(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