Thanks for the warm welcome Bernadette.
You write Regency Historical romances. Can you describe your genre? What will readers find in a Regency Romance?
Regency historical romances are set around the turn of the 18th century. The period only lasted 8 years while the future George IV reigned in his father’s place, due to the King’s mental illness. Most Regency novels loosely cover the period from 1800 to Victoria’s reign in 1837. Readers of Regency are often entertained with the story of dashing heroes and feisty heroines. The social and legal codes of the time restricted women’s lives greatly, but the modern Regency novel does tend to bend the rules, allowing the heroine to shine. The grandmother of all Regency novels, Pride and Prejudice is set around this era.
Letter from a Rake actually came about from a failed attempt at writing my first novel. In that book, Millie (the heroine of Letter from a Rake) was a secondary character, but she was so strong she basically shoved the poor heroine off the page and demanded I write her story instead. When you are continually dreaming about scenes involving a secondary character, it’s time to listen to your muse. The scene in the maze, kept me awake night after night until I finally gave in and started writing the full story.
What do you love most about this story?
What I love about this story is the sense of family. My favourite Regency novels have always been ones where the characters have family around them; Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series was one of the first Regency series I ever read and I fell in love with every one of her books. When you have family around your main characters, it gives you lots of scope to work with, as well as helping to establish backstories.
How do you come up with your ideas?
When I am walking on the beach near our beach house, ideas often just pop into my head, as a result I have learned to carry a notebook on my walks. Walking at lunchtime is also a great way to solve plot problems.
Do your characters appear first or do you have to go looking for them in the story?
Characters always appear first. Usually the emotional state of a character will find its way into my thoughts and then the rest of the character gradually begins to form.
What qualities do you see as most important in a romance hero?
Humour has to be the most important thing to me. I need to like a romance hero and bond with him before I can then fall in love with him. Alex, the hero in Letter from a Rake has a lot of the humour of my four brothers. There are a number of scenes where he does things that my brothers have done in real life. I spent a long afternoon chuckling to myself as I wrote the hangover scene.
What genre do you like to read and why?
I’m an historical romance girl, I have read a few contemporary romances, but I always come back to the historical ones, especially Regency.
I’ve read quite a few paranormal and fantasy fiction books along the way; I love the whole world building that goes with those genres. Once I discovered Tolkien at university, I became an unashamed Lord of the Rings fan. I visited the movie set in Wellington after I had gone to New Zealand on a business trip. If you own the extended directors cut of the Fellowship of the Ring DVD, you will find my name at the end along with the rest of the LOTR fan club members.
Who is your favourite author and why?
Just one? Stephanie Laurens, especially her early Cynster novels. I think I own all her books. Special mention must go to Anna Campbell who runs a very close second, and is also a really lovely lady. I’ve picked her brains at several writers’ conferences.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Join a writers group; surround yourself with others who believe in their writing; it will help you to believe in yours. If you’re fortunate enough to join one of the romance writers groups somewhere in the world, make sure you volunteer some time to help the organisation. From judging and critiquing of other’s work, I’ve learned a great deal.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing the next book in the Radley family series, which follows on from the epilogue in Letter from a Rake. Yet another secondary character who demanded his own story.
The unconventional Miss Millie Ashton, recently arrived from India, finds England a cold and dismal place. The fashionable ladies of London society look down their noses at her and it isn’t long before Millie is planning her return to the country she considers home.
When Millie befriends the high-spirited Lucy Radley, she also meets Lucy’s handsome brother, ‘Alex the Great’ and things take a turn for the better. Alex, the Marquess of Brooke, is considered the most eligible bachelor in London, yet he appears fascinated by the independent Millie.
Against the odds, their unlikely friendship deepens. But Alex has a secret and when a love letter goes astray, it threatens to destroy all their happiness…
Can Millie and Alex overcome the obstacles in their path to find true love? Or will one miscommunication ruin everything
Letter from a Rake is available as an ebook from Destiny Romance, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Angus and Robertson.
Sasha Cottman is in the virtual world.
Blog www.sashacottman.com/blog The misadventures of an author in the Regency Kitchen.