Romance at Random welcomes guest author Gina Danna – she has a new historical romance on sale this week, congrats Gina! And, she’s here to share a little bit of her historical passion — let’s give a warm welcome to author Gina Danna!
Hi Romance at Random! Thanks for having me. As a historical romance author, I run across several interesting facts about the era I’m writing in. A historian by profession, I love researching into the topics and find the true depth of that era or person or war or whatever I’m on a mission to discover. It is that drive to find the truth, to portray and interpret the past correctly, to be able to take the reader back there, which makes my stories rich in the past.
In my research for my stories, let me give you a hint of what I’ve come across that is fascinating.
1. Raids of the Barbary pirates, c. 1800. The stories of how far they went to steal people to sell into slavery in the Middle East. The numbers are sketchy to say the least but they raided Mediterranean coastline, actually landing on Italy, Sicily and Greece to abduct people as well as raiding ships. This continued up to the 1840s when naval king Great Britain stopped them.
2. The numbers of those sold into slavery in the Middle East can only be estimated, in white Europeans roughly over the 18-19th century, to be 1.25 million. The numbers of Americans captured isn’t in the numbers, or those from Africa who are marched across the continent. Why are the numbers scarce? Slaves were the infidels and not considered worthy of a count, unlike the slave numbers Americans for example kept via ship manifests, census and tax records.
3. Noblemen were often ‘ransomed’ back to their families but it was a long taxing procedure, taking months while the enslaved noble still was subject to harsh labor and living conditions. Ladies, if put into a harem, rarely were freed regardless of monetary reasons, basically because if they had a child, the child remained with the Muslim father and no lady was likely to abandon her child.
4. Courtesans have been well known in Western Europe and in this case England, but there are examples of rich women, ignored by their husbands or whatever was the case, who searched for companionship like the noblemen who sought mistresses. The numbers of Regency “gigolos” though is vague but plausible.
5. The fact that “Brazilian” waxes did exist in the time period of The Wicked Bargain, though not called Brazilian, but not really practiced in Western Europe. The practice of being “hairless” is traced back to Biblical times, primarily to avoid body lice and still practiced in the Middle East when my hero is there. In England, the method was often referred to as “sugaring.” Very few practiced it but some did do it.
History has all sorts of fascinating facts so I love finding these and using them if applicable to my stories. Way too much fun! What are some of the fabulous things you’ve learned about history from romance books you’ve read?
About the Author:
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.
Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.
Visit her on her website: www.ginadanna.com
About her Book:
The Wicked Bargain – available June 19, 2014
Haunted by a past as a sex slave, nobleman Ethan Warth returns to England as a male courtesan for rich matrons and runs a brothel for wealthy lords. Arabella Covington appears on his door, trained in the medical arts but unable to practice because of her gender. He hires her to care for his ladies but her inquisitive nature and beauty make him desire to teach her the world of seduction.
Ethan, however, never counted on falling in love…