Inside The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

 

  • Version 1.0 of The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever was written in 1994, just after Splendid (my first novel) was bought for publication. For various reasons, it never quite made it onto the publishing schedule, but I always thought it was the best of my early books, so I kept waiting for the right moment to finally publish it. With the Bridgerton series complete, 2007 seemed the perfect time. I’d planned to spend 2-3 weeks cleaning it up, but I quickly realized I’d need 2-3 months. I found the process enormously exciting and enriching–it was the first time in years I was free to just write, without having to worry about what was going to happen next.
  • I resisted the temptation to drop a Bridgerton into the story, but I did keep the mention of the Duke of Ashbourne, who was the hero of Splendid. I’d included him back in the first version and saw no reason to change him.
  • Most of the book is a blend of what was written in 1994 and 2006, but some large chunks and scenes come from just one version. The prologue is almost entirely from 1994, while Chapter One is completely new. The scene in the bookshop is also almost entirely from the early version.
  • Miranda lives in the Lake District, in the village of Ambleside, which in the 19th century was in the county of Cumberland. In 1974, however, the UK enacted the Local Government Act 1972, which reorganized many administrative counties. Cumberland was absorbed into Cumbria (along with Westmorland and parts of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire) and was wiped off the administrative map. The name still exists as a geographical and cultural term, however. But it’s a warning to historical romance writers everywhere–make sure you look at maps from the time period in which you are writing! It would have been terrible if I’d had Miranda living in Cumbria.

    1824 map of Cumberland

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