Tell us about An Unintended Seduction. Where did the idea for this book come from?
Well, as a Regency author, I’m a passionate devotee of Jane Austen. My favorite Austen is Persuasion, a story of love denied and then renewed after many misunderstandings. It’s a theme I have taken to heart. An Unintended Seduction is just that – a story about a second chance at love. In many ways, it mirrored something that happened to me personally, though with a great deal more anguish for my hero and heroine.
How much research did you have to do for a Regency novel?
A lot, and a little! I’ve been reading Regency romances since I was sixteen. You could say I absorbed information about the Regency naturally. Nonetheless, there were plenty of aspects that required detailed research, particularly how the characters addressed each other and what they wore. In spite of the amount of information, you’d be surprised how much misinformation is perpetuated. I also had a few unique items in my novel that required specific research, such as the state of midwifery and what type of music was being played.
How is writing Regency different than other types of historical fiction?
Regency readers are EXPERTS on the subject. They’ve read most of the same authors I have, and can pinpoint historical inaccuracies easily. The Regency era is a very specific period of time. True Regencies take place only during the period of time when George III was alive but mad, and George IV was Prince Regent. Extended Regencies encompass George III’s reign through George IV’s reign. There is also a specific type of language and a generally accepted set of tropes that are expected to be used. Stepping outside those bounds can affect an author’s readership, unless they carry it off well. For example, my hero is deeply flawed. The reader learns early on that Julian not only broke Miranda’s heart, he cheated on his best friend out of anger and a sense of betrayal. Not the generally accepted type of hero for a Regency. He took a lot of redeeming!
How did you decide to have Miranda’s skills include piano playing and embroidery? Are these two of your skills or did you have to do research?
I’m blushing here… I chose those skills because I do play the piano, and I do enjoy embroidery (as well as cross-stitch!) This minimized my research, but did not eliminate it. The pianos of the Regency were a little different from modern pianos. They were called pianofortes, did not have three sound pedals, and did not have as much touch sensitivity as modern pianos. The music was also different, as were the composers whose music Miranda would be likely to play. The types of music, such as a waltz, were also different.
What’s the difference between needlepoint and embroidery?
Well, basically needlepoint is generally done with wool or crewel thread, and embroidery with cotton or silk, but that’s not the only difference. Embroidery is more about a variety of decorative stitches, including knots, half-stitches, and used for decorative purposes, such as designs on handkerchiefs, lace cuffs or collars, or small sections of cloth for display. Needlepoint generally involves straight, even stitches, and is used to decorate pillows, wall hangings, or other items where the decoration covers large sections or the entire display area (think pillows or cushions.) The two crafts are closely related.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write Regency?
Read Regencies! Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Jo Beverly, etc. Do your research, particularly on forms of address, and become familiar with British English. Your readers will know…
Excerpt from An Unintended Seduction: (I need one!)
Julian held his breath against the abrupt longing that surged through him.
Madness had to be overtaking him. The night of the masquerade, Miranda Parkman had suddenly turned into a siren, tempting him with her innocent sensuality. Now, with her bare hand stroking the marble bench and the shimmer of moonlight creating mysterious shadows along the line of her neck, the siren call had returned. He fought to maintain a veneer of gentility.
She turned her head away from him, the movement tempting him to turn her head back toward his. He wanted to claim her lips in the kisses he had taken so liberally eight years ago. Instead, he took hold of her hand and placed a delicate kiss on the naked skin of her wrist. Her gasp of surprise sent shivers through him.
“Julian…please…” Her use of his Christian name revealed her disquiet.
Instead of releasing her, he kissed her wrist again, and then gently drew her closer. She gave no resistance, but moved toward him with a soft rustling of chiffon and satin. As the delicate scent of violets drifted up to his nose, he decided he wanted that kiss after all. His fingers were gentle but insistent on her chin, leading her mouth to his. At the very last moment, her lips moved against his, as they had done so long ago beneath a sunlit chestnut tree.