Pink II: Ask the Author

Black Tulip

Happy Halloween to all!  To wrap up our lovely month of reading The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig has agreed to return for Ask the Author!  What questions do you have about Miles and Henrietta?  Is there something you’ve always wondered about Lord Vaughn or the Marquise de Montval?  Now is your chance to ask!

Leave your questions below in the comments section.  Lauren will be stopping by periodically throughout the day to answer.  As an added incentive, I have some Pink Swag to give away to two of today’s commenters.  Are you intrigued?  Consider it your Halloween treat.

Thanks for agreeing to hang out with us today, Lauren!  I’ll get the ball rolling – did you have any particular inspiration for Lord Vaughn?

22 thoughts on “Pink II: Ask the Author

  1. Hi! I have a question for Lauren – how prevalent was the must-get-married-to-avoid-scandal problem in this period? I was glad at how things turned out for Hen and Miles, but I felt so bad that she was forced into it due to some moonlight making-out. After all, Richard seemed MUCH more forward with Amy!

    • It was definitely a real consideration! We’re talking about a segment of society that still operates on principles of primogeniture, which means that reputation and (sexual) virtue really mattered. Because who wants to have to worry that their heir isn’t really theirs? Being compromised would have chilling effects on a woman’s reputation/ marriagability, which is why you have the married-to-avoid-scandal response.

      As with any society, you have fascinating contrasts at play. Because of the importance of the heir, you have great emphasis placed upon the sexual virtue of marriagable girls, while, at the same time, permitting a certain level of licentiousness among matrons who had already the required heir and spare.

      On the Amy front, she was in Paris, so all bets were off. : )

  2. I like Holly’s question. Can I ask more than one? Is it correct that the Marquise was still married to Vaughn when she married the French Marquis? And, why didn’t Colin just tell Eloise what was wrong when he rushed her out of the house?

    • Ask as many as you like!

      — The Marquise had an affair with Vaughn in the 1790s, after her marriage to the Marquis, but she was never married to Vaughn. We’ll learn more about Vaughn’s first wife in Pink IV, “The Seduction of the Crimson Rose”.

      — Oh, Colin. So not good at communicating.

  3. I agree with Holly, Richard seemed very hypocritical. Later we found out that Miles was trying to move things along faster.

    • No arguments here. Richard certainly has one set of standards when it comes to his own behavior and another when it comes to his sister. I think there are other issues at play, too. Part of Richard’s outrage is because (on a very visceral and childlike level) Miles is meant to be HIS friend. Deep down, he’s kind of jealous and a little bit afraid. Because Miles has always been his sidekick, his best friend, and, suddenly, he doesn’t come first anymore. He’s also used to being the leader in their little group– but this time, Miles isn’t following. He’s making his own life for himself. And that’s very scary for Richard, particularly in this time of flux in his life, when he’s moving on from all those years in the field to trying to build a school and wondering if it’s going to work and missing his field work and all of that other soul-searching stuff that he’s just bottling up.

      • Very interesting reply. I thought it might be a little of “not with my sister”, since Richard considered Miles a part of the family and had asked him to protect Henrietta.

  4. Hi Lauren,

    Rereading the Masque of the Black Tulip made me focus on many things I didn’t know or think about before. What was your intent for Lord Vaughn when you began the book? He sure did give the appearance of being a villain (what magnificent writing and use of a ‘red herring’). I did like his final appearance and was just wondering if you always intended him to be a distraction and not really so villainous.

    Also, did you have plans for your minor characters when you began writing, or did some of them evolve as your series evolved? I’m thinking in particular of Miss Grey, who of course meant nothing in my first reading.

    Thanks always for your insight and such great books. I am looking forward to next month’s, because I have read a lot about Irish history since I first read The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

    • Lord Vaughn began life merely as “that guy whose footman was murdered”. Little did I realize that as soon as I introduced him, he would stroll over with his serpent-headed cane and take over the book. That’s Lord Vaughn for you. I hadn’t even intended him as a red herring originally (he didn’t rise to the level of plot point) but as soon as he began talking it became very, very clear that he was going to play a much larger role than I had imagined.

      One curious Vaughn fun fact. Every time he entered a scene, I would hear a little trill of baroque music in my head. It was Vaughn’s theme. He’s the only character to have a musical theme, which says something about the way he takes over.

      On the minor character point, I had vague notions that they might come in handy some day, but nothing specific planned for them. I wrote “Black Tulip” in 2004/5. In the spring of 2008, I had just handed in “Night Jasmine” (Pink V), and was rewarding myself with some prone-on-the-couch tv watching. The movie version of Susan Isaac’s “Shining Through” came on, about a woman who goes undercover as a governess in Nazi Germany, and I found myself thinking, oooh, wouldn’t it be nice if her employer (played by Liam Neeson) weren’t a Nazi. Because he’d make a great hero otherwise. What if he were… French? And what if the governess was Miss Grey? And, suddenly, Miss Grey had a story. (Well, not that suddenly. I wrote “Blood Lily” and “Mistletoe” first. But the idea for Miss Grey’s story had formed.) But more about that when we get to “Orchid Affair”….

  5. Happy Halloween! Lauren I just love this book! I enjoy the Hen/Miles romance and their banter back and forth. I may have overlooked this in the books, but my question has to do with Lord Vaughn. I know he is supposed to be “older” than the other gentleman in the story, but just how old is he supposed to be?

  6. Hope I’m not loo late! I noticed a reference to the Duke of Belliston’s house when Miles was “visiting” the Vaughn residence, did you always know he would be making an appearance later, or was that another opportunity that popped up?

    Thank you!

    • Not too late at all! I always knew I wanted to do something about that reclusive Duke of Belliston some day, but I hadn’t figured out, until I got around to thinking about Sally’s story, what it would be.

  7. Reblogged this on Inspiration in Creation and commented:
    Check Out Lauren Willig in Ask the Author about the Masque of the Black Tulip over on The Bubblebath Reader. And, a new month means a new book in the Pink for All Seasons read-along, blog along. This month we’re reading The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

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