When I set out to write one of my Malcom/Ives Magic books, I never know what rabbit hole I’ll stumble down. I only knew the book following CHEMISTRY OF MAGIC needed to be Will’s book. William Ives-Madden is one of the late marquess’s bastards, and from the beginning, he’s been an atypical Ives. He’s big, yes, but he’s more blond than dark, he’s silent and not in the least charming, and we never see him gracing the ballrooms of society. He has the usual Ives scorn of flibbertigibbet Malcolm females, although he has reason to suspect he has more than a little of his grandmother’s witchy weirdness.
One of the fun parts of writing romance is finding the perfect match for our characters. So what did I do to torment poor hands-on, country-loving, dog-whisperer Will? I gave him an untouchable duke’s daughter.
I’ve been dying to write about the Duke of Sommersville’s family, but the opportunity never arose until now. I knew nothing about Lady Aurelia, his eldest daughter, until I began to wonder what Malcolm gift she may have inherited. Her duchess grandmother from the original series (THIS MAGIC MOMENT) heard and saw ghosts. I don’t like repeating myself, so I played around, looking for sensory/neural experiences that might afflict my sensitive witches, and I ran across hyper-acute hearing.
Hyper-acute hearing is a real difficulty, often associated with the autism spectrum. Of course, in 1830, no one had heard of autism (or Will’s dyslexia). And because my Malcolms consider their oddities to be magical, Aurelia is supposed to figure out on her own how to deal with her inability to tolerate sound. Malcolms are supposed to make a good marriage and put their prodigious assets to work for the good of all. Since she barely leaves her essentially padded room, that ain’t happening.
To drag her out of her comfort zone, I dropped a nearly-deaf child at her feet, one whose mother has been abused and nearly killed. No way can a Malcom resist saving a battered woman! But how can she find the evil-doers if the child can’t hear or speak?
Of course that sent me researching deafness. For an amusing summary of the history of deafness, click here. Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell’s mother was hard of hearing and that he worked on forms of sign language? But that was after my time period, so I settled on the French finger spelling developed by a priest who created one of the first public schools for the deaf. For a brief summary and links, check the ADA’s site.
Since I’m personally losing the ability to differentiate words in a crowded, noisy room, I can relate somewhat to my heroine’s distress. Unfortunately, I don’t possess any super-ability to overcome the problem. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all had some magical ability to help ourselves and others? What trait would you go for and why?