Monday, June 26, 2017

Blog Tour: Stoker & Bash by Selina Kray ~ Guest Post #Giveaway

Hi, romance lovers! I'm Selina Kray, and this is the latest stop on the Stoker & Bash blog tour. A huge thank you to the lovely people at Diverse Reader for hosting me today. I thought I'd talk a little bit about some of the historical details in Stoker & Bash: The Fangs of Scavo, namely my lead character, a not-so-dedicated follower of fashion.

What do you think of when you think of Victorian London? Shadows? Fog? Gas lamps? Horse-drawn carriages? Eerie old houses with iron gates? While its reputation for all things dark, dreary, repressed, and mysterious is not undeserved, anyone who's read a novel set in this time knows there was much more to it than that. Except when it came to men's fashion.

As the decades of Queen V's life wore on, the vibrant colors and opulent patterns of the Regency period (think Jane Austen) were snuffed out by somber hues: brown, grey, and black, black, black. Collars got higher and trousers got longer. Men's formal wear became something of a uniform: black trousers, white shirt, black waistcoat, black jacket with tails, black hat, and a black tie. Sensing a theme?

Season to season, the style varied only in choice of tie, cut of suit, or texture of fabric. Men had more choice when it came to facial hair than their clothes. So what is the writer of a flamboyant character to do with such a monochrome palette? Simple: paint outside the lines.

In our dedication to getting every detail exactly right, we historical fiction authors (or maybe it's just me) sometimes forget that just because fashion trended a certain way in a certain time period doesn't mean everyone was a dedicated follower of fashion. While it's vital that anyone writing historical fiction research those trends, it's equally important to consider how each of your characters interprets them.

Which isn't to say your protagonist should be dressing in togas in the Wild West. But filtering all your research through the character's class, age, profession, and personality—the writer's version of an episode of What Not to Wear—will help you decide whether your lead should be in a sack or a frock coat.

When it came to dressing Hieronymus Bash, a character synonymous with panache, those somber late-Victorian colors simply wouldn't do. While the cut of his suit or the style of his tie remains on trend, when it comes to color, Hiero, as in everything else, goes five steps beyond too far. A meticulously tailored crimson suit with a gold brocade waistcoat. A smoking jacket in teal with silver embroidery. A tangerine silk handkerchief. And always, always, a cape.

If you're thinking to yourself that these sartorial choices draw undue attention, are maybe a little over the top, that's precisely the point. Hiero puts on the greatest fashion show those drab Victorians have ever seen... to keep them from looking too closely at what he has to hide.

Length: 100,000 words


At Scotland Yard, DI Timothy Stoker is no better than a ghost. A master of arcane documents and niggling details who, unlike his celebrity-chasing colleagues, prefers hard work to headlines. But an invisible man is needed to unmask the city’s newest amateur detective, Hieronymus Bash. A bon vivant long on flash and style but short on personal history, Bash just may be a Cheapside rogue in Savile Row finery.

When the four fangs of the Demon Cats of Scavo—trophies that protect the hunters who killed the two vicious beasts—disappear one by one, Stoker's forced to team with the very man he was sent to investigate to maintain his cover. He finds himself thrust into a world of wailing mediums, spiritualist societies, man-eating lions, and a consulting detective with more ambition than sense. Will this case be the end of his career, or the start of an unexpected liaison? Or will the mysterious forces at play be the death of them both?

And just who is Hieronymus Bash?

Author Bio

Selina Kray is the nom de plume of an author and English editor. Professionally she has covered all the artsy-fartsy bases, having worked in a bookstore, at a cinema, in children’s television, and in television distribution, up to her latest incarnation as a subtitle editor and grammar nerd (though she may have always been a grammar nerd). A self-proclaimed geek and pop culture junkie who sometimes manages to pry herself away from the review sites and gossip blogs to write fiction of her own, she is a voracious consumer of art with both a capital and lowercase A.

Selina’s aim is to write genre-spanning romances with intricate plots, complex characters, and lots of heart. Whether she has achieved this goal is for you, gentle readers, to decide. At present she is hard at work on future novels at home in Montreal, Quebec, with her wee corgi serving as both foot warmer and in-house critic.

If you’re interested in receiving Selina’s newsletter and being the first to know when new books are released, plus getting sneak peeks at upcoming novels, please sign up at her website:
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