Risky Regencies

Regina Jeffers and Lady Eleanor

Today the Riskies welcome Regina Jeffers, the author of several Jane Austen adaptations including Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation,Vampire Darcy’s Desire, The Phantom of Pemberley and Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion. Her latest release, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, described by Publishers Weekly as “a knockout,” is a departure from her Austen-generated works, and she’s here to talk about the book and give away a signed copy! So please jump in and chat.

Welcome, Regina! After five successful Jane Austen related novels, how do you feel about leaving Miss Austen behind?

Well, first, I am certainly not deserting my Austen sequels and adaptations. I have an Austen short story coming out in the soon-to-be-released The Road to Pemberley, and I am currently writing a Christmas-themed Pride and Prejudice sequel. Yet, I must admit that it was liberating to write a story from beginning to end, without a framework in place. When an author tackles an Austen storyline, he must stay somewhat true to the original characters or “suffer the ire” of Janeites. In my Austen books, I work in her original wording and use what I know of the lady. With this series, I could create the characters and the conflict without my readers having a preconceived idea of how the story should go. Plus, when I returned to my current Austen book, I was happy to see “my old friends” again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder rather than out of sight, out of mind.

The Scandal of Lady Eleanor is the first book in the “Realm” series. Tell us about the Realm.

The Realm is a covert group working for the British government during the Regency Period. They rescue British citizens, bring about diplomatic portals, etc. Its members are titled aristocrats and minor sons–therefore, the name “the Realm.” The members in this series number seven: James Kerrington, Viscount Worthing (and future Earl of Linworth); Brantley Fowler, the Duke of Thornhill; Gabriel Crowden, Marquis of Godown; Aidan Kimbolt, Viscount Lexford; Marcus Wellston, the Earl of Berwick; Baron John Swenton, and Carter Lowery, the youngest son of Baron Blakehell. These men have served together for several years in India and Persia, and they possess a stout camaraderie. Each holds reason for fleeing his home and title, and each must reclaim his place in Society, while still occasionally executing a mission in the name of the government. Unfortunately, not only must these men fight their own demons, they must foil the plans of Shaheed Mir, a Baloch warlord, who believes one of them has stolen a fist-sized emerald; and Mir means to have it back.

Specifically, tell us about The Scandal of Lady Eleanor.

James Kerrington, the future Earl of Linworth and a key member of the Realm, never expected to find love again after the loss of his beloved wife, Elizabeth. But upon his return home, Kerrington’s world shifts on its axis when Eleanor Fowler, literally, stumbles into his arms. However, not all is as it seems with Eleanor, as she hides a deep secret. She had hoped the death of her father, William Fowler, the Duke of Thornhill, would offer her family a chance at redemption from their dark past, but when Sir Louis Levering produces proof of Eleanor’s father’s debauchery, she is thrown into a web of immorality and blackmail. It is up to Kerrington and his friends in the Realm to free Eleanor from Levering’s hold.

Why have you chosen to include very “modern” issues in a Regency-based romance?

Just because life appears “simpler” does not mean Regency England did not reek of scandal. Women lacked options. Even women of a wealthier class were the property of first their fathers and then their husbands. As such, Lady Eleanor Fowler is no exception. When her mother dies, her father’s debauched lifestyle invades her privacy, and she is sucked into a situation because she “loves” a parent who does not really understand the meaning of the word. Eleanor’s brother Brantley escaped the Duke of Thornhill’s hold on his household, but Eleanor is left behind to cope in the only way she knows how: Survive.

If this series were brought to film, whom would you choose to play the roles?

I have been a Matthew Macfadyen fan long before he played Mr. Darcy in the 2005 film – back to his days in Wuthering Heights, Warriors, and The Way We Live Now. He is always the Darcy in my head when I write my Austen pieces, and he is the man I see and hear in my other works. In this series, Macfadyen is James Kerrington. James Mcavoy is Carter Lowery; James Scott is Aidan Kimbolt; Matthew Goode is Brantley Fowler; Toby Stephens (as he was in Jane Eyre) is Marcus Wellston, and Alex O’Loughlin faces Gabriel Crowden. As weird as it may sound, I do not have famous women in my head when I choose the females. I see their faces and recognize their movements, but they are ordinary women. In this series, Velvet Aldridge came to mind because I fondly remembered a former student named “Velvet.” I stole Brantley Fowler’s name from a young man I met at an Enterprise Rental Car outlet. I told him I would make him famous. Inherently, I suspect, there is something wrong with me.

Thanks Regina, and congratulations on the release! Questions and comments, please, and isn’t that a gorgeous cover! We’ll pick a winner on Monday!

