You’re a master of historical romance! What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Thank you for those kind words — that’s a lovely compliment. 🙂
In my office I’ve got shelves and shelves of history books, mostly focusing on the United Kingdom and many of them about Jane Austen and her time. And, of course, there’s the internet, which is such a useful, easily accessed tool it’s hard to imagine researching without it.
Because I’ve been writing my Penhallow Dynasty series for a while now, I’m pretty well steeped in its time period — the Regency era — and so I don’t need to do much research before I start a book. But I do a lot as I go along, in order to subtly infuse the story with a sense of authenticity. What are the current events my characters might be aware of? What are the latest books, the most talked-about plays, the hottest London gossip about (for example) that idiot the Prince Regent? Any fun fashion quirks? What about food trends? Advances in transportation, medicine, technology? And so on and so forth.
These explorations are a lot of fun, but I do have to be careful about flinging myself down the infinitely deep rabbit hole of research so that I don’t get too distracted!
What three qualities does an irresistible love interest have to have?
In my opinion: intelligence, kindness, and a lively sense of humor.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The brief opening scene of Engaged to the Earl is a tricky one, because there’s deliberate, playful misdirection that is fully revealed only at the very end of the book.
How do you treat yourself?
Even though my bookshelves are already jam-packed, a new book is always the best of treats!
If you had three things on your writing desk at any given moment what are they?
Post-it notes, my trusty old Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale, and a cup of coffee.
What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date?
I’m working on the 6th book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, as yet untitled, due to be released early next year. Its hero is a character who’s been flitting in and out of the series, a charming, devil-may-care rogue named Philip Thane. Little does he know it, but he’s badly in need of redemption — and luckily, my brainy, outspoken heroine Margaret Allen is more than up to the task. 🙂