Interview with Patricia Rice

A big Riskies welcome to Patricia Rice and her July 2010 release, THE WICKED WYCKERLY. In her own words ….

That’s where you’ll find my much-maligned Earl of Danecroft and his…umm…spirited daughter. Poor chap, his irresponsible bachelor’s life has just come to a crashing, nearly fatal, end with the inheritance of a bankrupt earldom and the arrival of a six-year-old dispenser of flaming dragon dung. Where’s a wealthy, understanding woman when one needs one?

Tell us about your inspiration for The Wicked Wyckerly and the 
Rebellious Sons Series.

My editor and I were brainstorming at RWA in San Francisco. I told her I was tired of dukes and lords and wanted to write about younger sons. I also had this idea about a bankrupt hero who grabs his daughter and runs. And another idea about a wealthy widow who grants bequests to deserving spinsters—sort of a Cinderella story. And by the time we were done, the whole series came together!

Your blurb for the book sounds straight out of Heyer (that’s a 
compliment!)–a tribute to Frederica. Who are your influences?

Why, thank you! I came late to Heyer, reading them when I first became enamored of the Walker Regencies in our very limited small town library. I had read and re-read Austen regularly since childhood but didn’t know there was an entire category of Regency romances out there. I fell in love instantly. I believe I read Patricia Veryan, and Jo Beverley, and Loretta Chase first, and once I realized I could buy the paperbacks, I drove thirty miles to a bookstore and haven’t stopped reading them since. I still re-read those old favorites. Heyer is on my bookshelf but to be truthful, I don’t have her memorized, so I had no idea the story was similar!

Did you run into any interesting research for this book?

Exploring bankruptcy among the ton proved gambling was just as ruinous as our books portray. Some of the wealthiest, most powerful aristocrats were so addicted that they died owing more than they ever earned—to tradesmen, because gambling debts had to be paid immediately. Of course, there were others who simply thought money flowed like water and spent it acquiring enormously expensive collections until their debtors came knocking. Aristocrats couldn’t be thrown in debtor’s prison, but their debtors could go to court and seek restitution by stripping their homes of everything they owned. Which is why my Fitz walked such a precarious line…

You’re a very prolific writer, writing in at least three subgenres– 
historical, paranormal, contemporary. How do you get yourself in a 
Regency mindset and set the mood for writing historicals?

I have a weird brain. Really, I’ve been published for over 25 years and I’ve always had a need to switch back and forth between genres to clear my head. For whatever reason, my lizard brain starts percolating Regency stories while I’m writing paranormals or contemporaries, and vice versa. When it comes time to write those ideas, I’m right there in that setting. For Regencies, of course, I have tons of resource material I can dive into to recall the language, but mostly, the writing is a subsconscious act. Perhaps I’ve read so many Regencies over the years, it’s part of who I am. Or maybe I’m a reincarnated Regency servant.

What do you like about the Regency period? Dislike?

I think what I like most is the contrast of politeness of manners to actual behavior. There were all these rules about how to dress for when and where and how to leave cards and even which road a lady is allowed to walk down—and I suppose anyone conquering all these rules felt very secure. But underneath that gentility was a population just coming out of the bawdy Georgian era where once the heir and spare were in place, anything went sexually. So it’s quite reasonable to write about a repressed spinster and a dashing rake, or a polite scholar and a seductive widow, and characters who aren’t certain what is expected of them. Built-in conflict! Oh, and the clothes, of course. Men in skin-tight breeches and boots, women in frail muslin and ribbons… Sigh, all good.

I’m not entirely certain that there’s anything I particularly dislike about the Regency, from an author’s point of view. There was much to dislike in the era itself, from the lack of running water to the crime-ridden slums and the horrendous criminal system. But as a writer, those make for fantastic stories, so I can’t dislike them.

Our standard question: What makes your books risky?

Each book presents a different risk, a different challenge. I get bored if I’m not sticking my neck out and being perverse. Writing a series about the younger sons of aristocracy instead of the usual dukes, of whom there seem to be three per square inch in romance, is a market risk. Writing a romp after my darker historical trilogy was a challenge to myself, and possibly another market risk since everyone is reading dark these days. But if we’re not pushing boundaries, then we’re simply regurgitating what’s already out there, and who wants that?

What do you like to do when not writing?

Read! I need more reading time! I garden and travel and visit with family when I can, but I’m always reading.

When will the next Rebellious Sons book come out and can you give us 
a hint of what it will be about?

The next book is THE DEVILISH MONTAGUE. Blake has a brain like an encyclopedia but nowhere to use it, so he vents his frustrations physically by nearly getting himself killed in duels and races and war, like any good Corinthian. Until he meets his Waterloo in a woman all society calls Ladybyrd and suddenly, instead of endangering his own life, someone else is trying to take it. Trying to protect his woman, her parrot, and his life presents more challenge than he’s ever been up against.

The Riskies will choose one a winner from today’s conversation to receive a signed copy of the book, so let’s chat!

How many of you enjoy becoming involved in a series world? And those who do not, why?

