Mea Culpa, Midnight Pleasures
- Do you know what the bugbear of historical novelists is? Titles! Lord Pillypettle and Lady Sillytrisket, the Duke of Coddswillow and the Marquess of Biddle, or is it Marquess Biddle? Or should he be known by his proper name, Lord Jinglebutt? Those pesky things are impossible to understand and I constantly get them wrong. Constantly! Don’t even ask what went wrong in Midnight Pleasures… after I received a small flood of irate letters, I hired an expert to read my novels before they go into page proofs and pay particular attention to titles.
- Reyanna wrote to point out that in Chapter Eight Patrick strikes a match. Argh. No matches were around to be “struck” until the late 1820s. I’m afraid there are probably many little errors like these in my early books (Midnight Pleasures was only my second). I’ve learned a lot about history in the process of writing twenty-some historical novels.
- A tea expert named Lois wrote with a fascinating note about the history of tea. Midnight Pleasures mentions Patrick’s “man in Ceylon” in reference to black tea. However, tea was first planted in Ceylon as an experiment in 1841, as a result of the Opium Wars. England was looking for places outside China to cultivate tea, and they chose Ceylon and Assam in India. Even as late as 1867 there was very little tea grown in Ceylon, only 1000 acres. At the time of Midnight Pleasures all the tea consumed in England came from China and was mostly green tea.