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When I finally decided to try writing contemporary romance after almost twenty years of writing historicals, I knew it wasn’t going to work if I had a 19th-century-type rogue sauntering through contemporary society using words like “wench,” or “perchance.” I was going to have to change some things. The more I pondered plots and characters, the more evident it became that creating a modern hero was going to involve a lot more than just altering his dialogue.
The dialogue was the place to start, though. People of means in Regency or Victorian Britain were genuinely concerned about how they expressed themselves in conversation—not only to convey an idea clearly, but to do it with style. Conversation was an art, meant to entertain and improve. Most of my historical romance heroes love to talk—they banter, argue, and cajole with a pretty extensive vocabulary. In fact, the hyper-articulate ones are the ones readers mention to me more often, such as St. Vincent from Devil In Winter, (asking his new bride Evie, “Do you truly expect that you and I are going to share a bed tonight as chastely as a pair of nuns on holiday?”) . . . and Leo from Married By Morning, (telling Catherine Marks, “My heart is completely and utterly yours. And unfortunately for you, the rest of me comes with it.”) Even the supposedly taciturn Merripen from Seduce Me At Sunrise has no problem expressing himself as he tells Win: “All the fires of hell could burn for a thousand years and it wouldn’t equal what I feel for you in one minute of the day. I love you so much there is no pleasure in it. Nothing but torment. Because if I could dilute what I feel for you to the millionth part, it would still be enough to kill you.”
[What’s my name again?...]