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Patricia Rice
12 years ago

Hi All!
I’m traveling to Baltimore this AM, will try to stop by and say hi once I arrive and get settled in. Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Welcome to the Riskies, Pat!

I, too, came late to Heyer, but, as her work has done for so many others, she’s been a big influence on me.

Glad you are writing about younger sons! My particular niche has been to write about the grittier side of the Regency, not dukes (although one hero was a marquess). My first hero was a younger son, my RITA winner was a younger son, and my last one, an artist!

Baltimore is a hop skip from me. Are you going to see Mary Jo Putney while there?

Karen H in NC
12 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

Karen H in NC
12 years ago

Hi Patricia,

Thanks for an informative interview. I’ve never read your work before, but after reading about this new series of yours, I believe I’ll be adding you to my BTB list.

Are the ‘Rebellious Sons’ books related by anything more than the theme? That is, are we introduced to the next book characters in the first, etc?

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

Hi Patricia! This series sounds wonderful. I love knowing how this series came to be and I can’t wait to get started on it.

I love series, especially in Regencies! It gives me a chance to get to know the characters and to catch up with them as I move on to the next couple. It also gives you a wider view of the world the author has created.

How do you keep track of everything when writing a series?

12 years ago

I like a series but prefer if they can be read as a stand alone and no more than 4 books per series.

12 years ago

I’m a very fast reader, so I like series as they extend the ‘world’ I’m in at the time. I try to save a couple up so I can move straight on to the next, as there are sure to be unanswered questions!

12 years ago

I enjoy series as you get to see and know the characters more than in a single book. However I like each book to be about it’s own hero/heroine — once they have their happy ending I want them to enjoy it and not have to be tormented again. 🙂 The series can be just related characters (family members or friends) or have a underlying theme or plot. Even if that plot takes multiple books to resolve – though not too many. The quartet seems to be good number for that.

Congrats on the latest, it sounds like a fun read. Have fun traveling today.

12 years ago

I have only read a few of Heyer books myself and its been in the past few years.

Your new series sounds fabulous and I have been seeing this book around, I would love to read it.


12 years ago

This sounds like an interesting start to a series. I admit I don’t think I have previously read any of your work but will need to add it to my list. (Yay, more to read.)

And, I agree with an earlier poster, shorter series are generally best as I think they become repetitive otherwise. Plus, while we read these stories as happy-ending escapism, I get tired of book 8 (8 years down the road) showing every couple of the past 7 books still madly in love/ traveling/successful/popping out babies/glowing with health and happiness/wealthier than ever, with no hints of real life. I prefer a sequel or series to leaven the fantasy with a touch of grittiness.

One author’s sequel I read years ago, showed the prior work’s hero clearly still struggling years later with his severe, debilitating injuries, while the heroine had only had the one successful pregnancy -which nearly killed her- and was medically advised never to risk pregnancy again. Given high infant mortality rates and a title at stake if the child did not survive… Both characters were only peripherally involved in the sequel, but clearly still committed to each other despite their challenges. I was impressed with the author for allowing her characters to grow in the face of realistic stress.

Barbara E.
12 years ago

I enjoyed the post and I’m looking forward to reading your Rebellious Sons series.
I love reading series, and I like them both ways – new heroes and heroines for each book with secondary characters having their own story in successive books – and one hero and/or heroine in a series of books, with their characters being further developed as the series goes on. I enjoy the chance to stick with characters that I enjoy through more than one book, however an author wants to do it.

12 years ago

I will admit I can get caught up in a series. I have been known to read a series of books once I have collected them all like a big seven course meal.

Patricia Rice
12 years ago

I’m a romance writer first, last, and foremost, so I totally understand about wanting a book to stand alone, for the couple to have their HEA, and that’s what I do. The first book will show some of the characters that will have importance later in the series, and later books will show the first couple still enjoying their HEA. And since, at the moment anyway, they’re all friends, they help each other out, which is why I love series. I’m not just making up secondary characters to “insert here” to talk a hero out of something. It will be his friend, someone we already know, who helps out. That’s what I enjoy most about series, knowing the different characters and how they’ll react in different situations.

Diane, it’s good to know that readers will accept something less than a duke–and if that’s not a title, I don’t know what is. “G”

And yes, I’m here with Mary Jo as we brainstorm our latest insane ideas. I will admit, the one we talked about today isn’t romance, but we had a lot of fun talking about it~!

And I just noticed MJ’s computer doesn’t give me the visual verifcation block. I may not be able to post this. Dang.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Pat, looks like you posted just fine!
And I agree. Something Less Than A Duke is a great title.!

Jane George
12 years ago

Lovely to see you here at the Riskies, Patricia! Sounds like a good start to a great new series!

12 years ago

Patricia, I read you in all the genre you write, historicals being my favorite. Series that deal with brothers, sisters, cousins and friends give so much more rounded a view of the era and its inhabitants. That the characters aren’t perfect is important. The flaws are what give the stories flavor. This first book sounds great. Nothing like a 6 year old handful to make your life more than just interesting.