Risky Regencies

Risky Regencies Meets Christine Wells!

1) Tell us about Scandal’s Daughter! What inspired this book?

First of all, thank you ladies for having me on Risky Regencies. I love this blog! To answer your question, in Scandal’s Daughter, Sebastian, Earl of Carleton, promises his dying godfather he will find a husband for his childhood friend in three months or marry her himself. Sebastian quickly becomes the most determined matchmaker in England.

Gemma is the daughter of a notorious femme fatale. She doesn’t believe any respectable man will marry her, so she chooses to run her grandfather’s estate rather than enter the matrimonial mart. Her entire identity is bound up in being the honorary Squire. But her grandfather wants her married and provided for before he dies and he hires a land agent to take over Gemma’s duties. She desperately wants to regain her position on the estate, but in the meantime, Sebastian comes back into her life and she’s torn. I think what inspired me to write this book, though I didn’t know it at the time, was a similar upheaval in my own life. I recognized at the start of my marriage that I couldn’t continue as a corporate lawyer working crazy hours and bring up my children the way I wanted. Thus, a career as a writer was born! But so much of my identity was bound up in my career as a lawyer, it was a real struggle for me to come to terms with not having that any more. I learned that it’s who you are inside, not what you do, that counts. And I hope that’s what my heroine learns along the way, too.

2) We’ve heard you’re a great researcher! Were there any challenges in researching for this book? Any new or suprising historical facts you discovered?

Oh, where did you hear that? LOL Most of my research never makes it into a book. I try very hard to get the details right and I love delving into etymology–the history of words. All sorts of things came up in Scandal’s Daughter. For instance, I intended at first to base my heroine’s mother on Jane Digby, an intrepid Lady of Quality who never really fitted into London Society and ended up running away, eventually marrying a Bedouin prince. So I read about her fascinating life, but then I decided I wanted this wonderful character on stage, so I brought Sybil back from her travels (witha toy-boy in tow!) and she plays a significant role in the book. And there are always a myriad small details, like whether Japanese porcelain had entered England at the time my book was set, to the history of medieval stained glass.

3) What are some of your favorite sources?

Online, I love the Georgian Index http://www.georgianindex.net/fd/index.html#TOPand I use the UK National Trust site a lot to scope out locations:http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace.htm I have a good library of reference books which I’m adding to all the time. One I absolutely love is ‘Regency Style’ by Steven Parissien, which my wonderful writer friend Anna Campbell gave me. It’s visually stunning, and goes through a Regency house, item by item. It has sections devoted to staircases and wallpaper and bathrooms, so it’s incredibly useful. I regularly use Debrett’s ‘The Stately Homes of Britain’ and Carolly Erickson’s ‘Our Tempestuous Day’. I always read the background on the year in which my book is set in OTD before I begin, so I’m aware of any political or social issues that might affect my characters as the story unfolds.Still, there’s never enough time for research!

4) Tell us what’s “risky” or different from the norm about this book!

Gemma and Sebastian actually discuss the possibility of pregnancy before they make love the first time. And Gemma uses contraception, so I thought that was pretty risky! I’d seen so many romances where the couple fall into bed with no thought for the consequences that I wanted to do something different. I was worried an editor might want me to take it out, but my editor is very cool and didn’t even mention it. However, I don’t mean to criticize books where the heroine is swept away by passion. Of course, it happened all the time! I just relate a lot more to someone who does worry about the consequences and takes care of them as far as she can, given the circumstances and the era. It wouldn’t work in every book, but the discussion actually heightened the conflict in Scandal’s Daughter, so I felt justified putting it in.

5) What is it about the Regency that attracts you,makes you want to set your books in it?

Undoubtedly, it’s the wit. I’ve always loved that dry English sense of humour, the banter between hero and heroine that works so well in the Regency setting. And I love the subtext–all the things the characters can’t say but they can imply a great deal by their actions and what they do say,which is always fun for a writer.

6) What’s it like living in Australia? Is there a large romance community there?

I love Australia. I’m absolutely passionate about our wonderful lifestyle. I’m a real beach girl, so it’s great to be an hour’s drive from some of the best beaches in the world. The romance community here is not large by US standards, but the romance writing community is incredibly tight and supportive. There’s no spite or overt jealousy (or if there is, I’ve never come across it). I think it’s a lot to do with our veteran members, who are endlessly patient with newcomers and do so much to assist fledgling writerswith their careers. Authors like Anne Gracie and Trish Morey set the tone,and I’m very grateful for that.

