It was more problematic to include a picture of Geoff, the hero. You’ve probably figured out that he’s the English lieutenant mentioned in the title. The trouble is that in the novel he’s not in uniform, because he’s spying on the Americans in the Oregon Territory.
I thought it would be confusing to see him wearing ordinary clothes of the period, but it would be inaccurate to show him wearing his uniform. And showing him not wearing any clothes at all might work for some types of romance novels, but definitely not for this one. So you’ll just have to imagine what he looks like, okay?
In 1845, Britain and the United States were both considering going to war over which one of them had the right to claim the Oregon Territory. (Neither side seems to have bothered to consult the people actually living there at the time.)
The British wanted to claim the territory all the way down to the border with Mexican-held California. The Americans, on the other hand, wanted to claim the territory all the way up to the Russian-held Alaska. In map terms, they claimed the border was 40 minutes past the 54th parallel. Their motto was 54-40 or Fight. From their point of view, America needed this land, to provide room for the people coming west to settle. It was their right to claim it. This whole argument was what led to term ‘Manifest Destiny’ being coined.
The British didn’t have a catchy motto. They were mainly interested in the resources, such as lumber and furs. Thanks to the fashion in beaver hats dying out, that meant they really only wanted to hold onto the land for the trees. And they still had a whole lot of trees in Canada. Even so, they didn’t like the idea of giving up land, especially to the ex-colonials with whom they’d already gone to war twice in the last 70 years. The British government decided to send out a pair of army lieutenants on a confidential mission to investigate, see how much work it would take to make the territory defensible against the Americans.
That’s what led to me writing The English Lieutenant’s Lady. I was fascinated by the idea of the British sending spies into Oregon, the more so as neither of these men were in any way professional spies. One was a general’s aide-de-camp, with a talent for watercolors. The other was an engineer. The two of them posed as tourists while they drew up plans to occupy Oregon City, build forts on the Columbia river, and keep the Americans out. What if one of them also fell in love while he was in Oregon? There is documentation to support this possibility.
And indeed there will be time…
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Arthur Prufrock
I am making progress on my revisions for The English Lieutenant’s Lady.
It just doesn’t feel like it.
Seriously, I am getting close to done. Well, as close as ever I get. Close to muttering imprecations under my breath and calling it Done so I don’t have to look at it any longer. I’ve got a couple of chapters revised on my Victorian romance, which is going slower than it should be, mostly because I’m 40% done with the rough draft of The-Story-I-Shouldn’t-Be-Working-On-Yet.
Mind you, according to the schedule I’d optimistically drawn up a few months ago, I should be finished with all of these stories and just typing The End on a story that I’ve been dreaming of for–well, for longer than I want to admit.
So many stories, so little time. I wish there were such a thing as a fairy godmother, who could wave a wand and find a way for me to pay the bills and keep NotMyCat fed without having to work at a day job.
I haven’t been posting too much about the forthcoming publication of His Forgotten Fiancée. Truth to be told, I’ve been trying not to think about it.
Well, not completely. I have written some guest posts for a few blogs. But I’ve been trying to avoid most advance reviews and just focus on getting the next novel out. I am working my way through the first batch of edits back from the editor for Geoff and Lia’s story, The English Lieutenant’s Lady. I just submitted Neil and Sam’s story, I’m roughing out scenes for a new contemporary romantic suspense story, and I’m updating a Victorian romance for an agent who requested the manuscript.
Working on several projects at once does help me keep my mind off fretting about a book that’s out of my hands. But I wish I could get these stories finished now. I don’t want to have to stop writing to deal with the need to pay the mortgage and the myriad chores inherent in living in a fixed place on this planet. It is tedious to have to work a day job and clean house and tidy the yard and all those things. I need staff.
A couple dozen sounds about right… of course, I’d have to have a mansion to house them all… and a whole lot of money in the bank and… well… maybe I’ll hold off on these plans until after my first book is published.