Gabrielle Bisset

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I've had to do a fair amount of research for my current novella.  The story takes place in Victorian England in 1850.  I have a character who's a young child, and I wanted him to require a nanny and a tutor.  However, first I had to find out if that would be something wealthy English parents would have for a young boy.  After researching, I learned I could indeed choose the nanny/tutor combination or just a governess.  However, a governess was more for girls than boys, so I decided to stay with the nanny/tutor choice. 

I also learned that during the Victorian Era many children, even those in wealthy families, didn't attend school or have lessons in any subjects at all.  It's only by the end of the Victorian Era that all children must attend school until they're 12. 

I also had to research for the BDSM details in the story.  This was a bit different from the education research, however. I'd learned in undergraduate school that sex in the Victorian period was quite freaky compared to what the time seemed to be on the surface.  As is the case in times of repression, what lives just underneath the surface allows the wilder side of people to run free. 

This research has been quite interesting, to say the least.  While my story isn't hardcore BDSM, it does involve facets of the "lifestyle". 

I also researched the Anglo-Afghan Wars that the British were involved in right before the middle of the 19th century because one of the characters is a captain in the British army who served in the wars. 

Finally, I've been researching the local foods of Afghanistan and the foods wealthy Londoners ate in the time period.  The Afghan information relates to the primary male character, Kadar, and the food sounds divine.  Baklava and qubli pulao, a dish of rice, raisins, carrot, and lamb with saffron and cardomon are just two of the delicious treats I have Kadar feed Lily, the female lead character.  I was hungry the whole time I was writing the scene!

In addition, I had to know what foods Londoners would have eaten in well-to-do households in 1850.  From what I learned, they ate quite well.  Combine the Afghan food with the fruits and nuts readily available to people of money in that time period, and Kadar had quite a selection to choose from for his sensual meal with her. 

I've enjoyed researching this novella a great deal.  This is my second novella in this time period, and I think if I find another idea for this time period, I will go with a novella format again. I plan on self-publishing each of them and then when the three of them are published, maybe I'll format all three into a book in addition to selling the ebooks individually.  I'll have to mull that over. 


Nadja Notariani said...

Everything sounds good. I don't know much at all about the Anglo-Afghan I'll look forward to the back story there. ~Nadja

Gabrielle said...

Very interesting time. I don't know how much of the wars I'll include in the back story, but I do plan to have some in there. I'm enjoying this story a lot!

C.E. Hart said...

Isn't research fun? Time consuming, but fun. LOL

I love the idea of combining the three novellas into one book. :)

Happy writing!