It’s probably the one question writers hear the most. Where exactly do you get your ideas?
The truth is that ideas usually find writers, not the other way around. It’s easy. The hard part is sitting in front of the keyboard hour after hour and turning the idea into a story, which is really pretty unglamorous, and hard work, too.
But ideas are fun. Ideas are everywhere. Since I write historical romances (and I love history), I have thousands of years of ideas, of people and events, waiting to inspire me – even an heir to a dukedom who falls in love at first sight.
That situation will sound familiar to those of you who have already read my newest historical romance for Ballantine Books, When the Duchess Said Yes (available everywhere now.) The Duke of Hawkesworth has been betrothed since boyhood to Lady Elizabeth Wylder, the middle daughter of the Earl of Hervey. Hawke has been living abroad, waiting for his bride to come of age, and thoroughly enjoying his bachelor life, too. The two have never met, and fearing the worst, Hawke continues to postpone their inevitable wedding. One night at the theatre, he sees a beautiful, unknown lady in another box, and is immediately fascinated by her. Only much later does he learn the lady is, of course, Lady Elizabeth Wylder, the woman he is betrothed to marry.
Does this sound too much like a fairy tale? Perhaps – but it’s also based on historical fact. To help settle his sizable gambling debt in 1719, the first Duke of Richmond arranged for his eighteen-year-old son and heir to marry the thirteen-year-old daughter of the Earl of Cadogan. The boy was horrified, announcing that he was not going to marry “that dowdy”, while the young lady was reportedly too shocked to speak. Still, the fathers had their way. The pair was swiftly wed. The bride was returned to her nursery, and the groom sent to the Continent on his Grand Tour. Three years later, the now twenty-one-year-old lord returned at last to London. Remembering his “dowdy” wife, he postponed meeting her, and instead went to the theatre with friends. In the opposite box, he saw an enchanting young lady, and demanded to know who she might be. “Why, you must be a stranger here,” was the reply, “not to know the toast of the town”: his own wife.
As romantic as that story may be – and reportedly the duke would repeat it with great fondness all his life – the best part is that the Duke and Duchess of Richmond did in fact proceed to have one of the happiest marriages in the aristocracy, blessed with seven children. How could there be a better inspiration for a romance than that?
If you were to write a historical romance, what would some of your ideas be for a story? Comment below & 5 RANDOMLY CHOSEN WINNERS will receive a FREE print book from Isabella’s series – International too!! Good luck!
Isabella Bradford is a pseudonym for Susan Holloway Scott, the award-winning author of more than forty historical novels and historical romances. Her bestselling books have been published in nineteen countries and translated into fourteen languages, with more than three million copies in print worldwide.