Tuesday, September 12, 2017


After some reflection, and feeling listless, at wit's end, and unfulfilled, I decided to write a biography.

I would write about one of the Dollar Princesses, those wealthy American heiresses who married (mostly) British aristocrats, whether by their own choice, or when forced by social-climbing mamas eager to pry their way into Mrs. John Jacob Astor's 400.

The New Money of the Vanderbilts and the Goulds couldn't buy their entry to the social elite of Gilded Age New York City, so they bought their way in via a roundabout route: marry their daughter to an impoverished Duke or Earl with a large estate and an ancient lineage, and pay the Duke or Earl for the privilege. An impeccable European pedigree guaranteed entry to Mrs. Astor's 400, so the newly minted Duchess or Countess provided her mother with a foot in the door, as well.

There were a few Dollar Princesses who weren't nouveau riche, of course, and it was one of these women that I wished to write about. I spent a great deal of time gathering information from online journals, ordered a few obscure books that would be nigh on impossible to acquire from a library, and finally, after finishing a couple of weighty books - I didn't want them to distract me - I set about my research.

And then, I made a terrible discovery.

No, not that there were already rafts of biographies about the woman. I'd researched that aplenty.

No, there wasn't a court injunction banning anyone from writing about her.

Yes, there seemed to be plenty of information available, on the surface of things - though another author mentioned on an obscure interior design and real estate blog that her modern family was less than helpful when asked if they would contribute information about their illustrious ancestor.

The terrible discovery was this: she was boring.

Now, I'm sure she was a lovely person. Indeed, all sources seemed to point to her being a lovely woman: excellent manners; a streak of charity - but not one outlandish or particularly noteworthy; wisdom beyond her years when selecting a mate for herself, which she was able to do because she was in possession of her own estate, by the time she wed. She was a lovely, lovely, lovely woman.


Her marriage was a success, too! No scandalous affairs, no marital separations. No law suits about dowry, or yearly allowances, or economic strife due to her losing millions during a stock market bust, and thus engendering feelings of resentment on the part of her husband.

Nope. Everything was smooth sailing.

Nobody wants to read about smooth sailing.


Readers want a bit of drama , and "Sorry honey, I have to sit in the House of Lords: I'll be gone for a month"/ "Oh, darling, I'll miss you. Don't forget your umbrella" doesn't cut it for drama.

Sure, her husband went to war. And he came back. And all was well, again. Onward and upward.

I was bored just reading about her life, which seemed too perfect. It out-fairytaled most fairytales, which usually involve some form of conflict, even if there aren't any actual fairies. Everything was ideal: no mean stepmothers, dark fairies suffering from #FOMO, or even impractical footwear to trip her up!

Pun totally intended, BTW.

So I scrapped the idea of writing a biography. And now I'm slowly circling the idea of taking up a novel, again. I have five pages written, and a few pages of notes, and that's about it.

Hopefully, something will click, soon, whether it's another idea for a biography, or this novel.