Guest Blogger Allegra Gray!

I’m taking a little break today, thanks to our guest, Allegra Gray, whose debut Regency Historical, Nothing But Scandal, is now in bookstores. So, Welcome, Allegra!
Diane

Thank you to the ladies of Risky Regencies for inviting me as a guest blogger! As a new author, I’m having tremendous fun meeting people online–there is such a thriving community of readers and writers out there!

It might amaze some people to know that, even though I write books set in historical times (primarily Regency England) I never found history classes in school to be that interesting. Dry facts about what happened, dates of battles, who was president…none of it stuck in my head.

Except, that is, the vast quantities of history I discovered through reading fiction, watching historical movies, playing classical music, or traveling to historic sites in Europe. All of a sudden, history came alive. It was happening to real people (or people who seemed real) and involved real, tangible things like stone walls and castles and tapestries. Of course I knew that in fiction and movies, the story wasn’t exactly an accurate portrayal of a particular time. But I did wonder, for the first time, what life really was like back then.

Which brings me to writing romance. I’ve always loved stories, and it turns out that even if history class wasn’t that great, there was something magical about being swept back in time by a great story. The way a story does that is through carefully researched details, of course, but what really makes it captivating is keeping those details out of the way and letting the characters shine.

In some of my writers’ groups, we are constantly striving to have perfect historical detail…to the point where we research some things that, were we to include them, readers wouldn’t believe! (Truth is, after all, stranger than fiction). And sure, for those of us who become an expert in a topic, it can be frustrating to see that some authors portray that topic with a little less accuracy. I’m sure that for every one topic I am an expert in, there are ten or twenty that I’m not…but then, I’m not trying to recreate Regency England, only to get close enough to use its rich flavor as the base setting for my story.

As I research certain things (how long did it take to travel from London to Bath? When did the opium trade really take off? Why can’t my heroine be seen alone at a public inn?) the temptation is to work everything I find into the story…but then, my readers would be stuck back in history class. Knowing how fun that was for me (not so much), it makes for a challenge: include just enough history to answer that burning question or reveal that key detail, so that the reader is captivated but not overwhelmed, and so that they too ask the question “I wonder what life was really like back then?”

I’ll end with a question: what was one of the coolest things about history you first got interested in by reading fiction?

Best wishes,

Allegra

P.S. If you’d like to leave a comment (or answer the question above), I’ll enter your name into a drawing and then tomorrow, pick a name and that person will receive a signed copy of “Nothing But Scandal.”

Allegra Gray is a former military officer–turned English professor–turned homeland defense analyst. One thing she has always been, though, is a storyteller. She wrote her first book at the age of 5 (it has yet to be published).

Allegra began her publishing career while teaching in the English department of the U.S. Air Force Academy, but soon discovered that non-fiction, academic work was not enough to satisfy her creative drive.

She turned to fiction, and launched her career as a novelist with the release of a historical romance, “Nothing But Scandal,” from Kensington Publishing in July 2009.

Allegra lives in Colorado and writes novels full of steamy intrigue that interweave her love of history, legend, and romance.

Check out her website at www.allegragray.com

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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