That’s the simple version.
For a start, I wrote Regency romance, not just any old romance. It’s a very distinct genre, set in England in the early 1800s, when Jane Austen was published. The doyenne of the (sub)genre was Georgette Heyer, who set the standard for humour, well-developed characters, historical accuracy, and lively dialogue. Fans of regencies often don’t read any other kind of romance.
Given the limits of the genre, I managed to write all sorts of stories, some set around historical events such as the Battle of Waterloo, some comedies of manners, some exploring serious subjects like the mistreatment of chimneysweeps (Crossed Quills). I also branched out into several sub-sub-genres: fantasy—fairytales rewritten with a Regency setting (The Magic of Love); time travel (Byron’s Child);
and a ghost story (The Actress and the Rake).
One of my regencies was classified by the publisher as a “Regency Historical,” largely, I gathered, because it was considerably longer than normal.
I’ve even heard from medievalists that nothing after 1400 (or is it 1500?) can be described as historical as that’s when the “modern era” began. I hope they have their tongues in their cheeks!
As far as I’m concerned both my series are historical. Yes, I lived through the ’60s and ’70s, but I have to do research about the past when writing both.
Another battle is whether to call both series “cosy/cozy” or “traditional.” I used to be quite happy with the cosy label until a flood of craft mysteries arrived on the scene, in which the mysteries of the craft get as much attention as the mystery of the crime. Nowadays I much prefer to be placed in the traditional group.
Both terms are ill-defined, but they do guide readers to the type of stories they prefer. That, I suppose, is the purpose of the whole shebang.
|Carola Dunn is author of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, Cornish Mysteries, and multitudinous Regencies.|