Hello all. First, thank you for picking up Unmentionable, thank you for loving history, and thank you for have voracious curiosity.
I have noticed in the month since publication some repeated FAQs. They’re fair ones. I’d like to address them as best I can:
Q: Why is your writing style so annoying/snarky/cutesy/hip/corny?
A: Well, mostly cuz…I am?
Also, my book is non-fiction, but my narrator, she’s fictional. I tried to strike a balance between a brothel madam and the dowager countess. She’s patronizing and sarcastic, true enough. She has to be. She’s your guide and lifeline in this strange horrid place. If she isn’t bossy you aren’t going to put up with this crap she’s relating to you.
I use the analogy of The Three Stooges. Half the planet thinks they’re comic genius in purest form. The other half hates them. You just can’t make everyone laugh at once. But I wish I could.
Q: Why didn’t you talk more about women of color?
A: My book is specifically aimed to take some of the puff out of the romance of the 19th century. Most all the books and movies and shows and fantasies involve a beautiful young woman of wealth, mindlessly enjoying wealth and men and servants and teacups
Flowery romances are few when it comes to the lives of anyone BUT the aforementioned. When I spoke of women of color, it was to remind the reader that it was a sick sad time for many of them, and that the western intellectuals of the day were blithely unaware of their misery. I dealt with it as honestly as I could, but briefly. The same way I didn’t delve too deeply on how truly vicious some of the standard medical treatments for women and children were in the era.
If had really gotten in there…and believe me the things I read “learned men” write about blacks and natives and hell, Irish, were atrocious, Unmentionable would have sucker punched you.
That is “Here is a light (but accurate!) book debunking your favorite romance novel” would become “and here is also a tour of Hell hidden in the middle.”
That tour needs to be taken, by everyone. And the people who offer those researched, detailed tours are to be revered for their unflinching history.
But that simple wasn’t what Unmentionable was designed to do.
Q: In some of the interviews I’ve read or heard, you keep referring to Jane Austen. She’s not Victorian, you dumbass. You know that right?
A: Yeah. I…I know that.
Most of those mentions were from live interviews…and I get nervous and babble. My original title for my book didn’t have the word “Victorian” in it, because I was afraid that would limit me. But Little, Brown, who were actually around in Victorian times, incidentally, and know infinity more than I do about selling books, urged that word because it brings strong mental pictures to mind. I agree with their suggestion whole heartedly. As a compromise, I note in my introduction that I’ll be using information from the entire century and even a bit beyond.
I hope this helps answers some of the questions readers have had. Unmentionable is imperfect, I know. Oh, but I love here. Thank you for reading.