Is there anything more intriguing that nature? As a writer, I find inspiration all around me:
A thunderstorm’s electric energy and brooding skies.
The crispness of a cool autumn breeze.
A new-fallen snow’s quiet stillness.
The delicate fragrance of spring’s first blooms.
I live in the Midwest, and this summer has been one of the most pleasant I can recall. The temperatures have been mild, the humidity has been low, and the skies have been clear and blue. I am always eager for the shifts in the seasons, but do you ever wonder … what if summer never came?
My novel The Headmistress of Rosemere takes place during England’s Regency Era. But more specifically, it takes place during the winter of 1816, which just happens to be England’s coldest winter on record.
1816 was England’s “year without a summer.” In London, snow fell in May, and snow was still on the Lake District’s highest peaks in July.
So why was it so cold? In April 1815, the volcano Mount Tambora erupted in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). The force of the blast launched debris into the atmosphere, lowering temperatures globally and blocking the sun’s rays, making the days seem dimmer.
This shift in the weather had major impact on England’s social, political, agricultural and economical landscape. The excessive precipitation and bitter temperatures devastated crops. Unemployment was rampant, and malnutrition and harsh conditions led to a rise in disease. But even during this time of gloom, the era’s artists found beauty in the midst of the shadows. The ominous weather inspired Byron’s haunting poem Darkness. Byron commented that he “wrote it… at Geneva, when there was a celebrated dark day, on which the fowls went to roost at noon, and the candles were lighted as at midnight.”
As I wrote The Headmistress of Rosemere, I loved incorporating the weather into the story line. The icy, still dreariness provided the perfect backdrop for lots of tension! And the weather was authentic to the time period: someone living in that location in that year would have been dealing with the exact weather conditions.
I love quiet stillness of winter, but I am always eager for the sun’s warm rays and the beauty of a lazy summer afternoon.
What about you? What is your favorite season? What season do you like the books you read to be set it?
Thank you so much for allowing me to visit “Inspired by Life … and Fiction”!
Sarah E. Ladd’s first novel, The Heiress of Winterwood, received 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance and is 2014 Carol Award finalist. Her latest release is The Headmistress of Rosemere, and her next novel, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall, will release in October of 2014.She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever. Connect with her online! Visit her website, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.