Three cheers for the Risky Regencies and how exciting that I can count myself one of them as of today. Thanks to the long time members for thinking of me and making this happen. Now I have an outlet for the research that never gets used, for research that is so great I need to share more than the mention it gets in a book, to discuss story concepts, release of new books, both ePublished and from legacy publishers, and the general commenting back and forth that makes this blog one of the best.
But first I want to tell you how and why I became a writer of Regency set romance. When I started writing I wanted to write books with happy endings and romance was the only place that welcomed an upbeat ending. (It was more than 25 years ago) I started with contemporaries when Harlequin and Silhouette were in competition, in what I think of as the golden days of romance.
After selling two books in quick succession (FATHER CHRISTMAS is now available as an ebook) I sold nothing, zip, zero for twelve years. I wrote and submitted proposals and the occasional complete manuscript and shook my head, or yelled, or cried at every rejection. Then one day a good friend of mine suggested that I write a regency. My answer was, “But regencies don’t make any money.” And her reply (with exasperation edging her voice,) “Mary, if you wanted to make money you would have written to the market for the last twelve years.”
Oh. Good point. For me it’s always been about sharing the story. Making money is a wonderful fringe benefit. So I finished the regency that I had started years before and sold it within three months. And eventually I made money writing series for Kensington, Bantam and Berkley.
Why has it been such a good fit? I was a history major in college. For me history is crammed full of stories waiting to be told.
Even more important: the Regency is, I think, the first period in history that 21st century people can truly relate to. The early nineteenth century is when the pendulum begins to swing from doing what is good for the community to what is good for the individual. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century men and women considered, for the first time, marrying for love rather than for what a marriage could add to the family in terms of wealth, land or social advancement.
Add to that the war with Napoleon and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the period from 1800 to 1825 is a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.
Why you love reading (or writing) regencies? What sort of stories do you enjoy the most?
Welcome Mary! It is great to have you here and be apart of this amazing group.
I don’t know why this is the genre for me but I suppose I just love all the dress up and balls, gentlemen garbs and chivalry…. I suppose it’s what I’ve always thought of what romance was all about. Maybe Lord Byron was part of that reason too…. And most definitely Jane Austen novels. Mr. Wentworth!!!! Swoon~ =)
Thanks, ki pha. It is hard to put into words, isn’t it. As a reader the chance to escape the modern world is ever so necessary sometimes. In the Regency world no one worries about computer problems, when to fit in a trip to the grocery store or why the kids think it’s okay to treat the living room like a playground.
Welcome! I think that one reason I like Regencies is that they attract some of the best authors because they’re successful (it’s circular). I first became really aware of the period through Romantic poetry (Keats, Shelley, Byron), and of course Georgette Heyer played a large part in educating me further both about daily life for the ton and about romances. Now I have studied both the history of the long eighteenth century and its literature, I enjoy good Regencies even more (including yours).
HJ, you are embarrassing me. I have only read the most necessary romantic poetry and now think I better delve deeper. I do have this great book which is basically a timeline of poetry, music and art that would be a good jumping off point. Now I just need to find it.
(Mary is one of my best-est friends and I’m thrilled to have her here)
I love your take on the Regency as being the turning point for doing what is good for the individual vs the group. Of course, there were so many changes during that time, but this is important, because it makes for all kinds of conflict between characters and between them and society.
ki and HJ, you both mention Byron as being influential in your love of the era. Amazing he has such impact all these years later! (I, too, must go back and read some Byron!)
Thanks for the welcome, Diane. I am so not a fan of Byron. From my perspective he was self -absorbed and egocentric and that is all I can think of when I try to read his work. Of course you all are entitled to your own opinions ;).
I’m not a fan of Byron, the man (ewwww!), but some of his poetry still resonates today –eg. “She walks in beauty like the night..Of cloudless climes and starry skies…
It is hard not to still feel the emotion in that.
I’m so glad you joined us, Mary, and I appreciate knowing some of your history as well.
I agree with you that the tension between needs of the individual and needs of family/society is an interesting aspect of the Regency. It’s very present in Jane Austen’s novels. I enjoy that, along with other aspects of the historical context. And the clothes, of course.
Welcome, Mary! One of the things I love about Regency is the language. My favorite Regency authors are detail-oriented, making sure it’s right historically. They also create characters that fit in the time with an awareness of the human psyche.
then you’ll LOVE Mary’s books, Laurel!
Ah yes, details. It becomes an obsession doesn’t it, Laurel? Nothing pulls me out of a story faster than an egregious error. Admittedly we all have all built our own Regency world based on our research and interests — mine big on houses and food. Diane totally informed on the army and the battle against Napoleon. Isobel the go to person for anything related to clothing.That and appealing characters is what makes each of our stories unique.
Title errors get to me, because it is so easy to find out the correct form on the internet!
Mary, welcome aboard! I think you’ve really nailed it with your explanation about the change in attitudes, individual vs society. It’s a theme we all explore in our stories, for certain –a great source for conflict. I agree that it is a time that modern people can relate to. So much was in transition, and now we live that all the time as things change so fast! But they (at least the wealthy) managed to live with it in elegance, and I think that is part of the romance and the charm of the period, something we’ve lost and love to recapture in our books.
Hi Gail and thanks for the welcome. “Live with elegance” is a perfect way to describe the charm of stories set during the Regency. As I sit here in less than elegant attire, I have to admit it’s an aspect I really enjoy.
I enjoyed learning how you came to join the Regency camp. I always enjoy reading/hearing the personal stories that lead a writer to find their fit in the wide variety of the world of fiction. Your description of the appeal of the Regency era is spot on–although I enjoy a variety of time periods, I am always drawn back to this time period, where the needs/desires of the individual became a consideration in choosing one’s way in life. The tension in choosing to be true to oneself despite the needs/demands/expections of society and family is what keeps me turning pages.
YAY !!! My conference tea partner is a Risky !! Mary and I shared afternoon tea when Isobel taught a course on Regency foods at a Beau Monde mini conference years ago. I have been fan of your books ever since, Mary! SO very glad to see you here! And I do like your take on the Regency.
I read (and write) Regency romance because it is a period of manners, discovery, introspection and grace between the decadence of the Georgian era and the industry and darkness of the Victorian age. I am afraid I am a Luddite at heart. I am not overly fond of technology or the fast pace and immediacy of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I love good manners, graceful living, reading real books, elegant dining, music created by musicians on instruments without computer gadgets and singers without technological assistance. I love big stately homes and walking tours and a much slower pace than my current circumstances allow. The Regency is an era when people began to realize the power and comfort of love, real love, and began to discover the simple beauty of getting to know who another person truly is.