Risky Regencies

Dorothy McFalls Joins the Riskies!

(We’re very excited to welcome Regency author Dorothy McFalls! Comment for a chance to win of four prizes–two copies of Lady Iona’s Rebellion and two magnets featuring Dorothy’s beautiful covers)

Riskies: Hello, Dorothy! Welcome to Risky Regencies. Tell us about Lady Iona’s Rebellion. (I’m very intrigued by the artistic heroine…)

Dorothy: Thank you, Amanda and Riskies, for inviting me to talk about my books! (As you already know, I’m a big fan of yours. I’m halfway through your latest, A Sinful Alliance, and am enjoying it. It has intrigue, spies, and a gorgeous, mysterious hero! So naturally I was thrilled when you emailed me about spending some time here!) (Note from Amanda: Blush. And I didn’t even have to pay her, lol!)

My current release, Lady Iona’s Rebellion, is a Regency-set romance published by Cerridwen Press. And yes, it does feature a sculptress heroine! Ever since my husband discovered his artistic side and returned to college to study sculpture, the characters in my books have been a bit more artistic. His work has been rubbing off on me, I think! Luckily, thanks to his art history classes, he’s also a great resource for my research.

When I started to write about Lady Iona, she insisted right away she was no shrinking violet. Though everyone believed her to be a paragon of virtue and, well, terribly dull, she secretly ached to step out of the mold her family and society put her in. And for her, art (which was an acceptable endeavor for ladies of the Regency) was her way of expressing herself without shocking anyone.

But when her father arranges a marriage for her, fully expecting her to happily bow to his wishes, she decides it is high time to put her foot down and assert her independence. Only, she doesn’t know how. She seeks out Lord Nathan Wynter, a handsome rake with a shocking reputation for thumbing his nose at society’s rules, and asks him to teach her to be a bit more like him.

While Iona is seeking adventure, Nathan is doing his best to reform his ways and repair his disastrous relationship with his family. Winning the very proper Lady Iona for a wife would go a long way to achieving that end. So he agrees to her wild scheme of giving her lessons in debauchery.

The more he tries to protect her from running head-long into disgrace, the more he admires her daring spirit and unpredictable antics! Instead of returning her to the obedient world she was raised in, he encourages her blossoming passions. Such a move is surely going to lead them both to ruin. But for love he is willing to risky anything…

Riskies: What was the research like for this story? Did you come across any great new sourcs?

Dorothy: Lady Iona’s Rebellion takes place in Bath, and what a fun place to research! I was able to find some great sources for the period and the area. Perhaps the most useful was the Georgian Bath Ordnance Survey Historical Map and Guide published by the Ordnance Survey, RCHME, and the Bath Archaeological Trust. The map includes the historical property lines within and around the city as well as outlines of the building footprints that are color-coded by whether the structure was built by 1727, 1776, and 1830. While writing the book I had the map, which isn’t small, spread out on the floor of my office, so I could visually trace the activities of the characters. There are similar maps available for other areas of England. It’s a source I highly recommend!

I also searched UK online bookstores for historical books on Bath and found some great resources that way. I found the Bath Historical Society wonderfully generous in answering my emailed questions about the workings of the baths in the Regency. And of course the Beau Monde and Hearts Through History chapters of Romance Writers of America came through whenever I hit a research roadblock or couldn’t find some bit of information in my files.

Riskies: Tell us about your other releases!

Dorothy: Just try and stop me, LOL! My debut novel, The Marriage List, was published by Signet in 2005. Viscount Redford Evers makes a list of his requirements for a wife. Humble tenant May Sheffers meets none of these, so why does his heart beat madly at the sight of her?

Because Regency society was really a small world, some of the characters from The Marriage List show up in Lady Iona’s Rebellion. TML is no longer in print, but you can pick up a used copy at Amazon for less than a dollar–what a bargain!!

