First an introduction. My name is Arabella Stokes, and I write about love. Mostly historical, with lots of lords, ladies, rakes and scoundrels, and maybe even a scallywag or two thrown in. I love and adore the English Georgian/Regency era, and hope that you will join me there this coming Fall when my first published novel, Proof of Love, will be released by Champagne Books.
Proof of Love is about the Duke of Danesleigh, who only believes in things he can weigh, measure and investigate scientifically. But even a rational, logical Duke needs a wife, so he sets out to find a mother for his heirs in a most scientific manner. Just as he runs his stables and his kennels.
When Lady Susan Lanier’s fiancé made her the scandalous laughing-stock of the Haute Ton, she lost all faith in love. Still, she’s a healthy young lady from a fine family, and she fits the Duke’s bridal specifications to a tee.
Together, these two come to learn that love may just be the greatest experiment of them all.
So, you may be asking (probably not, but you might be) – why a scientist, Arabella? People always ask writers where we get our ideas. Most of the time I give them a dumb look and say, “Umm, I dunno.”
But I know exactly where I got the inspiration for the terribly logical Duke of Danesleigh. After I saw Keira Knightly in The Duchess, I read several books about the Devonshire family. One of the odder sprouts I discovered on Georgiana’s family tree was her husband’s cousin, the scientist Henry Cavendish.
Henry was quite brilliant. He was the discoverer of hydrogen, which he named “flammable air,” he was the originator of the “Cavendish Experiment” (the first laboratory exploration of gravity between masses), and was one of the earliest scientists to study electricity.
Brilliant, yes. A typical Georgian/Regency rake, not so much. Poor Henry had some issues, to say the least. He was viewed as an eccentric, even by the somewhat generous standards of the Cavendish family. He communicated with female servants only through notes, built a new back staircase in his home so he could avoid contact with his housekeeper, and had no known friends outside of his family. He was so painfully shy that he did not publish accounts of his work, which nearly resulted in his discoveries being credited to other, more vocal colleagues. In fact, modern researchers believe he may have suffered from autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
Now, my scientist/Duke is far from shy and retiring, and definitely not afraid of the ladies. But if you trace him back to his roots, he was indeed inspired by poor Henry.
Have you a favorite odd duck from history to tell us about? A strange yet interesting personality who might make a good story? Leave a name and a brief blurb about him/her in the comments, if you would be so kind. One lucky commenter will get a gift certificate to my e-publisher, Champagne Books! (Which would let you buy my book this Fall, though there are lots of other yummy books in our bookstore!)
I hope you’ll check out my blog again soon. I write about anything that seizes my crazed imagination, from book reviews to the proper care of your muse, from classically erroneous rejection letters to the music I listen to as I write.Every so often the Duchess of Danesleigh even pops in to criticize modern manners.
Yall come back now, ya hear???