Hi Everyone, my name is Maddison Michaels and I’m thrilled to be doing a blog post for the BookBaybz Blog!
First off, just to tell you a little about me, I write historical romances, that incorporate sexy history with a dash of mystery. My debut novel THE DEVILISH DUKE was published by Entangled Publishing in February of this year, and is book one in my ‘Saints and Scoundrels’ series. My second novel in the series, THE ELUSIVE EARL, also published with Entangled, is scheduled for release on August 27th… so I’m getting very excited!
One of the things I love about both writing and reading historical romances is how fun facts of the era can be interspersed in the story. And I found this to be particularly the case when I wrote THE ELUSIVE EARL. So, I thought I’d share with you all some of the fun facts I found out during the course of my researching, which some of you may already know about, but some of you might not.
Anyone heard of King Alaric’s lost treasure???
As soon as I read about the real-life lost treasure of the Visigoth King, I knew I had to write a historical romance incorporating the real-life legend into my story. I mean romance, treasure and a real life myth??? Awesome!!
So who was King Alaric? He was the first King of the Visigoths (a western branch of a nomadic tribe of the Germanic peoples), and he ruled his people from between 370 or 375 AD (depending on the source) until his death in 410 AD, in Cosenza, Italy. On the last occasion he sacked Rome (3 times in his reign), he and his troops took a huge amount of Rome’s treasure with them, before they then marched south into what is now Italy today. Not long after King Alaric became ill and died. And according to legend he was interred, along with his precious treasures under a riverbed of the Busento River, in Cosenza. Apparently, the stream of the river was temporarily turned away from its course, to allow captives of the Visigoth army to dig a tomb to bury the King in. When the work was finished, the river was allowed to return to its usual channel and then the King’s loyal soldiers killed all of the slave captives, so that none might reveal the final resting place of their King and his treasures…
Since then, there have been thousands of people looking for the lost treasure of King Alaric, even to this very day. In fact, in 2015, the Italian Government enlisted the assistance of archaeologists, drones, and electronic equipment to try to find the treasure. Currently, the mayor of Cosenza is still spearheading the efforts, too, but to no avail. There is a lot of speculation that because of the earthquakes in the area, the treasure was swallowed farther underground which is why it hasn’t been found. (The Scourge of 1783, which Brianna’s grandfather refers to, was in fact a real series of earthquakes—over 949 earthquakes hit the region that year alone.) There is also another theory that the true tomb of King Alaric was actually hidden in the caves of Mendocino (an ancient rune was found inside the caves, suggesting that King Alaric’s soldiers had been there), which is why the treasure wasn’t found over the years—although the Italian Government is now also looking for the treasure in that location, too.
Researching the tale made me super determined to incorporate it into my story – and it does play a major role in the perilous adventure my hero and heroine are swept up into.
Because of this adventure they were on, I found I had to research if there were in fact any waterproof bags or materials available in the 1850s?? And guess what I found? Yes, there was! Which was wonderful because my heroine has a very special journal that she needs to take with her on an adventure through the Italian countryside, and during her travels there may be an occasion where she and the journal take an unexpected swim… But because I needed to have the journal remain intact, I had to make sure that it was possible and the only way that could work was if there was some material available that could protect the journal from the water…
I was so excited to read about the Macintosh waterproof canvas, that had actually been invented in the regency era. Back in 1823 a Gloucestershire chemist by the name of Charles Macintosh was the inventor of waterproof canvas material, where he sandwiched a thin layer of Naptha-treated rubber, between two layers of cloth. Then in 1827 his reputation and that of his waterproof canvas were solidified when on Captain W. E. Parry’s voyage to the North Pole, a bag of cocoa (the bag itself being made from Macintosh’s waterproof canvas) fell overboard and into the sea. Then when the captain had it retrieved, he stated that “it did not suffer the slightest injury… I know of no other material with an equal weight as equally durable and watertight – in the latter quality it is altogether perfect”.
So you see – by 1856, some nearly thirty years after the invention, it was often used to ensure things were made waterproof. In fact, the Mackintosh Raincoat (spelt slightly different to the inventor’s surname, but still in existence to this day), was made from the same material. So YAY, the material was in existence back then and was just perfect for the perils my characters were going to have to face… lol!
This is why I love the Victorian era: there were some amazingly cool inventions during this time period, although technically, the invention of the waterproof rubber canvas bag actually pre-dates the Victorian era by about a decade. As an aside, in my research, I also discovered that rubber elastic bands were invented in 1850, and there were even rubber condoms invented and in existence since 1842… History blows my mind!! I love it!!
Anyhow, thank you so much for having me on the blog! And I hope you had fun reading about some of the cool facts I discovered in the course of my research! If you want to have a read of THE ELUSIVE EARL the blurb and links are below. Oh and I love hearing from my readers, so feel free to contact me on any of my author links!
Take care, Maddison
The Elusive Earl
Brianna Penderley has a knack for getting into precarious situations, especially when it comes to her love for archaeology. In the heart of Naples, her terrible Italian has her accidentally becoming engaged to two men at the same time. Of course, Daniel Wolcott—the Earl of Thornton and the only man ever able to vex her—shows up to rescue her.
Daniel has spent the majority of his life exercising rigid control over his emotions, determined never to become the rake his father was. But when he goes to aid his mentor’s danger-prone niece once again, he finds himself struggling to control his attraction to a woman who is his complete opposite.
When their situation goes from bad to worse, Daniel and Brianna find themselves swept up into a perilous adventure, and they must work together to set things right. Now, if they can just avoid killing each other in the process.
Want to read more of Maddison’s writing!?
Fine her here:
Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/Maddison-Michaels/e/B079LXRLQ7
Shortened Book Purchase Links:
Amazon Can: https://goo.gl/W5ZVWF
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/NkK5ZN
Amazon Aus: https://goo.gl/eRzfja