I’ve also dipped my toe into the erotic romance ebook market, and have two very different books currently available. Lady Sophie’s Midnight Seduction, from Whispers Publishing, is a sort but very steamy Regency tale. Sophie, a self-avowed spinster, has been happy with with her independence for many years–until Lord Benton-Black enters her world. Now she finds her nights haunted by this man who is determined to seduce her and make her his wife!

Neptune’s Lair, also from Whispers, is a contemporary paranormal romantic suspense. If you like these “strange but true” pocket books that you used to be able to pick up in the grocery store checkout line in the ’60s that told about ordinary people learning extraordinary powers, I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s worse than a bad hair day! Dallas St. John’s new lover is taking control in the bedroom, an unworldly force if threatening her soul, and she has just learned she isn’t quite human.

I also have several free short stories available on my website, dorothymcfalls.com. They’re a mix of mysteries and paranormal. No Regencies have landed there yet! Those usually bloom into full-blown novels.

Riskies: What has your experience been like with epublishing versus traditional publishing?

Dorothy: Both experiences have been pretty great! With the right editor, I have found lots of creative freedom in the e-publishing route, and through this format I’ve been able to reach some fabulous readers all over the world. However, there are still lots of readers who aren’t familiar or comfortable with ebooks. So I’ve been a little frustrated that some of my print-only readers haven’t been able to read Lady Iona!

Personally, I’m an ebook convert. I’m such a heavy reader, and the small print is difficult on my eyes. I use a Cybook e-reader (bookeen.com), which is about the size of a hardback book, and I keep it loaded with ebooks. In fact, I just returned from vacation and was able to bring about 100 books with me on the ebook reader. My favorite feature is the ability to turn any book into a large print book!

It also seems like most of the major publishers now offer their books in ebook format (which is how I bought A Sinful Alliance!). I love the convenience of that!

So, while the readership of ebooks is currently a bit limited, I believe it’s a fast-growing sector of publishing that is filled with possibilties, and I’m very excited to be a part of it.

Riskies: What is it that draws you to the Regency period as a setting? What are some of your favorite Regency-set novels or period movies?

Dorothy: I love the pageantry and the beautiful language of the Regency! I grew up in beautiful, historic Charleston, SC (a city whose heyday was during the Georgian period), and I think being immersed in that history from a young age is the reason writing Regency romances feels comfortable to me.

And I ask you, what woman can resist a rogue in leather pants?? Not this one! Sigh…

Some of my favorite authors include Catherine Coulter, Tracy Anne Warren, Sophia Nash, Jo Beverley (her latest novel has a Papillon dog in it!), and the list simply goes on and on, depending on who is in my TBR pile at the moment.

Movies? I don’t know. It was great fun to watch the Jane Austen collection on PBS a while ago, and compare each movie to the book!

Riskies: What’s next for you?

Dorothy: I have a new release, The Nude, on the horizon from Five Star/Gale/Cengage. It’ll be coming out in May 2009. This is the book of my heart. It’s a love story I wrote for my husband several years ago. It won the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Unpublished Historical Romantic Mystery/Suspense back in 2003. After a few false starts, it finally found its publisher. I’m really, really thrilled to know this book will soon be in print! And yes, there’s an artist involved.

After Elsbeth,m Countess Mercer’s husband died fighting in the Peninsula, the young widow hoped to quietly spend the rest of her days with her uncle and his 2 spirited daughters. She never expected to find herself at the center of a public scandal.

An exhibition of a painting titled “The Nude” that looks shockingly like Elsbeth has set all the tongues of Regency London wagging. This isn’t the first time the painter, Dionysus, has caused havoc in her life. Though she’s never met him, she fell hopelessly in love with him through his haunting landscapes a decade earlier. Like Cyrano using his poetry to lure a woman to love another, Dionysus used his paintings to trick Elsbeth into marrying the wrong man. She refuses to let him hurt her again, and she vows to find him and force him to prove her innocence.

