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by Leda Swann

When we look around for ideas for a story, we look at what is happening in the world today, and, then, translate that to the era that our books are set, which is Victorian England.

Now, we want to use a slightly gobbledegook phrase here, so please excuse us. The phrase is "disruptive technology". This phrase is used to describe a product or service that overturns a dominant product in the market.

Prior to the invention of photography, the human form was captured by artists in the form of paintings, drawings, and sculptures. These works of art were the only way of producing an image and were created by a small handful of skilled artisans. But then photography was invented, a disruptive technology that suddenly enabled a vastly larger number of people to create images.

Naturally, some of the earliest photographs are of nudes, in varying degrees of eroticism. While these photographs were initially clumsy in their artistic execution, as the medium matured, so did the artistry, just look at the fabulous photos of Man Ray and Helmut Newton.

And now, over the past few years, there has been a new disruptive technology, with the advent of cheap digital cameras and the internet. Suddenly, enormous numbers of people are taking naked photos of themselves and of each other and publishing them on the internet. Apparently just for fun. Even the nice girl from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Vanessa Hudgens, jumped on the "look at me with no clothes on" wagon.

So, it was the idea of the disruptive technology of photography that led us to the story of MISTRESS, Emily Clemens, a school teacher who finds fun, love, and financial success by taking her clothes off and having herself photographed. Emily is initially reticent, and who wouldn't be, but then discovers the power she has to shape her own future.

In researching this story, we purchased some wonderful books on photography that show photos of nudes going back to 1850. One book even has the warning on its cover "Keep your fingers crossed you don't find a picture of your Mom!" These early photographs are now collectors items, recognised as works of art in their own right.

We like to think the images of Emily live on in our consciousness, like the people in the early photographs, long after her life in a poor imitation of immortality. People like our character Emily are a visual part of human history, a window into the past.

People have different associations that trigger a happy memory, their personal window into the past; sometimes, an object like a seashell, or maybe a particular smell, or perhaps a song. We'd love to read about your windows into the past. Drop a response to this blog and tell us about your particular window.

But enough philosophy! Christmas is a time of taking photographs and in our last blog entry we offered a copy of MISTRESS to our favourite Christmas story. Now that we finally have copies, we'd be pleased to send a copy to flchen1. Send contact details to brent@ledaswann.com and we'll drop a book in the mail to you. Thanks to everyone who shared their Christmas stories with us.


Blogger flchen1 said:

Old photos are fascinating! Our family has a few of our grandparents that are keepsakes for us.

I also have a couple pieces of jewelry my mother saved for me from my grandmother, and those have special associations and memories for me.

Thank you for a lovely post today!

8:09 PM  

Blogger Laura said:

I haven't even read the post, bad I know. Just wanted to say how much I like the cover of that book. Nice to see something sexy that doesn't involve cleavage. Women's fiction has sure changed from the days when it had to have a man on the cover, or a couple, to be seen as appealing to women.

I really hate word verification. Makes me post every freaking comment 2 or 3 times to get the verification right.

7:07 PM  

Blogger Tracey Devlyn said:

Pennies. Every once in a while, pennies will bring back warm memories of my grandma. She kept a little piggy bank at her house for me and would slowly fill it with pennies.

This was many years, of course. Little ones these days probably collect five dollar bills, instead. :)

Beautiful cover and great post, Leda.

9:46 PM  

Blogger limecello said:

Hm, I like photos too - but songs really bring back specific memories for me.
Thanks for the great post, Leda. I love the cover of that book!

5:11 PM  

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4:45 AM  

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