Eloisa's Desk

Eloisa's Exclusive Extras

On Creating a Less-than-Perfect Heroine

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Enjoy this look back at Eloisa’s thoughts while she was working on the final Essex Sisters novel, Pleasure for Pleasure

I’m working on Josie’s story right now. So if you’ve read Much Ado About You, you know that Josie is plump. Plump, wonderful and as sharp-tongued as a Regency private detective from the ’30s. I absolutely adore her. But she’s definitely not your average golden-haired, big-breasted, tiny-waisted heroine. She’s a young woman with a lush, curvy figure — even if she thinks, as she says, that her figure just curves out and out.

One of the interesting things about writing this story is that I just finished reading the memoir, Fat Girl, and it made me realize that I wanted to change Josie’s experience of being plump in Regency England. I don’t want to depict simply a curvier curvy woman, if that makes sense.

What woman hasn’t struggled with her weight, at least in America? I’ve been lucky as an adult, but weight marks all my adolescent memories. Sometimes it’s depressing to realize that my most clear memory from high school is a boy hissing “fat dog” at me. For Christ’s sake! In retrospect, he was likely a pimply, disgusting little squirt who ended up working at the Dairy Queen (Eloisa takes a moment to calm herself…)

Never mind the pimply squirt. I wanted Josie’s story to reflect some of the real misery that millions of women encounter every day, due to the casual prejudices about size that are evident in our culture. And they certainly were evident in Regency culture, when every woman was supposed to wear those tiny little dresses with minuscule bodices. So I started the book when Josie has already been on the season for a few weeks and she’s earned a nickname.

A horrible nickname

The Scottish Sausage.

Originally published October 2005.

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