Nigel, Marquess of Edgeware, a reclusive but powerful figure in the ton, has connections with Dionysus and reasons to protect the artist’s true identity. When Elsbeth sets out to find Dionysus, Nigel abducts the widow and insists she accept his help. When she stubbornly refuses, he decides that seducing the lady might be the swiftest and most effective means of diverting her attentions. Elsbeth soon discovers she is torn between the artist who owns her heart, and the man who can set it free…

Author Sophia Nash gave a quote for this book: “McFalls deftly balances romance and mystery in this masterful story!”

This was fun, Riskies! I love all things Regency, and historical for that matter, so I never turn down an opportunity to talk about it. If anyone has questions about the resources I’ve used for my research, I can be contacted through my website at dorothymcfalls.com

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Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

Oh, Dorothy, you are going to break me! I hate to confess that I have not read any of your books, a shame I intend to correct immediately. I just love the sound of your stories! It seems to me that in all that repressed sexuality during the Regency art became the way many sensualists expressed themselves. I love that idea. I also love the idea of a woman who decides to finally be who she is! Your research sounds fascinating. Have you ever been to Bath? How hard is it to write completely in a setting to which you have never been AND one that is not written about as commonly as London or Paris? I am SO looking forward to reading your books. Your heroes sound scrumptious and your heroines are right up my alley. Put me in the club of NOT being able to resist a man in tight leather pants! And boots! Don’t forget the boots!

14 years ago

Iona: I love that she has a daring spirit and engages in unpredictable antics! YOU GO GIRL!! I think this is because I am so different than her and I give her mega credit for doing this.
Is there some of your personality in her?
Thanks so much for being with us.

Elena Greene
14 years ago

Welcome to the Riskies, Dorothy, and thanks for the lovely interview! I love when plots include elements regarding art and artists and yours sound very intriguing.

14 years ago

Hi Dorothy,
Lady Iona sounds like a great heroine. I did not know that art was an acceptable endeavor for ladies during the Regency. Is your husband the only artist in the family? I would love to visit Bath one day and try out the Roman baths.

Julia Justiss
Julia Justiss
14 years ago

Hi, Dorothy, and glad to see that you made the transition from the defunct Signet line (I’m one of those who still mourns the demise of the old trads) I see, though, that your upcoming work is more into the erotic/paranormal vein. Is this something you’ve always wanted to do, or did you move from straight Regency since all the marketing gurus say these two genres are most popular now?
BTW, I lived in Charleston for several years. Participated as a guide at the Sword Gate house during one of the azalea festivals and lived downtown around the corner from St. Phillip’s Church right on the open market. I loved it!

Linda Banche
14 years ago

Hi Dorothy,
I love stories that have lots of authentic research in them, so I’ll be sure to read yours.

And I like your website.

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Welcome Dorothy! My WIP is also set in Bath, and I do love those maps. I’m not at all good at deciphering distances, and those help a lot. 🙂

What kind of art does your husband specialize in??

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Louisa,

Oh, yes. I love his boots, too. **Sighs**

I’m glad that you like the idea behind Lady Iona’s Rebellion. It was a fun story to write.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Bath. And yes, I do believe that it does make the job of writing about it more difficult. I do have a friend who lives down the street from me who lived there for many years. That helped. Also, I’d gaze at the photos and sketches I found about the city for hours and try to picture what it would be like to be there. That helped, too.

The argument can be made that the Bath that exists today isn’t the Bath that was there during the Regency. And that’s true to a point. But I did try to dig up as much research about the city and surrounding region as possible.

I used to work as an urban planner and have a passion for researching the history of an area and it’s development. So the research was truly a pleasure.

Heather Hiestand
14 years ago

Hi Dorothy:

I love how your husband’s creativity has inspired yours. It’s wonderful to have that interplay in a marriage!

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Robyn,

I wish I was more like Iona. My puppy, who I named Iona, does have that spunk and attitude.

Like you, I’d doubt I’d be taking any midnight dips in the King’s Bath. But perhaps if I felt my back was to the wall, like Iona’s was and someone was trying to marry me off to my cousin, I’d do something crazy too. I don’t know… 😉

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Jane,

Thanks for stopping by. My husband is the only artist in my immediate family. I had an aunt who was an artist and her daughter has followed in her footsteps. Some of my fondest memories are visiting my aunt. She’d always have an art project for me and my sisters to do in her wonderful artist’s studio. It was so much fun!

