Inspiration is Contagious

Today on her website, Lauren is talking about how she developed her idea for a spy network run by a woman. I’m no history expert, so it was a surprise for me to read that there really were flower-named spies in the Napoleonic era.

I couldn’t help but laugh when I read Lauren’s comment that, after Pink I was published, she received lots of emails about Amy and Jane that started with “a young lady would never…” A few years ago, I saw Lauren and Deanna Raybourn at a historical fiction panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book. Deanna made a comment on this topic that I thought was absolutely perfect. She said that she gets emails and letters all the time from historical sticklers saying things like, “A woman in Victorian England would not have…” Deanna’s response was that it’s impossible to know how every single woman in any culture behaved at any given moment. She had a great analogy for why this way of thinking can’t possibly work. Imagine it’s 300 years from now, and historians are trying to decide what women were like in the early 2000’s. If all they had to go on was a Martha Stewart Living magazine, would they be able to make the sweeping generalization that ALL women in 2014 would:

  1. Brainstorm lists of 23 fun things to do with mason jars
  2. Buy only color-coordinated dog toys
  3. Spend a significant amount of time “upcycling” their last-season clothing into charming handbags

Nope. So anyone who starts out a criticism of historical fiction by saying “Women of that time period would never…” is already on shaky ground.

But getting back to Pink I, my goal is to be finished with chapter twenty tomorrow – that’s approximately the halfway point. I know several of you have already finished, and that is great! I’m trying to pace myself throughout the month, but everyone is free to read at their own speed. Drop by tomorrow and chat about the first half of the book with me. I saw a comment somewhere that referred to Pink for All Seasons as the “Pink book club.” I love that! It does feel that way, too. It’s much more fun to read through a book you enjoy when you can share it with others.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, make sure you enter the giveaway for the signed copy of Pink I! I’ll announce the winner here tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Inspiration is Contagious

  1. This makes me feel so much better. I am on chapter 19 and thought I was really behind, for some reason. I got the audio book so that I can listen on my commute. I don’t find it to be quite as fulfilling as reading it myself, but I think the narrator is excellent. I also like the Whispersync feature that enables me to switch back and forth from reading on my kindle to listening.

    A historical fiction panel with both Lauren Willig and Deanna Raybourne? That must have been so fantastic! I applaud Deanna’s response!

    I am loving “The Pink Book Club”!

    • You are not behind, Paige! You are right on track. Plus everybody is going at their own speed, really. I know what you mean about the audio books – I prefer to read the book myself, but it can really make your commute better to have a good story to listen to!
      That HF panel really was amazing. Joanna Bourne was part of it too, and I still need to read something of hers.

  2. As a historian, it’s entirely accurate that we really don’t know how a person might act in the past! We do have more sources for Amy’s time, but quite often what we’re working with is how-to manuals! So, your Martha Stewart analogy is perfect! It gets even worse when they’re MORAL how-to manuals, so basically you know people WEREN’T actually acting that way, hence the perceive need for a manual, but you don’t know what was actually normal instead.

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