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Finding The Words With Anya Richards & Giveaway!

Please welcome author Anya Richards! She came with multiple giveaways!



Multi-published author Anya Richards lives with her husband, youngest kid, a mutt, and two cats that plot world domination one food bowl at a time. The humans support her writing while the animals see her preoccupation as a goad.

Insatiably curious and irreverent, Anya loves history, music, the sea and a good rum punch. To learn more drop by Anya’s website or follow her on Twitter @AnyaRwrites.


Over to Anya now...


Finding the Words

I love writing historical romances and erotic romances. It’s an exercise in stretching my imagination and gives me the chance to indulge in an orgy of research to find the one obscure fact that gives the plot a sense of immediacy or just a little twist. With both history and sewing being passions of mine, it gives me another excuse to investigate eras long gone, delving into the fashions and mores of the time, reading books written in the timeframe (if possible), investigating the way people thought and behaved.

And yet…
Sometimes, oh sometimes the words are what trip me up. Or sometimes I have to make a considered choice whether to use an appropriate word or go for one that the reader will understand. The English language is filled with archaic words and turns of phrase—expressions no longer in use but that would have been understood, for example, in Victorian times, when my new novella Bellissima is set. And then there are words that didn’t exist back then but now are shorthand in our modern language for a specific thing or emotion or action.

There are lots and lots and lots of those.
So when writing stories set in a time long gone, sometimes the author is faced with the decision of going for authenticity vs. understandability. Or sometimes even whether a word will squick a reader out, and therefore shouldn’t be used. The one I came across when writing this story was that, in the mid-1800s, the forerunner to the indoor toilet was called the ‘close stool’ or ‘night stool’. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but neither of those sound particularly attractive to me. On top of which, if I’d used either expression I would then have to find some unobtrusive way to explain what exactly the object was, since the character whose point of view I was in wouldn’t give it a second thought. It was, in this particular context, simply another piece of furniture in a room.

So I made the decision, in this case, to use the word ‘commode’, which actually wouldn’t be used for a few decades after Bellissima takes place, to describe that particular object. Will I be called out on it? Probably. But that’s a chance I’m willing to take. For me, using that particular piece of shorthand is worth it, so as not to possibly pull a reader out of the story by over-explaining, making them go “Ugh!”, or sending them away from the story to Google the phrase.

Writing historicals is like writing in any other sub-genre of romance. You want to get it right, whether it’s the proper name for a piece of cowboy paraphernalia, the appropriate way for a waiter to serve at an ambassadorial function, or the right way to describe a play on the football field. Of course it’s easier if you’ve lived or worked on a ranch, move in ambassadorial circles, or played football. If not, it’s research, research, research. And even with lots of research, sometimes you can’t fool a real cowboy or girl, an ambassador’s daughter (or a food server), or a true football aficionado.


For historical authors it’s all about research, but there will, in my case anyway, always be people out there who know more than I do or are sticklers for complete authenticity, irrespective. Sometimes the wrong word seems oh, so right at the time, whether for flow, expediency or atmosphere. All I can do is hope they’ll forgive me any faux pas and enjoy the story anyway. After all, that’s the hope of all fiction writers, that their audience will get a little pleasure from their words…

Anya Richards latest release is...

Bellisima

Jane Rollins is anything but plain, but to keep her position as housekeeper to a wealthy family, she is content to hide her beauty behind a dull fa├žade. This deception has become second-nature to her—until dance master Sergio Fontini waltzes into her life. 

While the other inhabitants of the house see him as a foreigner and beneath their notice, Jane sees strength, barely leashed power, and an aura of iron control—an irresistible, arousing combination.

Sergio sees through Jane’s disguise to the woman beneath, and the desires in her veiled gaze call to him like the utterly irresistible strains of a beautiful symphony. The circumstances couldn’t be worse, for seducing her will endanger both their livelihoods. 

Yet there are lessons he cannot resist teaching her, steps of a dance that crescendos to her final surrender…

Product Warnings

A deliciously seductive Italian unmasks a supposedly respectable Victorian woman and leads her into a lust-filled pas de deux.

