~ By Molly Jameson
I had a reputation for exaggerating as a kid. I liked to think of it as creative license. I don’t object to reality necessarily, so much as I’d like to rearrange some things to make it entertaining.
So it makes sense for me as an author to bend the living world to my will, to make it fit the story I want to tell. My thought process was fairly straightforward. I like to look at gorgeous international destinations, designer clothes and shoes, and many of my dream holiday spots are museums and old buildings rather than beach resorts. I adore romance in all its forms, and I set out to create the kind of hero I’d fall for. Start with characters, then give them problems. There was the fixer, the second son whose family loyalty could destroy the only thing he ever wanted for himself. Then I devised was an environmentalist with a passion for his best friend’s sister. A brooding heir to the throne, then a fiery crusader for social justice with a media platform in Spain. An aid worker with PTSD and a body like the lead actor from Arrow. (Google him, you won’t be sorry). No offense to the women in the stories, but I often read a book because I crush on the guy.
I’m not a fantasy writer. I tried it once, and let’s just say that particular Word document is better off moldering on the hard drive. I couldn’t stick to a tone—there was a deadly plague and a drought, but also cute talking ponies who quoted Jane Austen. I know, right? Consistency was an issue—I liked to change things, but I was too lazy to look back to make sure none of my ideas were, say, directly contradictory to something I’d already established. I broke the rules of the worlds I invented. I broke rules I made myself. So it made sense to write something more realistic where I had slightly less wiggle room.
Contemporary romance happens in the almost-real world. In the alternate version of the present day I depict, things like Outlander and The Crown still exist and my characters listen to everything from David Bowie to Ed Sheeran. There’s just the very small alteration I made—the British royal family is totally different. Based not at all in reality. The House of Windsor is replaced with the House of Craismere, which is slightly more Scottish and a lot more scandalous.
I didn’t want to invent a fictitious country from whole cloth. So I went with England as it is now, with the crucial addition of a rather troubled and messy royal family with loads of willful adult children. I got to use my fascination with things like crown jewels and real palaces, and alter them however it was convenient. The Tate Modern, the Grand Pump Room and Roman Baths—fabulous Anglophile sights that I can fangirl over–turn up in the stories to give them a more concrete sense of place. As a reader, I love to experience a vivid setting—the Australia of Phryne Fisher or the Lyme of Anne Elliot. So it’s a treat for me to place characters in a spot we could actually visit (or at least ogle on Google Images).
I’m too fond of pop culture and too addicted to my modern conveniences (indoor plumbing and Wi-Fi) to write historical romance. I love to read it, but I realize that I’m no historian. It’s better that way as I’m far too lazy to keep essential research straight. I curtsey deeply to those clever and formidable historical authors who take such pains to weave their stories with as little disruption to actual events as possible. I admire their diligence, their respect for history.
I just want to tell a love story. If I have to bend the world a little to make it happen, that’s fine with me.
Molly Jameson is a thirtysomething Southern girl who writes romantic comedy. She loves Jane Austen, Bridget Jones, Outlander, and anything to do with the UK. In her boring real life, she raises kids, does freelance writing and editing, and reads too way much celebrity gossip for a woman with a Master’s degree. She is the indie author of six Royal Romances (a seventh is forthcoming, along with a new contemporary series set in Scotland). Her work is available on Kindle. Catch up with the latest news and to download a free short story, The Notorious Prince, at https://mollyjamesonbooks.com.