Today’s guest post is by Amara Royce author of Always A Stranger
Historical Change and The More Things Change…
One of the many reasons I’m fascinated with the Victorian era is that it was a time of tremendous, unprecedented change. New technologies, new industrial developments, and new political structures all went hand in hand, revolutionizing the way people lived. And many of those changes not only directly impacted the world we know today but also persist in ways we may not always notice—in positive and negative ways.
In my first book, NEVER TOO LATE, photography was an underlying correlation between the Victorian world and ours. Photography was a new technology in the 19th century, and the ability to mass-produce the same image was revolutionary. Today, digital photography is everywhere. Anyone with a digital camera or a smartphone can capture an image of the most fleeting moments of our lives. In the 19th century, that was not the case. People had to pose for long periods in order for the film exposure to record the image. And yet the very idea that you could capture an exact image of a person, place, or thing was a revolutionary jump beyond artist renderings—it was a direct reflection of the world. And it could be used in both positive and negative ways.
It’s probably no surprise that photographic pornography dates back roughly to the beginning of photographic history. And as I wrote NEVER TOO LATE, it seemed logical to imagine that photography probably revolutionized the spread of pornography much the same way that the Internet has, and this correlation is a key part of NEVER TOO LATE’s plot.
In my newest book, ALWAYS A STRANGER, I address another dark Victorian problem that persists in our present day: human trafficking. Trafficking existed long before the 19th century, but it became a focus of public scrutiny and legal reform in the late 19th century.
These dark and horrifying subjects may not seem like the stuff of historical romance novels, but, to my mind, these correlations are significant elements of history. They may weigh down the romance, but they’re worth the weight when it comes to seeing how these issues impact our world today.