7) Tell us what’s next for you!

My next book is currently scheduled for September 2008. It’s another Regency-set historical, about a duke who accidentally steals a lady’s erotic diary. It’s set against a background of political upheaval, when Liverpool declared a state of emergency and people were being locked up without trial for sedition. My heroine’s brother is a country vicar thrown in jail for aiding suspected arsonists. She threatens to expose government secrets by publishing her diary if the authorities don’t release him. My hero, the duke, steals what he thinks is that diary, only it turns out to contain the heroine’s secret erotic fantasies. I had a lot of fun with that one!

Be sure and comment on Christine’s post for a chance to win an autographed copy of Scandal’s Daughter! Winner will be announced Monday…

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Lois
15 years ago

Well, hi and welcome to RR! 🙂 I’ve had this book on my list since I first came across it online and can’t wait for it. And the second one sounds pretty great too. . . but have to wait a year? Yikes. LOL 🙂 Congrats with it, and can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Lois

Anna Campbell
15 years ago

Amanda and Christine, fantastic interview! One of the perks of living just up the road from Christine is that I got to read Scandal’s Daughter before almost anyone else did. It’s fantastic – funny and heartfelt and real. You’re going to be a star, Ms. Wells!

Christine, you imply that you base your settings on a real place. Where was that? I love to relate fictional settings back to real locations.

The new book sounds fantastic! Really sexy. Hmm, maybe I should come for a visit soon… 😉

Diane Gaston
15 years ago

Welcome, Christine!
It is so wonderful to have you with us at Risky Regencies. Was Scandal’s Daughter the manuscript that won 2006 Romance Through the Ages contest? I was there when the winner was announced and knew that you and my good friend, Melissa James were competing in that category.

Your research sites and books are some of the same ones I love. I LOVE Regency Style, a book I won in a Washington Romance Writers raffle and, after I won it, I carried it around hugging it to my chest, I was so happy!

Lovely of you to mention Ann Gracie, who has always been great, and Trish Morey, my pal in the Wet Noodle Posse and fellow Mills & Boon author! Can I count you among my Australian connection?

AndreaW
15 years ago

Christine, I must say that you have one of the loveliest websites I’ve ever seen! So pretty. And this book sounds so intriguing….and the next one, too! I’ll surely pick SD up on my next trip to the bookstore! Congrats! 🙂

~Andrea

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Hi Lois, thanks for the welcome, it’s lovely to be here! Please excuse my late arrival–it’s 3am here!

As for waiting a year for the next one, I suspect the book will be moved up the schedule, but at the moment, the projected release date is September. I’m planning a few surprises in the meantime, so stay tuned!

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Annnaaa, hello! Gosh, I’m blushing! Thank you for saying that about Scandal’s Daughter.

Yes, I do tend to base my locations on real places, or at least, I might take an exterior from one house and a garden from another–it depends what suits my purposes. Sometimes it starts with the description in the book. The description of my hero, Sebastian’s home began that way. I wanted sombre and imposing and grey and I chose Compton Castle, which is located in Devon, rather than Cornwall, where the book is set. Close enough, I thought! And it fitted my requirements very nicely.

And you will read the next book when it’s polished and ready, never fear! Thanks for dropping in, my dear.

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Diane, you failed to mention you were kind enough to pick up the award for me at the RTTA awards! Of COURSE you can count me in as part of the Australian connection (sounds like a branch of writer’s mafia, doesn’t it?) Well, maybe it is:)

Thank you for the welcome. It’s lovely to be here.

Christine Wells
15 years ago

AndreaW, you’ve made my day! Thank you for the compliment on the website and for saying you’ll buy Scandal’s Daughter. I hope you enjoy it!

Tessa McDermid
15 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tessa McDermid
15 years ago

Christine,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can’t wait to read the book. I recently left my teaching job and have been working as a writer. . . but finding it hard to put aside that teaching persona I had for so long. Your comments and the book plot sound like a way to help figure that out — and, of course, I can never turn down a reason to read a regency 🙂

All the best on your new projects.

Tessa (aka Terry)

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Tessa/Terry, thank you for talking about your experience. It is difficult, changing career paths sometimes, isn’t it? Especially when you’re used to being competent at a job and then you begin as a writer and you’re TERRIBLE! Well, you aren’t terrible, but I certainly was. There’s a steep learning curve there.