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Linda
11 years ago

The Realm sounds very enticing. I’d love to get in on the start of this series. And, yes, the cover is lovely – likewise the picture of Matthew Macfadyen. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Hello, Linda. I am pleased to be featured on Risky Regencies today. I thank Janet for the opportunity.
The cover is a Gainsborough portrait entitled “The Hon. Mrs. Thomas Graham” from 1777.
And, well, the picture of MM is ALWAYS a nice touch. I watched his “In My Father’s Den” last evening on DVD. Magnificent story line!!!

Kim
Kim
11 years ago

I have to say my only complaint with this book is the cover. I have read it twice now. Seeing Ella falling into James’ arms would have been a better cover. It is a key and telling moment for this book which I will not spoil for anyone. A movie of this would be a welcome change from the crap that is released these days. However my Aidan looks like Chris Hemsworth. 🙂

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

First, I have The Road to Pemberley on my wishlist based on the reviews I’ve seen, and Matthew Macfadyen … what a simply perfect choice! Thanks for the interview and for adding yet ANOTHER must-buy to my list!

knittingandsundries(at)gmail(dot)com

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Kim,
Aidan Kimbolt needs a boyish charm and good looks combined. Both he and Gabriel Crowden’s character would be hard to cast, but I shall give CH a chance to win me over.

Julie, I am pleased that you are aware of The Road to Pemberley’s release. I am working on the edits for it this weekend.

MARIA GRAZIA
11 years ago

Yes!The cover is so cute and what Regina tells about her heroine and the Realm sounds so intriguing. Promising start for a new series!

Isobel Carr
11 years ago

This sounds fabulous (though I will have to do my best to forget about the Macfadyen casting, LOL!).

The issues don’t sound “modern” to me at all, they just sound like they’re outside of the usual stuff seen in Austen. They’re very much in line with the issues you see in Tracy Grant and Pam Rosenthal’s books.

Kim
Kim
11 years ago

Isobel, Actually you have to read the book for the real issues. The term “scandal” doesn’t really cover it. Unfortunately these issues existed back then and today. You really feel for Ella. She’s facing some difficult situations in a time when women had no rights.

Kim
Kim
11 years ago

Regina, I would concede CH as Aidan if you would consider Robert Pattinson for Adam (Phantom of Pemberely). You have to watch Remember Me before you make a judgement there. 😉

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

I am blessed that Ulysses Press took a chance on this novel. It is not their usual fare. I publish my Jane Austen works through Ulysses, but they have not delved into the romance genre until now. Books 2 and 3 are ready for publication. Book 4 is in outlined form.

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Isobel, the “scandal” comes from the secrecy required. Women have always faced issues of being nondescript – of being “property.” Heck, when I moved from one state to another after my divorce, I had to get my ex-husband’s permission to buy a house because of some antiquated law still on the books. Although we were divorced, he still had dominion over me, which is ridiculous! We hear of such structures more in modern times, but it is a very “old” lesson.

Maria, Thank you for joining me here. I should tell you that I finally watched North and South from beginning to end. I had seen the whole thing, but not in order. (That is the way I am with Star Wars, also.) I loved it more than I can say.

Kim,
Let me see Remember Me first, and then we’ll discuss it. LOL!!! It’s coming on Showtime or Starz or one of those channels soon.

Susan in AZ
11 years ago

I love the source of character Brantley Fowler! Do you have a picture of that young man in mind when you wrote about him?

Dee
Dee
11 years ago

Congrats Regina. I’ve enjoyed your Pemberley and Persuasion variations. How exciting for you to have an original series in publication! I will definitely be adding this to my TBR pile.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

I am definitely intrigued by your description of The Realm! And I do enjoy series that have a sort of brotherhood working to fight evil.

And “modern” problems or not I love conflicts that are real, visceral, and require a heroine to reach deep into herself to survive. I think we will never really know what some of these “women of privilege” did in order to save their families, their sanity and sometimes even their lives. When society puts one in a cage, one must be very smart and very resilient in order to survive. Women like that make for great heroines!

And, with an “I’m sorry” bow to Isobel I DO appreciate your appreciation of Matthew Mac, Kim!

I am really looking forward to reading your books!

What sorts of sources are your “go-to” sources when it comes to the Regency and especially when it comes to espionage during the Regency?

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Susan,
Unfortunately, the real Brantley Fowler moved to the Nashville area. I wanted to present him a copy of the book when it was published, but he has left the area. Fowler is a common name in my town – lots of roads named after the Fowlers, as well as the Helms. “Velvet” is a special education teacher in WV. She is still very attractive.

Dee, I am pleased you were familiar with my other works. More than pleased, actually…I am still amazed that anyone knows my name. The publishing experience has remained surreal for me.

