Monday, March 25, 2013

A Regency Lady Meets Third-Grade Students

This week I had the honor and privilege of being a visiting author at my granddaughter's third-grade class. Speaking to 9-year-olds about books and writing represents something of a challenge, considering that I write love stories, and some hot and spicy ones at that. Reading a passage from my books would require some pretty careful editing.

So I decided to talk about research, and the many differences between their lives as kids born into the 21st century and what things would have been like for 9-year-olds and their parents 200 years ago, during the Regency period when many of my stories are set. 

And I went dressed as a Regency lady -- gown, shawl, gloves... I skipped the corset, though. :)

I was pleased at how quickly these very savvy kids defined the math problem of how many years ago the Regency period began and came up with the answer. And then we started talking about all the differences -- the things that didn't exist 200 years ago. They easily got all the obvious ones -- cell phones and the Internet, cars and electric lights. I had to prod a little to get them to figure out that refrigeration was hardly the easy and commonplace thing we have today, and they were stunned when we figured out that the trip from their school to the state capital -- a two-hour drive today -- would take something like twenty hours and at least 10 different teams of horses.

Among the things which surprised them most were schools. Despite the number of their peers who are home-schooled today, they were startled by the fact that kids their age would have been educated at home by governesses, or they'd have gone to boarding school -- if their families could afford it. Or they simply wouldn't have gone to school at all, if their families were poor.

Next time -- and I've already been invited to speak to another group of 9 and 10-year-olds next month -- I'll try to find a piece of one of my books which I can actually share with the kids. 

But this time, we finished up with a story about a pet duck my family used to have -- a children's book my husband and I are thinking of publishing later this year. That's Just Ducky at two days old -- already showing her inborn instincts by trying to incubate an egg!

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