History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

20 July 2011

Introducing Frederick

I can’t believe that RIPE FOR SCANDAL is almost here! As I gear up for its release, I thought I’d talk about the non-dog animal that features in this book: a pig. I can hear my friends laughing from here. In general, I am not a great fan of pigs (I most commonly refer to them as “bacon waiting to happen”). There was a sow near where I stabled my horse as a teen that would regularly escape and go viciously marauding across the countryside. Anyone who’s had to use a buggy whip to deter a charging 600lb animal with teeth that go through bone like butter has good to distrust the creatures.

But I knew that my elegant, city-beau hero was going to end up on an estate that was, essentially, a large working farm. Nearly all great estates had home farms, and my hero needed something to get him invested in the idea of owning such a place (especially as the one in question is all the way down by the channel in Kent, a long ways away from friends and family for both characters). My heroine is smart enough know that love of home is a necessity for happiness, and thus gifts her new husband with a pig as part of the process of restoring their long dormant estate to prosperity.

Because I’m a a great proponent of heritage breeds, I did a little research and found the perfect one: the Gloucestershire Old Spot. It’s a large black and white pig, noted for its docility and intelligence, and examples of them date back in art to at least the Georgian era. As a bonus, the book features a Newfoundland (also black and white), so that added a layer of further interest and fun (at least for me) by allowing black and white to be a theme for the estate.

Frederick, of course, is not for eating. Hence he has a name. I imagine a long life of grazing and eating fallen fruit and siring hordes of little piglets who will not get names, but will provide bacon and ham for the table and perhaps help keep the estate in the black.

IMAGES: Top: GOS piglets; BOTTOM: The wolf and the sow, 1810.


Blogger Diane Whiteside said...

Pigs! How perfect! How did you know I was just thinking about pigs for my own historical? I shudder at the thought of fending one off with a buggy whip. You're far braver than I'd be.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Exciting the release date for Ripe for Scandal is almost here! I love the idea of a pig character. Pigs have a great literary tradition, going back at least to Charlotte's web.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

Frederick doesn't get a lot of page time, but I know that he's there and I know that he's going to be a mainstay of the farm for years to come.

After the third breakout the farmer was convinced to get rid of the giant evil sow (basically he got told by the cops that since he knew he couldn't contain her, if she hurt anyone, he'd be majorly liable).

8:24 AM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

I'm so looking forward to your newest, Isobel! And with the added attraction of a pig AND a Newfie I know I will love it!

My neighbors recently acquired a baby pot-bellied pig and have since announced from now on all of their dogs will be pigs! Apparently the little sowlette came completely house-trained at six weeks and hasn't had an accident yet.

8:40 PM  

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