History Hoydens

Example

Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

02 June 2007

Bordelleos, with Bonnie Edwards

My Midnight Confessions series is an erotic romance set in a haunted bordello. What does this have to do with historical research? Plenty.

The spirits of the hookers who worked there each have a story to tell. Since they lived in Perdition House pre-WWI I had some major work to do.

For the first time ever, I found myself writing historical fiction. One question on the net about brothel museums led me to The Montana Historical Society at the state website.

I learned that Butte, Montana had a reputation for its bordellos and vice dens. And that the crusader Carrie Nation had met her match in madame May Maloy. The women scuffled and Carrie emerged the loser.

Butte became the perfect place for me to find my madame. Not a prostitute, but a kept woman, raised by a single mother who'd embraced the Free Love movement that rose in the years following the Civil War.

So, I had Carrie on one side of the movement for social change and Belle a fictional forward thinking free love advocate who also needed to make a living. I used Carrie's appearance in Butte as a ticking clock.

In one vignette about one of the hookers signs appear that Carrie's due to arrive. In another, I show the scuffle that ended Carrie's time in Butte. Carrie Nation is a catalyst for change within the novel's historical setting. Belle, my fictional madame, sees Carrie's interference in Butte's business as a sign that it's time to move on. She decides to collect several women and head west to Seattle to build a fine mansion dedicated to elite businessmen and powerful politicians.

Oddly, months after completing the first story I fell across the book: Stella, by Linda J. Eversole. This is a creative non-fiction biography of a madam, Stella Carroll who operated brothels from San Francisco to Victoria, BC.

Reading the account of Stella's life sent chills up my spine. Her reasons for choosing her locations were exactly the reasons I chose to set the mansion where I did. Her attitude toward living the high life, having the best wines, the best foods, fine clothes were shared by my fictional heroine, Belle Grantham.

Creepy? You bet. Except, that for me, the real story of Stella Carroll proved that I'd come at the characters correctly. They felt real to me and now, having read about Stella, I'm hoping my characters in Midnight Confessions feel real to the readers as well.

I'm pleased to be able to offer copies of both Midnight Confessions (March 2007) and Midnight Confessions II (June 2007) to two different readers.

7 Comments:

Blogger Amy S. said...

That's cool Bonnie! Is there another genre you haven't written in but would like to try? I loved Midnight Confessions and have Midnight Confessions II on my wishlist. I love reading about ghost stories and history on the internet.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Edwards said...

Well, I like humor, Amy. And I have a story with an empath I'm working on...it's sort of an adventure/romantic suspense...but not really.

Arrgh! I seem to find myself doing stories within stories...like the vignettes from the ghosts.

I can't say much more, but my agent LOVES the concept and I'm hoping to have ready to go soon.

Confused yet? LOL

Bonnie

12:51 PM  
Blogger Kimberly L said...

I love reading series books. Usually in the first book you like some of the characters and wish they had a story of their own.

3:32 PM  
Blogger KimW said...

Neat story about your book and Stella!

7:11 PM  
Blogger kim h said...

sound very hot love the cover

10:18 PM  
Blogger Sue A. said...

I just recently discovered the Aphrodisia line and learned about you and your books through the Aphrodisia Authors blog.

Is there a Midnight Confessions III? Will there be more?

12:48 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Edwards said...

Finding Stella was a big surprise. She ran several brothels, some for the rich...some for the not-so-rich. A fascinating woman...even had the bottom half of her leg shot off by a lover. Well, she was shot, then the lower half of the leg amputated.

And here I go with the history lessons again!

Sue, I'm hoping for an MC III b/c I'd love to write Belle's story. I'm full of ideas for it, but time will tell.

Thanks for asking!

And please look for BUILT where there's a novella (Rock Solid) set in Perdition House. The brother's story came out way back in July in PURE SEX.

Bonnie

8:57 AM  

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