When I first started writing, I didn’t know what genre suited me best so I tried my hand in everything. I’ve been lucky enough to get published in every genre I’ve attempted–romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and in February, 2013 historical romance.
I liked writing them all, but it wasn’t until I picked up an old, old work-in-progress that I realized my true calling as a writer was in historical romance. Believe it or not, historical was the first romance writing I ever tried. Why I moved away from it I don’t know. Other story lines called to me I guess.
What I love about it…well, I love many things about it…but one of the things I love is that I get to go back in time in my mind and imagine what people were doing two-hundred plus years ago. Basically people were the same back then as they are now. They worried about fashion, politics, having enough money to pay the bills, put food on the table, etc. They gossiped, they partied, they ate, drank, they squabbled, they made love, they broke up, they got back together.
The only thing that changes is the scenery.
Last week my husband and I went to a museum exhibition of Pompeii. My husband loves these things and I agreed to go along because…well, I was being a nice wife. I will admit some of it was boring, but there were some things that enthralled me.
For instance, for the most part, women used the same beauty implements as they do now. Combs in 79AD looked exactly the same as they do now, just made of different material. They slathered creams on their faces, wore jewelry and made themselves pretty.
But what struck me the most was a perfectly preserved loaf of bread, charred from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. I thought about the woman who made that bread. Who mixed the ingredients and kneaded it, who put it in the oven with thoughts of feeding her family. Or maybe she was a slave, trying to earn enough money to buy her freedom. Regardless, it was something she probably did every single day and more than likely she never thought twice about doing it that day. Little did she know that not only would she not survive the day, but neither would her family, her neighbors, her friends. Her entire city.
The loaf of bread found fully preserved in the city of Pompeii
I looked at that loaf of bread and imagined her hands touching it. I spun stories in my mind of that woman.
And that is why I love writing historicals. I can take those questions and run with them, creating characters who make bread every day for their families. People who have the same lives we have now, only in a different century. A different setting.
What do you read historical romance?
The Notorious Lady Anne (release date 2/13) is Sharon Cullen’s first historical and her debut novel with Loveswept. She is also the author of romantic suspense, paranormal romance and contemporary romance.
If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.