But you know, I’ve never had such a sense of achievement as I’ve had with my writing and I’m learning all the time. It’s the bee’s knees being a writer! I’ve never regretted making the change.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

great colorful cover for your book; sounds like a must read and the second one coming sounds great with the finding of an erotic diary. LOL.

robynl

Kate Carlisle
15 years ago

Hello – another Romance Bandit checking in to check out your wonderful interview, Christine!

I can’t wait to read Scandal’s Daughter — and you must be on pins and needles waiting for it to arrive in the stores. But WOW, after hearing your description of the next book, I’m wondering how we’ll last a full year before we can read that one, too. Sounds fabulous!!

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Thanks, Robynl! I love the cover, too. Hope you enjoy Scandal’s Daughter.

Kate, my bandita buddy, thanks for swinging by:) What a relief you like the premise of book 2! I’ve enjoyed writing it, despite the obstacles life has thrown at me this year. Thanks again for coming!

Diane Gaston
15 years ago

Gosh, I forgot all about that, Christine! Of course, I was totally self-interested at the Golden Heart/RITA reception!
(not really. I’m joking. It was perhaps the best situation I’ve ever been in where celebration was universal. We were all happy for everybody!)

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Hey, Diane, if I were up for a Rita, I’d be totally self-interested! It was a great year for you.

book freak
15 years ago

Hi Christine,

Great interview!! The books sound fantastic! I certainly want to read them. 😉
(BTW, the cover looks great. That’s very important too.)
Just keep on writing, so we can keep on reading! *evil grin* 😛

tetewa
15 years ago

Gladto have see you here today Christine, the new book sounds great! Glad to hear that you had the characters discussing contraception before having sex. Seems that this subject is usually not discussed in books, the characters just seem to go at it.

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Bookfreak (what a great name!) thanks for commenting. I fully intend to keep writing until they prise my dead fingers from the keyboard, so no worries about that!

tetewa, I think romances are fantasies and fairy tales, and as such, it’s not always in keeping with the story to rip the reader out of the moment and remind them there are consequences to passion. Goodness knows enough women became pregnant out of wedlock in those days to show that sometimes things get out of control:) But in this story, I think including the discussion worked. You’ll have to see for yourself and let me know if you agree! Thanks for your comment.

Donna MacMeans
15 years ago

Hello Sister Bandita –

I can’t wait to read SCANDAL’S DAUGHTER and your next book…Wow!…wish I’d thought of that one (big grin.)

Mega congratulations on your launch!

Donna

Helen
15 years ago

Great interview Christine I love hearing about what places etc are used by authors when writing a book. I have odered Scandals Daughter and am really looking forward to reading it, I should have it in a week or two it takes a bit longer to get here in Australia and your next book sounds fantastic. I am really looking forward to getting to know Sebastian and Gemma.
Have Fun
Helen

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Hey Donna! Great to see you here. Donna has a new historical out in October, called The Education of Mrs. Brimley and it promises to be a hoot!

Glad you liked the premise for book 2! Now, can you think me up a title?*g* Thanks for commenting.

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Hi Helen, I’m so glad you liked the interview. Thank you for ordering Scandal’s Daughter. I hope you enjoy it!

Caren Crane
15 years ago

Hi, Christine! We Banditas are all eagerly awaiting the release of Scandal’s Daughter. The plot sounds intriguing and I love Regency women who assert their independence as much as they can. *g*

We at Romance Bandits have no doubt you will be a superstar!

Stacy S
15 years ago

Looking forward to Scandal’s Daughter. It sounds great.

Christine Wells
15 years ago

It’s a bandit raid! Hi Caren, thanks for dropping in.

I agree with you–I’m not a great advocate of the clinging ingenue heroine. I like Regency women who are what I’d call independent-minded. We can’t make all our heroines self-reliant because the reality of the time was so different, but a woman who thinks independently is someone I admire, even if she still lives a fairly conventional life.

As for being a superstar, I wish! Thanks very much for commenting:)

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Hi Stacy S! Thanks for commenting! Hope you enjoy Scandal’s Daughter.

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Halllooo, Christine! So glad to see you here. And more importantly, thrilled that SCANDAL is going to be coming out really, really soon.

