I am fascinated by Victorian-era clothing – whalebone corsets, waistcoats, petticoats, and buttoned, low-heeled shoes – and I would have liked to spend more time exploring the wardrobes of my characters. But it just didn’t fit in the story, so it was cut.
The name Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester is a composite of two genuine landed families from the East Riding of Yorkshire in the UK: the Calverley-Rudstons and the Chichester-Constables. The estate papers of these two families were in the archive where I used to work. I thought it would be fun to create the name for my own flamboyant, aristocratic dominatrix by mashing up the names of two real families.
One of the hard things about writing a short story in an historical setting is trying to fix the date of the story in the reader’s mind without lots of explication. There was a Toleration Act passed in 1650, which is the date the story is set in. Parts of this act were directly targeted at controlling extreme sects, specifically the Ranters. In the original draft a character made a specific reference to this act, which I edited out because it was too much detail, and I felt I’d already placed the period of the story through references to the civil war and execution of Charles I.
I talk a little about wild, wicked Montmarte, which was the place to be in the late 1890s in Paris, but I couldn’t really explore it much.
I also talk a little about the Tsarina. That would be Tsarina Alexandra, wife of Tsar Nicholas II, who was murdered along with the rest of the Imperial family during the Russian Revolution. Eventually, I might want to follow up on this particular thread, and find Sasha and Elijah in St. Petersburg some 20 years after this story. How would the Russian Revolution have played out with Artificers and different technology? I don’t know — I haven’t had time to do the research.