Getting Off On History
An introductory guest post by Regina Kammer
I love history. I love reading about history, visiting heritage sites, wandering through history exhibitions in museums. And I love reading historical romance and historical erotica. The settings themselves are exciting.
You see, I get off on history.
In today’s world, there’s an erotic romance to fit every predilection imaginable: BDSM, vampires, shape-shifters, small-town America, billionaires, firefighters, Bigfoot, etc. As romance readers we tend to gravitate to the sub-genre that, uh, “inspires” us most.
For me, just thinking about the rigid restraints of history sets my heart a-flutter.
In the same way some readers get off on bondage – or, rather, get off on reading about other people in bondage – I’m titillated by the restrictions historical settings demand. I love the external plot elements created by real-life events, the social rules and proscriptions, the limitations of technology, the encumbering costume (although some eras afforded a great deal of freedom with the lack of costume!).
In my writing, I like to incorporate history as the spark to set the plot afire: the use of the vibrator as a treatment for hysteria in The Pleasure Device; the nascent American railway system in Disobedience by Design; the British capture of New York during the American Revolution in The General’s Wife. In “The Promise of Memory”, my Roman-set short story in Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors, the heroine’s predicament is a consequence of Trajan’s campaigns in Germania.
Of course I’ve written contemporary stories, two actually for Cleis Press the publisher of Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors. I’ve even written Steampunk – which I found fun with its pseudo-Victorian/Edwardian setting. But as a reader and a writer I feel most comfortable turning the pages of a story set in a time long past, losing myself in history.
What about you? Do you find a story’s historical setting as enthralling as I do?
5 thoughts on “Getting Off On History”
I write mostly (but not exclusively) lesbian erotica and erotic romance, and when it comes to historical restraints they have even more of an effect on LGBTQ people. I hesitate to call it a good side, but the inherent complexities and barriers do come in handy for plots and tension.
Absolutely, Sacchi, LGBTQ romance set in a post-Roman world has more hurdles to jump to get to that Happily-Ever-After. I met a historical romance writer who did not like writing m/m because she felt there could never truly be an HEA for her characters. Ending with a resolution more than bittersweet is definitely a challenge.
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