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imaginary friend

Pretty Interesting History is pleased to announce the appointment of Lady Eveline Manners to the role of Etiquette & Edification Expert, effective September 2021.
Lady Manners brings a wealth of experience to her new role. A distant relative of Mary Isabella Manners, the Duchess of Rutland and Vicereine of Ireland from 1784 to 1787, Lady Eveline Manners is received by all the noble houses of Ireland. Famed for her eloquent prose and scathing wit, she will entertain polite society with advice on comporting oneself in society. Please join us in welcoming Lady Eveline Manners to her new role and wishing her every success. She may be reached at ladyevelinemanners@yahoo.com

If you suspect that there is no such person as Eveline Manners, you would be correct. I have been a disaster with marketing and social media this past while. One of the reasons is that I am busy with other stuff, the other is that I find talking about my self and my books quite unpleasant. I have been wishing for someone to take over this task, and, in the absence of any willing volunteers, I have opted to simply invent a suitable candidate.

The idea was suggested to me by marketing expert, Annabel McMahon of Your Simple Digital earlier in the summer. It is not a new idea. Throughout history women writers have frequently used a nom de plume. From 1709 to 1710, a Mrs Crackenthorpe was the pen name behind the The Female Tatler, a society scandal sheet. Purporting to be educational, in reality the Tatler was a vehicle to detail the indiscretions of society’s elite . Some feel Mrs Crackenthorpe was the inspiration behind Julia Quinn’s Lady Whistledown in Bridgerton.

When I began thinking about creating a character I thought I might call her Lady Eveline Lily, after my two grandmothers Eveline Fennell and Lillian Dempsey. I moved away from this idea though as I felt it would be better if the name was descriptive of the character’s purpose and personality (JK Rowling does this brilliantly in her Harry Potter series). I came across one of the Vicereines of Ireland, Lady Rutland whose second name was Manners and I thought she could be an excellent choice. She was in the thick of Dublin society, her balls were legendary and her name suggests codes of behaviour. However, there are most likely many hoops to jump through and much hot water to fall into if one uses a real person to one’s own ends so, to be on the safe side, I forged the names together to create an imaginary Lady Eveline Manners.

left to right: Eveline Fennell, Lillian Dempsey, The Duchess of Rutland

Lady Eveline is going to kick my Instagram into shape. She will post twice a week – the first post will contain useful advice, the other salacious gossip. As we approach Christmas I want to leverage the popularity of Bridgerton and market my book as a gift idea. I am shamelessly going to mimic Lady Whistledown’s tone and the visual style of the show to draw in new followers. Of course, it will be homage as distinct from plagiarism.

I also intend to include behind the scenes insights into what I am currently working on and I would like to share testimonials from previous happy customers. (if any one wants to send me a comment I would be so grateful – you could mail me at jennydempsey2004@yahoo.com).

I have great faith in Lady Eveline Manners, and if this faith proves founded, I shall next look into hiring an imaginary designer…… I may never have to work again!

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