Marsha Altman
11 years ago

Hey Regina,

Congratulations on all of your publishing success. Of course as the editor of the Road to Pemberley anthology I have no ulterior motives in your uh, success, but whatever, it’s well-earned.

For people who want to pre-order the anthology, it’s available on Amazon and B&N and all the usual places.

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Pemberley-Anthology-Prejudice-Stories/dp/1569759340/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_5

(Do not enter me in the drawing; I will procure the book from the publisher probably)

Sandy
11 years ago

The premise of the new series sounds interesting with several layers of intrigue. I love strong heroines who manage to survive in spite of society’s limitations. A bad reputation is almost impossible to overcome, I am eager to see how Ella manages. Also glad to hear you aren’t abandoning your Jane Austen series for this new one.

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Louisa,
I like historical offerings for my research. Secret Service: British Agents in France 1792-1815 is a great source, but on this book, I spent more time in learning about the Balochs.

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Marsha,
Thank you for visiting the blog and for the “promo” for The Road to Pemberley. That Jane Austen anthology will be out July 1. Marsha and I are both featured, and she is serving as the book’s editor.

Sandy,
I am, literally, finishing chapter 8 of my Christmas-themed Austen novel. I am unsure of the title, at the moment. We are playing around with several possibilities.

Aoife
11 years ago

The cover of your book is a portrait of The Honorable Mrs. Graham (1757-1797). It hangs here in Edinburgh in the art museum. I am studying here and I go to the art museum often, because it is free and I am enamored with this portrait. When she died her husband was so heartbroken that the portrait was put away, until her grandson donated to the museum in 1859. It is an amazing painting. Now I want to read your book when I get my life back at the end of June.

cyn209
11 years ago

Hi Regina!!

Congrats to you & i wish you much success with The Scandal of Lady Eleanor……
how exciting for you to venture outside of AustenWorld…..you must’ve had a grand time exploring all of the possibilities!!!
i am looking forward to reading this!!!!
& thank you for the giveaway!!!!!

Cynthia fr NYC ~~

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Why must Ella fight the battle instead of her brother? It is his fight as much as hers. The man is her brother’s friend and comrade,why does Ella have a serious secret from her brother?

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Aoife,
I was not aware of all the history on the painting, but I did know the title, artist, etc.
BTW, you will not believe how excited I was to see you name. I have a character named “Aoife” in one of my novella. Adam Lawrence is a major/minor character in my romantic suspense entitled “The Phantom of Pemberley.” As he is a fan favorite (has been in several of my books), I wrote a novella describing what happened to him. (Notice the comments from Kim about Adam’s life.) Anyway, the heroine of that novella is Aoife Kennice. She is Adam’s “Irish Eve.”

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Cynthia,
Thank you for joining me here. I certainly appreciate your support. I feel as if we are old friends because I see your comments often on Austen Authors.

Anonymous,
Eleanor’s brother Brantley leaves home after a major argument with his father (following the Duchess’s death). He reluctantly returns to claim the title. It is only after James Kerrington expresses his concerns for Ella that Brantley becomes involved in the intrigue. Kerrington and Fowler have served together for six years. They understand they must combine forces to defeat the evil, which surrounds them. Ella is accustomed to dealing with issues on her own. She does not seek her brother’s assistance. Plus, Bran is the type to “use a hammer when a feather is needed.”

MarySimonsen
11 years ago

Hi Regenia. Your book sounds intriguing. I know from reading your blog posts that the history of the Regency Era will be spot on. All the best. Mary
quailcrekpub@hotmail.com

Jeanne M
11 years ago

Regina – As a teenager I loved Jane Austen. After I becmae an adult fortunately I found you! I’m so glad that The Road to Pembely is being released as I didn’t start reading your stories until after it’s release.
I can’gt wait for The Scandal of Eleanor to be released and am thrilled it’s the first book in a series.

jeannemiro@yahoo.colm

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Mary and Jeanne,
I want to thank both of you for your kind words. Mary, it is an honor to be associated with you at Austen Authors. Thank you for everything you do for AuAu success. Jeanne, I am pleased that you found me here, as well as at AuAu.

Carol A. Strickland
11 years ago

Congratulations on the great review! Your blurb certainly is intriguing. As for the cover, I’m not sure if I’d want it to be a “traditional” romace-type cover or not.

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Carol,
As most of my books end up in General Fiction, a traditional “Fabio” type cover may not be the best draw. I admit, at first, I did not like the cover, but one cannot go wrong with Gainsborough.

Aoife
11 years ago

Thank you Regina. Aoife is my middle name and I disliked it as a child. Now as an adult, I am so glad my parents named me for my aunt. I also like being named for a warrior woman. I’ll add this book to my reading list when finish my class in June.

pageturner
11 years ago

This sounds a fascinating read – I must look out for it!

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