Inside Too Wilde to Wed
Warning! In describing relations between characters, I may wreck a book for you by making it clear who someone marries, or the outcome of a book. Please do not read about The Inside Take if you're wary of knowing who is paired with whom!
The pre-plot of this novel springs from my understanding that Georgian noblemen and ladies must regularly have felt as if they were participating in a costume drama. Their clothing was so exaggerated: wigs that towered above their heads, coats that cost as much as a small British estate, makeup that took up to an hour to apply. Diana is forced by her mother to dress in a gaudily fashionable manner, and Roland dresses that way to catch her attention, to please her (he thinks). The novel stripped them back to something far plainer and more honest.
I enjoyed creating the manservant, Boodle, who considers North’s appearance to be his crowning achievement. I had in mind two famous valets: Bunter from the Dorothy Sayers novels, and Jeeves in the P.G. Wodehouse novels. But Boodle, of course, is far more cunning than Bunter or Jeeves. All the same, the crucial point of those scenes is that his creativity and art are tied to North’s clothing and accessories. It truly is a tragedy for him when North wants the lace torn off his cuffs.
I spent a lot of time reading about PTSD while writing this novel. A hero in a romance novel can be damaged, but not terribly damaged, as there was no therapy or anti-depressants available. I tailored North’s situation to the solutions at hand; I don’t want to imply that post traumatic stress disorder could be solved by handing out toast and honey. Here, toast is symbolic of the simple life, parallel to North’s discarded lace. I wanted my two main characters to pare their lives down to what really matters: kindness and love.
People sometimes ask why all my characters are rich: it’s because I grew up the daughter of a poet, and I do not find lack of money romantic in any way. At the same time, as part of that stripping away of fashionable accoutrement, I brought Diana close to penury so that she could teach North just how precious a pair of shoes can be, even an ugly black pair that didn’t fit particularly well.