Heather Carter

My name is Heather Carter, and I am a recovering academic who writes historical fiction. I have two graduate degrees in history, and spent six years in the doctoral program at UCLA studying everything from the European Renaissance and Reformation to the Beau Monde in England, which was the subject of my dissertation. I left UCLA after writing my first historical novel, and I now live in San Diego with my husband and 2-year-old twins.

Halitosis and friends….

The Early Moderns were not big on baths. These were the people of the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Witch Craze, the Inquisition, and they did not smell very nice.   In fact, perfume was big among the early moderns—not to make themselves smell good, but rather to mask the smell of others around them. Elizabeth I only bathed once a month. She was sixteenth-century; the seventeenth century was worse. Water was not viewed as a reliable means to cleanliness. It was, in fact, downright hazardous to one’s health. Medical opinion of the day held that a thick layer of...

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People in the past just smelled…..

People in the past just smelled, it’s true. But they smelled worse during certain centuries. So, let’s talk about bathing. I’ll be going backwards through time, breaking this discussion up over three posts: eighteenth century (here), sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in another post,  and then the Middle Ages. And maybe I’ll talk about the Romans in yet another post—they did some weird stuff with olive oil.   So, today: mid-eighteenth century through the Regency: the era, par excellence, of The Romance. Because of historical periodization, the eighteenth-century sort of gets a bad rap. I had a professor tell me once...

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Let There Be Light…..

Light is a subject near and dear to my heart, and important to take into consideration when writing fiction set in the past. The fact is that people in the past simply saw the world differently than we do because of light. Even daylight was different, without all the pollutants in the air, and the night sky shone so brilliantly with stars that we must go to very remote places on our planet to catch even a glimpse of what they saw. And see things, they did: comets and shooting stars. Medieval writings abound with mentions of the things they...

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Start with a Biography……

Okay. First, introductions: my name is Heather. I write historical fiction. I’ve been doing it for about ten years. I am a pretty good writer, and an excellent researcher—too excellent in fact, and yes, there is such a thing. More on that later. For now, I’ll just tell you that it is probably the main reason why I am not yet published (“yet” being my operative word here). So what can an unpublished writer of historical fiction do for you? Well, I can teach you what I know about research, which is a lot. I have four degrees in history,...

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