Cara, You’ll have to tell me if I did well on this one!

  9. Mina says:

    Wonderful pictures, thank you for sharing them.

    I don’t know why the Regency ones speak so much more strongly to me than any other period, but they do. Maybe it’s because of a past life. πŸ˜‰ I just know that there is so much great writing in the genre!

  10. Riskies, if I may be so bold as to suggest…

    Would it be possible for you to blog about your writing processes and your daily schedules are? Thanks much in advance.

    A few days ago, I finished reading Write Away by Elizabeth George. She is a proponent of detailed outlines. In her book she describes in great depth how her process works for her. Since I’m naturally a “managing type of woman of a certain age,” er, that is an organized person who loves organizing, outlining sounds far more natural to me.

    I tried a seat-of-the-pants out-of-order kind of writing and the WIP turned out to be one mess (plot holes, characters with disjointed arcs, you-name-the-issue-it-had-it). And every time, I was fighting my natural inclination.

    So before starting out on my new idea, I’ve been requesting super-organized authors to share their thoughts regarding their processes to see if I might be able to discover a style that goes with my nature.

    So thanks much again.

  11. Super organized authors, Keira???????
    I think this is a good idea! I’ll run it by the other Riskies and see what we come up with.

  12. Todd says:

    Lovely pictures, Diane! I always love traveling around Britain, and seeing how much has survived from centuries before.

    When I was a kid I tended to skip over long passages of description to get right to the “heart” of the story. (OK, I was an impatient child.) Having–by some definitions–grown up, I now can read and appreciate description. I still prefer it when books don’t stop dead and linger over the setting.

    I would say, though, that there is a lot more to setting than just the visual details. There is the mood; the people attached to the place; the way things are interconnected. In some books the setting becomes like another character. I was struck this way about the opera house in The Phantom of the Opera, for example. (Not a great book, but full of amazing images and ideas.) Sometimes when I’ve visited stately homes in England I’ve gotten that feeling about them: that the house has its own personality.

    BTW, Diane: I am so envious that you got to dance in the actual Assembly Rooms in Bath! Such a beautiful building…


  13. Cara King says:

    Interesting suggestion, Keira! Will definitely take it under advisement… πŸ™‚


  14. Well, Todd, guess I’ll have to delete those 17 pages of step-by-step detailed description of crossing the moors. Sigh!

    Haven’t I seen you dance, Todd? With Cara several years ago at an RWA conference? (hope so or I’m causing trouble). You would have been marvelous at the Assembly Rooms!a

  15. Thanks for the lovely pics, Diane! And that evening in the Bath assembly rooms was one of the best I have ever had. We all wore Regency-style gowns, there was great music, beautiful dancing (not from me, since I kept turning the wrong way!), and the assembly rooms all for us. πŸ™‚ Now I picture it whenever my characters go to a dance…

  16. Anonymous says:

    My imagination NEVER comes close to the truth. Thanks for sharing this beautiful pictures!


  17. Cara King says:

    My, Diane, you have a good memory!

    Yes, and Todd I performed a Regency-style waltz at the Beau Monde’s soiree at the Washington DC RWA conference several years ago. (I can’t say how long ago, or I might have to admit I’m older than 22.)

    We dance when we can — there was a Playford Ball locally last month, with English country dances that ranged from late 17th century through late 18th century or so… Next up, the Jane Austen Ball!


  18. Wonderful pictures, Diane :)I love those places.

    I enjoy reading detailed backdrops along with a story, it helps the reader see the world of the characters. I believe settings are a part of a romance also and love reading the Heroine’s or Hero’s thoughts on the places they go and live at. I don’t think one can go wrong adding those details.

    Go with your heart on the story! πŸ˜‰

  19. Thanks, Diane and Cara, for taking my suggestion under advisement.

    Amanda, I’ve seen photographs of you in your cool dress on your site.

    Speaking of mere details of a place. I really dislike the stories when the minute a character enters the room, he surveys its contents. Or else, the character whose thoughts we’ve been privy to for the past five pages, suddenly decides to look around and recount (in a marveling tone, no less) all the minutest details of a room he’s known since childhood.

  20. Lovely pictures!! I just finished some rewrites on my semi-modern novel and included a visit by one of the characters to England in the 1950’s. Couldn’t get her there any earlier but had to bring in some of my love for the ccountry.

    Cara, I’ve started My Lady Gamester and very much enjoying it. I ordered books by, I think, all the Risky’s and am excited about the nice little pile on my dresser.

  21. Cara King says:

    Ooh, thank you, Terry! Hope you like them all!


  22. Todd says:


    I didn’t realize that you were at that soirΓ©e! I was most proud of the fact that I neither tripped nor tumbled Cara off her feet during the demonstration waltz. πŸ™‚


  23. Todd, I was totally impressed by the dancing. Totally!

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