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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blog Tour: Guest post with Alyxandra Harvey (Author of Haunting Violet)

I'm today's stop on the Haunting Violet Blog Tour. Please welcome Alyxandra Harvey as she shares with readers about her favorite setting to write and how it influenced her writing.

Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.

HAUNTING VIOLET is her latest novel. You can find it in a bookstore near you!

Victorian Britain, and the 1870’s especially, are such an integral part of Haunting Violet that they may as well be a character in their own right. I have a very developed soft spot for the 19th century, from the waltzes and fireworks at Vauxhall to the Great Exhibition, to the later interest in the paranormal. There could be no other setting for my novel, I knew that as soon as Violet spoke to me. But since I knew more about the social mores of the Regency than the later Victorian years, I had to broaden my scope.

Since research is another love of mine, this was hardly a chore.

Proper historical research was mostly done through books. I used recent forays into Victorian society and séances and also the irreplaceable “Mrs. Beetons”. We invited a medium to have a sitting for us. A friend let me play with her set of Victorian camisoles, corset, gloves and parasol. I was able to admire tiny stitches and the thin white cotton and ribbon details. And having never been to Highgate Cemetery myself, I found YouTube videos surprisingly helpful!

For flavour and atmosphere, I watched movies . Let me underscore that one doesn’t watch movies for historical accuracy! Regardless, I especially love “Little Women” and “Possession”. And I apparently have a thing for striped Victorian dresses. Violet gets to wear one mostly because I love the carriage dress at the end of Legend of Sleepy Hollow—which isn’t remotely Victorian but it reminds me of another lovely striped dress from the end of “‘North and South”, which is definitely Victorian.

You just never know where you’ll find your inspiration and I’ve learned not to argue with the Muse. She likes poetry, Mary Oliver, the Bronte sisters, history, bustles, swords and striped dresses.

And Irish pickpockets of course!

Thanks for stopping by Alyx!

For more information about Alyxandra Harvey and her books, please visit her website here.


  1. Great advice on historical research. I would have never thought of using YouTube.

  2. Hi,
    If you are interested in Highgate Cemetery and its history, you may wish to search for 'David Farrant', he has posted a few videos on YouTube in the last few weeks which are very atmospheric.


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