History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

08 April 2015

Mayfair Memories

Getting ready for the May 15 release of my next Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch mystery, The Mayfair Affair, I've been revisiting some Mayfair locations that feature in the book. Here's a brief photo tour from some wonderful trips I took over a decade ago.

Here I am in Berkeley Square, the beautiful square in the heart of Mayfair, where Malcolm and Suzanne live.

This house in Berkeley Square is my model for the Rannochs' house. I love sitting in Berkeley Square and looking at it and imagining them:

This is the Albany, where many well to do bachelors lodged (Ernest/Jack lives there in The Importance of Being Earnest). My fictional characters David Mallinson and Simon Tanner share rooms here:

 This is Brooks's the famous club in St. James's Street that the Whigs frequented. The Mayfair Affair opens with the fictional Duke of Trenchard found murdered in his house in St. James's Square, not far away.

Do you like to visit locations in favorite books? Writers, what are your favorite research trips?

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Blogger Leslie Carroll said...

Nostalgic post, Tracy! Now I really want to go back and visit London ASAP!!

As Juliet Grey I have walked in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette in Austria, Paris, and Versailles. And for my Amanda Elyot HF, I walked all over London to research ALL FOR LOVE (for the lives of royal mistress Mary Robinson, Prinny, David Garrick, etc.) and TOO GREAT A LADY, for the lives of Emma Hamilton, Lord Nelson, etc.

And whenever possible I walk in the footsteps of the European royals who lives and loves I profile in my nonfiction.

I've also traveled for my contemporary fiction, even though much of it is based in NYC -- although I have gone as far as Dublin as well. I'm keen to make sure that my characters are experiencing what New Yorkers do. Nothing makes me crazier, as a NYC native, than books that have characters traveling the wrong way down a one-way street, or landmarks that are in the wrong place.

Stepping back in time, whether you're visiting the Middle Ages, Restoration, French Revolution, Regency, Victorian era, WWII, or the 1970s, is so important for authors when it comes to giving a sense of place -- and atmosphere -- to their work.

And Tracy, you do it better than just about any novelist I can think of!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Thanks, Leslie, that's the loveliest compliment! I love visiting the settings in my books (including through furnished rooms in museums, like the ones my daughter Mélanie and I both loved on our recent visit to the Met). I think capturing settings would actually be even more nerve-wracking in a contemporary, because as you say readers would really know if you get it wrong I can usually tell if a writer has actually visited the San Francisco Bay Area!

6:22 PM  

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