Read Reviews

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Bellissima on Amazon Kindle

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28 comments:

  1. Wooh hoo, this sounds like a hot read Kelly! Thanks for hosting Anya!

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    1. I do so love a Latin man, Denise, and I hope readers find Sergio as hot as I did :)

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  2. I've never written an historical novel, but I can imagine the research involved.

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    1. Yes, it's a lot of research, Kelly, but I honestly feel most writers have to do lots of research to make their worlds authentic. Even if you're writing a totally made up world, there is still the research into human nature and why people do the things they do!

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  3. Definitely with you on choosing 'commode' - the flow of the story is more important in some cases! :)

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    1. I'm glad you agree, Jemi! It's a fine line and I know I can't please everyone, but I try to serve the story as best as I can.

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  4. I can see a lot of research has to go in making a book more authentic to a period in time. Sounds like an intriguing plot.
    All the best.
    JB

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    1. Thank you, Julia! And thank you for stopping by.

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  5. Thank you so much for hosting me, Kelly!

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  6. I love little random tidbits like this, especially when I find them while reading a novel, but I also know how distracting they can be to make sure I stay in the story. Great post!

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    1. Thank you Meradeth! It's hard sometimes to figure out what readers will find tolerable, but if I can't find a way to explain a word or expression without actually spelling it out, I'll go with an alternative!

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  7. Sounds like a great book!
    (I like the bio comment about the pets trying to achieve world domination 1 bowl at a time. Sounds like my animals!)

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    1. Sherry, do yours wait until they're busy before they want attention?? Mine do. I'm owned by my animals rather than visa versa, especially the cats!

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  8. Perhaps more than any other genre I think that in order to do historical novels the research must be spot on. Interesting and informative post, thanks.

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    1. I agree with you to a point Tracy. I try to make sure I'm not taking horrible liberties with history, but sometimes it works to fudge it just a little in a novel, I think. Everyone's tolerance for those liberties are different, and the more historical knowledge people have is the less likely they are to be forgiving of breaches! For example, I have a friend who does 18thC reenacting, and her particular group is hardcore. The costumes, utensils, etc. are as close to historically accurate as they can make them, using the available research. Anything even vaguely off or iffy in a book set in that time frame, and she's incensed! For me, it's clothing, since that's something I love researching and will notice flubs in that area...

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  9. Whoops. Should have read in order to do historical novels well the research must be spot on.

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  10. Congrats, Anya! I definitely think you sometimes have to go for the more understandable word than the one from the time period. That's the good thing about fiction as opposed to non-fiction.

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    1. So true Cherie, and thank you for the congratulations. I do get a little testy when people nitpick (yes, I will admit it... even if perhaps I shouldn't!) and want to shout, "It's fiction!" BUT, if the nitpick-y stuff is all folks complain about, I'll take it! :)

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  11. Hats off to you, Anya! Writing a novel is difficult enough, add a touch of history makes it even more.

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    1. Thank you Anne. It's a lot easier if you're a history nut to begin with, believe me! It's one of those things (kind of like algebra) that would be a huge, horrid chore if you didn't like it!

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  12. I can't imagine the amount of research that must go into writing a historical. Seems overwhelming. Congrats to Anya on all her success!

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    1. Thank you Stephanie! I've often said if I weren't doing the jobs I am, I'd want to be a researcher. I love it... sometimes I *pretend* I'm doing research for a book when I'm really just nosing around, enjoying finding info I never knew before :)

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  13. I do like the sound of this one Iand I do love historicals :)

    Congrats on the release

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Thank you Helen! It is fun to go back in time, isn't it, especially when we still have all our mod-cons and are just doing it through a book!

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  14. Congrats to Anya on her latest release.

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  15. Oh I agree; Commode is so much nicer than close stool or night stool both of those conjurers up all kinds of images!
    I’m just starting out on some family history research. It's amazing how different the language was even sixty years ago. Newspaper reports about family members take some deciphering, so I do appreciate the kind of work you go through to get it right.

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    1. I totally get what you mean, Barbara! I also love investigating my family tree, and even the style of penmanship is so different on some of the documents, I often spend a long time just trying to figure out a name, or a designation. I do love reading old newspaper reports etc. because the cadence of the writing and the words they use give a real sense of how people communicated in the past, and that's so fascinating (well, to a history nerd like me LOL!)

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