5 Facts About

AS THE DEVIL DARES

Normally, I try to come up with 10 interesting historical facts or bits about the book. But for this one, I could come up with only 5. But I think they're good ones. Enjoy! -- Anna

1. The “Great Books” theme continues in the Capturing the Carlisles series, as the novel is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. It also mentions Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, just as in IF THE DUKE DEMANDS, in which The Magic Flute has a “cameo” appearance. This book also makes use of Shakespeare and Milton in some very romantic ways. Don Quixote makes an appearance in book #2 of the series, WHEN THE SCOUNDREL SINS. I cannot help myself. (I have to put that English Ph.D. to good use somehow!)

2. Originally, the conflict between Mariah and her father was that she wanted to prove herself as good as any man. But that was changed when I realized that a woman as self-assured as Mariah would be appalled to discover that she wasn’t equal to a man in the first place.

3. Mariah Winslow’s best friend is Hugh Whitby. I completely made up his name. It was only after the novel was finished, when I was researching the area of Wapping where the Winslow Shipping & Trade offices are set, that I discovered this fact: “The Prospect of Whitby is a historic public house on the banks of the Thames at Wapping…It lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520.” Further, “Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from here in 1553 in a disastrous attempt to discover the North-East Passage to China.” So…Hugh Whitby. I had no idea, having come up with Whitby’s name a year before the novel was published. The coincidence gave me goose bumps. (Photo credit to Wikipedia)

4. I was influenced in this novel by screenwriter Blake Snyder’s plot manifesto, Save the Cat!, in which he argues that the hero must “save a cat” in order to make him more likable and relatable to the viewer. This pops up in movies all the time, although not necessary in the form of a cat. Although the scenes do not occur when my main characters are introduced, those scenes work their way in…when Robert (literally) saves a kitten and when Mariah comforts a little girl.

 

5. The novel mentions eloping to Gretna Green. Why was everyone running off to get married in Scotland? Because the Marriage Act of 1753 forbad quickie marriages and marriages for minors without parental consent. After 1753, marriage in England had only two options—get a license or read the banns, both of which required a waiting period in which the parents could stop the wedding, if they chose. But Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages,” in which a marriage was legal if a declaration was made before two witnesses. Because anyone could conduct a marriage ceremony, even the blacksmiths got in on the action, becoming known as “anvil priests” and marrying eloping couples “over the anvil.” Even today, Gretna Green is still the most popular spot for weddings in the UK. (P.S. – While most historical romance couples hit the road via carriage to get to Scotland, in reality, they would have gone by sea.)

© 2019 by Anna Harrington