Regency Friday Fun: Introducing Dr. John Blackmore.

Who is this mysterious Dr. Blackmore?  Well, he’s the hero of my next Regency-set historical romance, My Favorite Countess.  Like many writers, I often take inspiration for my characters from the movies or TV – in this case Hugh Jackman provided a whole lot of inspiration!  My hero is a crusading slum doctor, an accoucheur, or, as he would have been referred to in the Regency period, a man-midwife.  In other words, John is an obstetrician.

John is also a handsome and sophisticated man, and who better to model him on than good old Hugh?  Just look at that picture – could you imagine the kind of bedside manner you’d get from a guy like that?  Rowr!

I also found inspiration for my Regency doctor in the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, in the form of Dr. Derek Shepherd, as played by Patrick Dempsey. Like Derek, my hero is driven and dedicated, with more than a few personal demons to challenge him.  It was really fun to create this character – I like dukes and earls as much as the next gal, but it was fascinating to delve into the world of a dedicated Regency physician, and also imagine what would happen when he was matched up with a strong-willed aristocratic heroine.

My Favorite Countess will be released on May 3rd.  Over the next couple of months I’ll be blogging about some of my reading on 19th Century medicine, particularly obstetrics.  It’s a fascinating if occasionally hair-raising topic, which left me with a great deal of sympathy for the women of the time.  Stay tuned!

Academy Awards Redux

The parental units joined us last night to eat brownies and watch the Academy Awards.  Unlike many years, I stuck from beginning to end, although I did occasionally mentally drift off to rewrite scenes from my latest manuscript in my head.

This was supposed to be a hipper version of the Oscars, aimed at a younger demographic, mostly by virtue of bringing in Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host.  I love Anne Hathaway – she’s beautiful, talented, and has oddles of charm, and James Franco is certainly handsome in a detached, ramrod straight kind of way.  But if the producers of the Oscars were trying to bring in the young folk, I suspect their little experiment fell flat.  As glam as the Oscars are, they have a bit of an unhip vibe.  I never watched them in my teens or twenties – I had better things to do at that age, and watching a bunch of rich actors and film people parade around in couture clothing and Harry Winston diamonds wasn’t one of them.  Hell.  I think at that age I couldn’t imagine anything more uncool than watching the Academy Awards.  Try comparing the Oscars to the Grammys and you can see what I mean.

Anne Hathaway did have one of the great lines of the evening, though, when she quipped:  “It used to be, you get naked, you get nominated.  Not any more.”  And her costume changes where fun, too, although my husband thought they got to be a bit much toward the end of the evening.

As I got older, I did come around to watching the Oscars, especially when movies I loved were in the running.  This year for me was all about The King’s Speech, a thoroughly adult movie that had everything going for it – stellar performances, great direction, great art direction and costuming, and a compelling story that evoked meaning on both a grand, historic scale but also on a deeply affecting and personal level.  Colin Firth – and yes, we all love Mr. Darcy – earned every ounce of metal in that statuette, and comported himself with the dignity and self-deprecating humor that we’ve come to expect from him.  I know that many wanted Social Network to carry the day, but I was thrilled to see a movie from the old school take the top prizes, and a historical movie, at that.

But let’s face it – many of us primarily watch for the dresses and the bling, and there were some notables last night.  I thought Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman looked great, although some armchair analysts have knocked Kidman’s Dior outfit.  But I think she has a very interesting style and she always radiates beauty and serenity.  Of course, she is married to Keith Urban, which could have something to do with it.

And Sandra Bullock looked stunning, especially after her fashion miscalculation at the Golden Globes.

Cate Blanchett also wore what I thought was a seriously cool gown although, again, many might not agree.  Maybe it looks a bit more like a work of art than a dress, but I still like it.

And the queen, Helen Mirren, kicked it as always in a stunning metallic gown.

As for the rest, it was the usual stuff of wooden deliveries, poorly mixed musical numbers, and genuinely affecting speeches.  I always like watching Tom Hanks and Jeff Bridges, who are class acts – thoroughly intelligent, articulate, and sexy in very different ways.  More guys like that, please!

And, I must say, I thought Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. were a lot of fun together.  Hey!  Here’s an idea – if the producers are looking for new co-hosts for next year, how about those two?  Not only are they easy on the eye, they’re both intelligent and funny.  That’s something any awards program could stand to benefit from.

So, what did you think of the Oscars?  Did the right movies and actors take home the prizes?  What was your favorite moment?