Tomorrow I launch Season of Light. My little boat. Funny old word, launch, but actually quite accurate. It's a real case of cutting the ribbon and sending out the little craft into choppy waters. And nothing else for me to do but hope it will keep afloat.... Enough of this extended metaphor.
Meanwhile I note that Georgette Heyer has a new biography written about her, and it hasn't gone down too well. I was a great fan of Heyer's when a teenager, and I return to her in moments of great stress - the last being a few weeks ago, in Whitby in fact. I didn't choose a particularly good sample of Heyer's work, but as I read it, I did reflect on what I used to love so much. The fact was, it was a deal more fun to be a Heyer heroine, tripping in and out of disasters with a winsome smile and a toss of auburn curls - and falling in the end into the arms of some dashing or saturnine lover, than to be a school girl complete with specs, spots, plastic school bag and too much homework. Whatever else she might have done with historical fiction, Heyer made it fun to be in the past.
Now I'm not saying that the fiction has necessarily got to be fun, or historical fiction skittish or trivial, but I do think that however dreadful a situation might be, there is no need for the author to lose their sense of irony or absurdity. Georgette Heyer made me smile. My new book, Season of Light, is set in a very tricky and serious episode in history - The French Revolution - but I hope the characters are real - and therefore as subject to human frailty, and likely to be mistaken or ridiculous, as anybody today, or indeed at any other time in the past.