My life used to be so simple. I wrote modern-day romance, romantic suspense, and straight suspense. It was fun. It was satisfying. As a trauma nurse with a forensic background, it was relatively easy to research. Call a friend who’s a cop. Call a friend who’s a medical examiner. (Yes, I have good friends…) And if that wasn’t enough, I figured out a way to play with it. I took Police Citizen’s Academy, Death Investigation Training, and FBI Citizen’s Academy (site of my proudest achievement! Amid all the cop and military types, I won a blue ribbon in the MP5. I keep the medal hanging in my kitchen so my children never forget).
But for a long time, I’ve had this itch that SWAT training didn’t satisfy. I blame it on Melinda Helfer, legendary reviewer at RT. She saw I had developed a fondness for Regency romance, and said “Eileen, you need to write a Regency!” I laughed. You see, I long ago resigned myself to the fact that I suck at research. The kind you have to wade into books to get, since anybody who knew anything about it was already dead. I was a trauma nurse–I had no idea how to work in a library!
Not only that, I was finally diagnosed with ADD (I seem to be the last to know), which means organizing all that information and picking out the pertinent bits was way beyond me. So, there I was, happily decimating the population of St. Louis in a series of suspense stories under the name Eileen Dreyer, and this idea for a trilogy of Regency-era romances came to me full-blown (thanks, Melinda!). It wouldn’t leave me alone. It talked to me. The characters took shape. They demanded that attention be paid. But I kept saying, “No, no, later. I have things to do.”
Funny how that can be resolved. For me, the suspense market temporarily dried up. And my new heroines, who I had dubbed The Three Graces, said, “Really what you want to learn about is Waterloo. And early 19th century undergarments!” I protested fruitlessly. “But I can’t call anyone who was there! I’d have to read a book!”
And God said, “Let there be the Internet. And Wellbutrin.” (Which gave me the focus to actually read non-fiction books. My new favorite is Dancing Toward Waterloo by Nick Ffolkes). Clever, isn’t She? I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having. History really does fascinate me. Not only that, I’ve become a card-carrying member of the Anachronism Club, which means I pride myself on my acquaintance with Regency mores and habits.
And, since the first book begins the night before Waterloo, I still get to decimate populations. I still get to have suspense and sex, and the absolutely accurate research that is my hallmark over in Suspenseland.
And early 19th century undergarments.
How cool is that?
You can visit Eileen’s website (and learn more about her books!) here…