I very much enjoy the Glamourist History series by Mary Robinette Kowal. So when Mary offered to answer letters, in character, that were written to either of the two main characters in the historical fantasy world, with the stipulation that you need to adhere to the time where the characters were, and that’s when you’d get replies from (currently 1817), I knew I had to write to Jane.
Below is a copy of the first draft of the letter – it was edited slightly for grammar, spelling, consistency and whim as I wrote it out long-hand. I had beautiful hand-stamped stationary a friend had given me, and even have sealing wax and a stamp with my first initial which I used to adorn the envelope (then tapped down so it didn’t break and fall away completely in transit).
I sent this out, and am looking forward to the reply. It was nice to be able to immerse myself into the Glamourist universe for a time, and write as though I lived there – a great way to feel even more involved in a story that I love.
Dear Lady Vincent,
I hope you do not find me too forward in writing to you. My Aunt on my father’s side had the pleasure of meeting the Misses Cornell on her most recent travels to the continent. They were quite taken with you and your husband, and fairly pressed an article about the Carlton House Glamour into her hands, all atwitter about the two signatures laid there. Despite what the article said, the Misses Cornell told her, you did half of the Glamour in that beautiful undersea Glamour. My Aunt has relayed this story to me on numerous visits, and I have come to regard you as a kind and generous lady who would not look unkindly on a letter from a stranger – though it may odd the illusion of familiarity the retelling of such a story would breed in me towards a Lady. Yet truly, I do feel comfortable writing you.
Regrettably, I have not had the pleasure of a trip to London, though my Aunt (the same who met the Misses Cornell) has visited the Carlton House, and has, on past occasion, been party to see other works created by your husband prior to his attachment to you. Her opinion is that his work is improved for the extra set of skilled hands and a keen eye for design.
I am writing to you on a matter that I hope is not too far removed from the art of Glamour as to make you uncomfortable, as that is what you are known for publically. I am fascinated with Glamour, but a weakness of the heart prevents me from studying it in earnest. Instead, I turn my time and creative attentions in setting pen to page, and trying to elicit images from the written word where others paint can paint it in the air.
On a recent morning constitutional, I began to see there are certain parallels that can be drawn between the craft of writing and that of Glamour; at least I hope there are. I was wondering, when you and Lord Vincent are designing the larger Glamours, such as the one at Carlton House, do you start work with merely an idea of the finished work, and embellish as you go, or do you design out all the elements before starting? When crafting a story I find I have an idea of the ending in mind, but that my initial plans may change as I create the work, and was wondering if the same is true for Glamour.
Also, I am curious about the division of labour in creating glamours with a partner. How much of the design is yours, and how much is Lord Vincent’s? How do you determine who manages which portions of the glamour once the design is set? I am hesitant to take on a partner in writing, in part because I am ashamed that my lack of ability to perform glamour is my reason for taking up this art, however I have a niece who has expressed an interest in creating a story jointly with me, but I am unsure how to proceed with a partnership, or even if it is something I am comfortable doing.
Oh, I fear I have rambled on further than I meant to. I thank you for your kind regards, and I know you will be ever as gracious as my Aunt has proclaimed a Lady should be.
Sincerely, and with greatest admiration,
P.S. My maiden name is Christine M_, and the Aunt in question is of that family, in case you were wondering, or may have met her in your travels. My own life has kept me snuggly in our homestead, and I do not have great exposure to wider circles, and thus do not expect my name to be recognizable of its own merit. At least until such time as my written works make it out into the world (which my husband enthusiastically encourages me to do, though my modesty holds me back.)