You want help titling your second book? Oh, well. Do tell me more, a whole lot more, and I’ll help. 🙂 🙂

And a biiiig hello to all the other Banditas who’re swinging by to yodel, er, comment on the blog. 🙂

Anna Campbell
15 years ago

Keira, those other wild banditas may yodel, but having met me, you know how dulcetly sweet my murmurings are! I’m hurt you would suggest anything else 😉 You’ll love SD – I’ve got a feeling it’s right up your alley. Christine, thanks for telling me about the house you used as inspiration. That’s one I haven’t been to so I’ve added it to the list…

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Huge waves to you Keira, our honorary bandita;)

Yes, I need major assistance with the title–maybe that will be the subject of a future bandit blog post! I find it very difficult once the book is written to think of a good title. Foanna (Anna Campbell) has given me some suggestions, but first she got into alliteration, then it was rhyming, then it was both. Then it just got downright silly. So, long story short, I still need a title! I have a list to give my editor and we’ll see.

Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell
15 years ago

You mean you didn’t like Bonk the Donk or Snog the Dog or Nuke the Duke? I’m hurt all over again!

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Dulcet murmurings? Ahem! Hey, you can hear (and see) Anna’s dulcet murmurings on Romance Novel TV, everyone! She’s such a star and she has some interesting things to say about contests and the hoo ha over her wonderful Claiming the Courtesan.

And you’re welcome about the house, Anna. You mean you haven’t been there??? I was GREEN with envy over your UK holiday (sorry, WORKING research trip–shh, is the Tax office listening?). We’ll have to do the stately homes together one day. As long as you promise not to ask any more liveried footman how comfortable their breeches are;)

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Anna wrote: You mean you didn’t like Bonk the Donk or Snog the Dog or Nuke the Duke? I’m hurt all over again!

My dear, I LOVED them, but sadly, my editor has no taste.

Rachael Blair
15 years ago

Oh my, can’t wait to get a copy and am especially proud that you’re an Aussie writer. I love historicals… but prefer the ones that are a bit dangerous for the era – I especially like the idea of your Sept 08 release. And thanks for leading me to Risky Regencies… I’ll be back.
RACH!

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Big waves, Rach! Glad you could hop over. RR is definitely on my (very exclusive) favourites list, so I’m glad to pass on the tip;)

Thanks for saying hi!

Joan
15 years ago

Swish, slash, zing…there a large B for Bandita has been Branded in Christine’s blog!

Christine, as everyone else has said, Scandal’s Daughter sounds great and we can’t wait to read it.

I am, however insanely jealous that you and Anna Campbell get to READ each other’s brilliant stories! I may have to fly to Oz just to get in queue for that!

Book Two. I’m with Kate…it sounds wonderful! As to a title? How about Joanie T’s Secret? 🙂

Tawny
15 years ago

Christine – I’m fascinated that your heroine takes care of contraceptives – that is such a strong stand and makes for a very empowered woman. I cannot wait to read Scandal’s Daughter.

After all, Bandita books rock *g*

Sharon
15 years ago

Hi Christine

Gemma and Sebastian’s story sounds terrific and I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt on your gorgeous website. Can’t wait to see it on the shelves next month so I can read the whole story!

You’ve really tantalised me with your next story. And the historical backdrop you’ve chosen sounds fascinating. Are you going for a “scandal” theme with your titles? The lady’s erotic diary being stolen seems to lend itself to the idea…. 😉

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Woohoo, Joan! Great to see you! ::Raising my sword in the Bandita salute::

Joanie T’s Secret? Hmm, it’s a real pity my heroine’s name is Kate;) Otherwise, it would be perfect. See, Anna, Joan knows how to title a book–name it after herself, of course! And please don’t suggest ‘Anna gets her Manna’, because I don’t think I could take it!

As for reading Anna’s wonderful books before most of the rest of the world, I can tell you, I feel like JK Rowling’s daughter sometimes–everyone, even booksellers, bug me to glean any little hint about the next book I can give them. I bask in the reflected light of her glory, I tell you!

