Walking in the Footsteps of Characters: A Personal Journey and Geoforced Maps

Dear reader, do you know what a geoforced map is? Imagine a tapestry of exquisitely detailed geography, adorned with cobbled streets, architecturally rich buildings, and the sweeping grandeur of landscapes from your most cherished era. A geoforced map artfully intertwines these elements with the narrative of your favorite regency romance novel, adding a layer of realism that resonates beyond mere words on a page.

In essence, a geoforced map superimposes historical maps onto modern-day locations, providing a visual time-travel experience. This innovative tool ensures that both writers and readers can traverse the paths of their characters, wandering through the very terrains where they lived and loved centuries ago.

For my Diamond Dynasty series, I had to refer to many maps, images, and primary sources from the time to provide an authentic backdrop to the treasure hunt that stretches through the whole series. The National LIbrary of Scotland, for instance, provides an amazing geoforced map that I referred to for the scene in which Peter and Aurelia walk to Primrose House in the fifth book of the series In A Precious Vow. Although I made up the street name, the geography is correct. Let me explain why I changed the street name...

The crux of a magnificent regency romance lies in delicate balance: harmonizing truth with imagination. The backbone of any credible narrative set in the past is historical geographical research, yet the art of storytelling often necessitates a touch of artistic license.

For many readers, it is not the exact details that matter, but rather the essence of the era. As a writer, I often find myself at the crossroads where factual streets intersect with the creation of a creative narrative. It is crucial to discern when to exercise artistic liberty, whether it involves altering a building's chronology for plot convenience or envisioning a garden maze where none existed. These liberties are akin to the elaborate sets of a Hollywood movie—authentic in spirit, if not in every brick and stone.

To ensure that my novels capture the very heart of the regency era, I have embarked on countless research trips, including a memorable venture to London, another to Dublin, to Florence, and a tour of European castles. As I stepped through labyrinths of streets and past historic landmarks, I felt a profound connection with the world I had brought to life through my writing and still continue to every time I type the next line. Each cobblestone and every gargoyle whispered untold stories in their shadows. I won't bore you with the many pictures I took of doorbells and wrought iron gates, but they all somehow inspire aspects of the settings in my stories.

The joy of being present where history unfolded is unparalleled. It allows us, as storytellers, to pen scenes with an intimacy and vibrancy that withstand the test of time. Research may begin with maps, archives, and dusty tomes, but it culminates in the visceral experience of treading the same earth as our characters.

Here's a video I made about one of my trips. I'll make more soon!

Walking in the Footsteps of Characters: A Personal Journey and Geoforced Maps
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