Sunday, September 20, 2020

# Guest Posts

Writing a Historical Romance Where the Protagonists Were Enemies by Jackie Barbosa @jackiebarbosa #guest #writing


Writing a Historical Romance Where the Protagonists Were Enemies
By Jackie Barbosa

You can generally count on three things in Regency-set romance: high-waisted gowns, Hessian boots, and Britain being at war with France and its allies. Granted, a few books set in this era take place either before hostilities kicked off or after they ended for good with Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, but there’s just no denying that the genre is splitting at the seams with soldiers and spies and intrigue related to this pivotal conflict. Given the prominence of the Napoleonic War in the consciousness of both readers and writers of Regency romances, it’s easy to forget that the British also got into a little contretemps with a fairly well-known country known as the United States of America.

The War of 1812 is referred to as “a forgotten conflict” by historian Donald R. Hickey. In fact, the title of his book on the military, political, and diplomatic history of the war is The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. And it’s easy to understand why. After two and a half years, the war ended with more of a whimper than a bang, with neither side truly winning or losing. If Americans remember the War of 1812 at all, they probably do so because Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to the national anthem during the British attack on Fort McHenry or because the British burned the US Capitol. Beyond that, it’s an easy war to forget.

 For years, I’d been toying with the idea of a historical romance in which the protagonists were “enemies.” When the concept first occurred to me, I considered writing a book set during the Revolutionary War, but I quickly discarded that plan for two reasons. First, I’m not nearly as familiar with the late Colonial period as I am with the Regency; I would have to do a lot of additional research to get the details of setting more or less right. Second, it occurred to me that it would be very difficult to make the romance and the required happily-ever-after believable when the two sides of that war were so very far apart.

Setting Sleeping with the Enemy during the War of 1812 instead solved both of those problems for me. It’s squarely in the Regency period, which meant I only had to concern myself with researching those aspects of the plot that had to do specifically with the war and other concurrent events. And second, both Britain and the United States had some legitimate grievances and some illegitimate ones leading into the declaration of war by the US (this is a great explanation, IMO: and thus it’s hard to say that either side was “good” or “bad.”

Sleeping with the Enemy opens with the widowed heroine finding what she believes at first is the corpse of a British officer following the Battle of Plattsburgh (fought on September 11, 1814). When he proves himself very much alive, she takes him home to her farm and nurses him back to health. Their romance develops from there, with the first half of the book taking place in upstate New York and the second half in London.

I sincerely hope readers will enjoy both the love story and learning just a little bit more about an often forgotten aspect of both British and American history.

About the Author

Jackie Barbosa can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an author when she grew up, but there were plenty of times when she wasn’t sure she ever would be. As it turns out, it just took her about twenty years longer to grow up than she expected!

On the road to publication, Jackie took a few detours, including a stint in academia (she holds an MA in Classics from the University of Chicago and was a recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities) and many years as a technical writer/instructional designer for a data processing company. She still holds her day job, but her true vocation has always been writing fiction and romance in particular.

Jackie is a firm believer that love is the most powerful force in the world, which that makes romance the most powerful genre in the world. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!






About the Book:

When Mrs. Laura Farnsworth discovers the blood-stained body of a man wearing the distinctive red coat of the British army, her first instinct is to let dead dogs lie. It has, after all, been just two days since the Battle of Plattsburgh, and the disposition of enemy corpses is hardly her purview. But then the man proves himself to be very much alive by grabbing her ankle and mumbling incoherently.

After almost twenty-five years in His Majesty’s service, Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Langston never expected to wake up in heaven, much less being tended by an angel. But when he regains consciousness in the presence of a beautiful, dark-haired woman and with no memory of how he came to be there, what else can he think? Except it’s rather odd for an angel to have an American accent.

As the long-widowed Laura nurses the wounded Geoffrey back to health, the attraction between them heats from a simmer to a boil. Bound by his oath to the British crown, Geoffrey should be working to find his way back to his regiment and from the, to England. Instead, he’s sleeping with the enemy…and thereby committing the crime of desertion if not treason. But then, who’s going to find out?

If only Geoffrey didn’t have a family back home who refuse to take “missing in action” for an answer.


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Other Books by Jackie Barbosa:

Sleeping with the Enemy other books


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