Anna Campbell
15 years ago

Hmm, if you hadn’t been so nice about reading my books, I would have suggested Campbell Has a Sexy Ramble. But clearly that would be inappropriate when you’ve just been so lovely 😉

Joanie, I like the idea of you in Christine’s title. She can change her lead character’s name. I don’t think she’s thinking outside the box enough, do you?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse)

Hi Christine! Another Bandita swinging over to say hi! Had to LOL over the camp titles our own Anna C suggested. Snork. Love the premise of book two and haven’t even gotten to read bk. 1 yet. (Pout. Hurry UP, let’s get some distribution!) Waving too at my pal Diane Gaston from Washington Romance Writers. Hi Diane! She writes fab-o regencies. Grins. I don’t write Regencies, but loved scanning through the websites you posted. Fun! Great interview, ladies! :>

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Hee hee, Anna, and I thought the titles couldn’t get worse!

Hellooo Duchesse de Snork! Great to see you here. Guess what, everyone? the Duchesse got The Call and her romantic suspense, Dark and Dangerous (fab title, wish I’d thought of it) is being published by Kensington. Yay!

Denise Rossetti
15 years ago

Can’t wait for the release of SD! I’m going to break a bottle of bubbly over your bows in celebration, Christine! And if you guys are jealous of our Anna, listen up! Because Christine is my treasured critique partner, I get to read it all – yup, I do. heh heh

I LOVED the contraception scene in SD and thoroughly approved as well. Ditzy heroines aren’t my thing and Gemma is a wonderful character. I felt like she was someone who could be my friend. And I’ve had a sneak preview of Nuke the Duke (or whatever – more on that in a minute). It’s gorgeous and the banter between Kate and her hero is so tight and witty and sexy – and clever.

As for the title, I’ve totally run out of inspiration. We reduced my poor old brain to a pulp – unlike our Anna, who is always a fount of ideas. (Some of them more than a trifle – um – lateral?) I did have A Thought though. Why not run a contest? Provide a blurb and a short excerpt and let folks go for it. Couldn’t be worse than my weak attempts.

On ya, mate!

Denise

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Nisey! Thanks so much for visiting when I know you have a LOT of writing to do! Those people at Berkley are slave drivers. SLAVE DRIVERS, I tell you! What must they do but give Nise a 4 BOOK CONTRACT and then make her beaver away on a novella as well.

I teared up a bit at your comments about my stories. Thanks, sweetie. You’re the best CP ever.

Thank you once again for your efforts on my title. A contest, eh? What a good idea!

jo robertson
15 years ago

Hey, Christine, I posted earlier today but cyberspace ate it up!!! Anyway, another Bandita saying I can’t wait for Scandal’s Daughter and to come out, sounds very intriguing.

I know what you mean about giving up a job you do well (mine was teaching). I was lost for a year or two until I got into the rhythm of my writing.

And your next book sounds absolutely delicious! jo

Diane Gaston
15 years ago

Waving too at my pal Diane Gaston from Washington Romance Writers. Hi Diane!

Well, Hi, Jeanne! Who knew you were a Duchess, um THE Duchess! Gee, these Romance Bandits are a motley crew…

(thanks for the nice words about my books!)

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Thanks for dropping by, Jo, and for your kind words about my books!

Interesting you had a similar experience to mine when you left teaching. It takes a lot of discipline to make writing a career, doesn’t it? I’m not sure I’m there even now, what with the boys to look after and no possibility of a fixed schedule, but I try. I couldn’t imagine going back to ‘real’ work.

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Yikes, Tawny. We must have posted at the same time! Sorry I missed you there. Thanks for commenting.

My heroine had a little help from her eccentric mama on the contraceptive front. A mother-daughter sex talk, Regency style:)

Christine Wells
15 years ago

Ooh, and I missed Sharon, too. My only excuse is I’ve been up since 3am. Hi, Sharon! Thanks for coming and for all your kind words. You’re such a honey.

Now, I think you have something there with the ‘scandal’ theme. I wonder what that says about me? Food for thought on the title front.

Thanks for getting me thinking!

Anne Gracie
15 years ago

Hey Christine, you must be on pins and needles waiting for Scandal’s Daughter to hit the shelves. I read it and loved it. It’s going to do really well. (I also read Donna McMean’s book and loved that, too, Donna)

Found it really interesting what you had to say about changing identities when you leave a job to become a writer. I think it’s a big part of the adjustment you have to make, exspecially when one job gets huge community respect and the other one is associated with pink clothing, frills, and the wearing of pink swansdown mules – (those corporate lawyers and their silly shoes ;))

Not so sure about me being a veteran (she says rattling her service medals ;))

Waving to Anna Campbell, Denise Rosetti, Dianne Gaston, Rach and Keira of the romance bandits whose bonnet I covet.

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