Tuesday, June 1, 2010


As a historical romance author, I frequently spend a lot of time
pouring over information about famous authors and their works. So, here
are just a few facts I've garnered over the years. Or course, some
of the facts destroy their legends.

Let's start with Jane Austen. She and John F Kennedy, USA President,
had something in common. They both suffered from the same disease,
Addison's Disease.

Samuel Pepys wrote a detailed diary of the plague and fire of London,
but he also recorded, again in detail, the lives of England's aristocracy.
In fact, some of the details of his life and what was going on around him
was so damning, he kept his diary under lock and key. The diary was finally
published in 1835, but it wasn't until 1970 that it was translated completely.
Pepys had written a lot of the details in Spanish, Greek, French, Dutch, Italian, Latin and his own shorthand.

Did you know that Charles Dickens made half of his money from performing
readings of his own work? He died with a large estate, unusual for an
artist of the time. He claimed he had to support a wife he didn't like
and a mistress he did, (although few people knew about her). Another
interesting fact - Dickens, while he lived, was panned by the Times of
London. They scoffed claiming he was nothing but an entertainer, a
derogatory description at the time. When he died they honored him,
declaring him important enough to be bury in Westminster Abbey.

Finally, interesting facts about two ladies of history. Calamity Jane,
the subject of many a dime novel, was not what was depicted in those
stories. Oh, yes, she was a sharp shooter, but she was frequently drunk,
was probably never Wild Bill's lover, was arrested for disorderly conduct,
and could swear worse than the railroad workers and cowboys of the time.

I also found some startling information about Florence Nightingale, the
famous nurse. When she came home from the Crimean War she went to bed
and there she stayed for the next 54 years, over half her life, issuing
orders and accomplishing more than most people who are up and about.

And you never know when I just might use some of these strange facts in
another novel. Research is so enlightening!


Big Mike said...

she had the hots for WB and wanted to get hitched but he wasn't into it. Don't you wonder how the legends go out of kilter with reality?

Big Mike
Author of the year (2008 and 2009)

Big Mike said...

Sorry, there was suppose to be an "I had always heard" before my early comment.