When my nieces and nephew come to visit, I try to give them that same experience by setting up unusual art projects for them.

While there were women artists and artisans during the Regency period, it wasn’t a profession that a proper lady would probably dare pursue. However, art such as watercolors and sketches was a endeavor that seemed to be considered a most proper use of a young lady’s time.

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Julia,

I do miss the traditional Regencies, too. I was just rereading one the other day, and thinking that there is something just something special about them. Though, don’t get me wrong, I love to read pretty much every kind of romance there is. Losing the popular traditional Regency was somewhat like losing a favorite snack. There’s still other tasty treats to eat out there…

As for my sticking my toes into the other genres. I’ve always been a fan of the paranormal. It’s something that I read a lot of as a child. And I’ve been enjoying trying my hand at writing one or two.

The erotic romances, however, wasn’t something I knew that much about. I wanted to strengthen the sexual tension in my writing.

When I’m trying out a new writing technique, I write a short story, with my focus being that one particular technique that I wanted to focus on. So I wrote a short Regency (Lady Sophie’s Midnight Seduction) with my focus on…um…sex. To my surprise and delight, people liked it! So that’s how I got involved with that.

Actually, the paranormal market seems to be very overcrowded right now, and it’s really difficult to make inroads into it. But I still like it, and will still write paranormal stories, even if I’m the only one who ends up reading them. 🙂

That’s so neat that you lived in downtown Charleston! Isn’t it a beautiful place. I feel lucky to be just a few minutes from the heart of the city.

My sister has lived in several wonderful houses in the historic downtown, and once in building that had served as an old, tiny cow barn for centuries. Now that was an interesting place!

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Elena and Amanda,

Thank you again for inviting me to spend the day here! I love the Risky Regencies blog!!

Amanda: You’re going to love researching Bath. There’s so many interesting stories about the city and its magical history!!!

My husband is a sculptor, just like Iona. Hmm… I wonder where I got the idea for her? He took a class at a local musuem a few years ago and discovered that he has a real talent for it. It surprised us both! He’s actually working on sculpting a dancing fairy in wax as I’m writing this.

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Linda,

Thanks for stopping by! I love doing the research. Sometimes I lose myself in it, in fact. But I can’t guarentee that I’ll always get everything right… But I sure try to capture feeling of the time period and put some interesting facts in along the way.

One thing I love about reading historical romances, is learning something new.

Dorothy McFalls
14 years ago

Hi Heather,

Thanks for stopping by. And yes, I do feel blessed to be in a relationship where we understand each other’s artistic temperment. We have inspired each other several times. It’s great fun.

And my husband is a great supporter of my writing and I LOVE his artwork. In fact, I hate for him to sell anything…ever. I want to keep it all for myself. 🙂

Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

Now see, Dorothy, that would be my problem if I was married to an artist. I would never want to sell his work. Each piece would become my new favorite!

14 years ago

IIRC this is my first post here – dropped in to say, I love the idea of a sculptress heroine! Never come across such a thing, nor one called Iona. So that’s two for two, and three for three comes in the form of the beautiful cover. I’ve always loved that particular painting.
Congratulations on this release, and good luck with those in the pipeline.

14 years ago

I love reading regency romances, but I haven’t read one of yours…yet! This one sounds really good. I haven’t read one where the heroine was a sculptor. It is sweet that your husband’s creativity is carried over into your avenue of creativity!

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

I’ve been out of town but glad you were here, Dorothy! And I’m thrilled your stories have found homes and we readers can read them.

Is there something in the water???? My just-turned-in Regency features an artist and a (nearly) nude painting.

A new trend!!!

14 years ago

Loved the post. Did you have to do alot of research for your book?

14 years ago

I just wanted to say that I’ve loved everything I read so far from you, Dorothy and am thrilled that another book is waiting on the horizon! I can’t wait to read it!

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