The Prinnypunk setting
Where and when does this book take place? That’s the question many a writer has asked herself right after she types “Chapter One.” But for Regina and me, the setting was probably the easiest choice, once we decided that we’d be combining the real (Sophie Blanchard really was Napoleon’s Chief Air Minister) and the fictional (Gwynn Place, the long-established home of the Trevelyan family in my Magnificent Devices series).
But when you go back three generations, things look a little different! The beautiful manor house Lady Claire grew up in in the late 1800s (above, modelled on Trelissick in Cornwall) was not the first house on that property. Gwynn Place was just a simple farmhouse with an amazing view and lots of sheep 🙂 The property next door, Hale House, was a Georgian stone farmhouse that, upon marriage, was absorbed into the Gwynn Place property. So along with our characters, our properties also had lots of room to grow and change.
There are elements in The Regent’s Devices that longtime readers of the Magnificent Devices series will recognize. And there are new elements in the series that we welcomed as a result of our setting and time choices because it was such fun to use them. For instance, in the Magnificent Devices and the Mysterious Devices world, the Louisiana Purchase never happened. A great big swath of North America is called Nouvelle France and is loyal to the French king. In our world, mad King George III bought Upper Canada (what in real life we call the Province of Ontario) from the French. This windfall of money was what enabled Napoleon to invest heavily in technology, producing everything from automoutons (little mechanical dusters with fluffy tails) to behemoths made of iron to cannonbombs (because why settle for an iron ball when you can make an explosive?). Napoleon dreamed of conquering England through technology.
And he might have succeeded … if it hadn’t been for two young lady inventors determined to stop him …