As you know, if you follow my Tuesday Teasers, I am smack in the middle of a brand new Regency romance by debut author, Wanda Luce. Wanda has kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog and is generously giving away a copy of her Regency romance, Lydia. Read on, and at the end of the interview, I'll tell you how you can enter to win a copy of her book.
JDP: How long have you been reading Regency romances?
Wanda: I fell in love with Jane Austen’s novels when I was eleven or twelve.
JDP: What was the first Regency romance you ever read?
Wanda: Pride and Prejudice. I remember having a big crush on Mr. Darcy and reading it twice just to fall in love with him again.
JDP: When did you first realize you wanted to write Regency romances?
Wanda: Just three years ago I started re-reading the British historical novels I had loved as a girl. First, I re-read all of Jane Austen’s books, and then I read every clean Regency I could find in our local library. My husband likes TV, and I prefer to read, so every evening, I would read while he watched. One day he suggested that I write a Regency, so I just sat down at the computer and wrote the first line for fun. I was hooked from then on and one line became ten and then twenty and so on until six months later I wrote “The End.” That very first line once read:
“Condolences were generally felt though no longer expressed that the lovely Lydia still stood in want of a husband.”
I am currently finishing up the first draft of my second Regency. Now that writing has gotten into my blood, I just can’t quit. I’m addicted to the thrill of the hunt with words and plot as my game.
JDP: That's a lovely first line! Although I think readers will thoroughly enjoy your revised beginning. :-) Which Regency romance authors have most influenced you in your love for the Regency period?
Wanda: Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer lead the list. Next, I’d have to say Pamela Aidan whose rewrite of Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view leads in quality every Pride and Prejudice rewrite ever released. Elizabeth Aston’s novels are excellent as well. I love the incredibly poetic way they combine words into sentences and scenes that transport me back to the nineteenth century. The beauty of Regency romance lives not only in the story line but in the chivalrous ebb and flow of how the hero and heroine fall in love.
JDP: I'm still in the middle of reading Lydia, but I can already attest to your own "incredibly poetic" prose. :-) Since I’m always interested in how authors research their historical novels, could you tell us a little about how you researched the Regency era for Lydia?
Wanda: Most of my research comes from what I can find online or in books by British authors written in that time period. I always spend a great many hours reading about the geographical areas where my books take place, even if I use very little of what I learn. I search through a lot of British names before I name my characters, and I always check to make sure my idiomatic or slang phrases were in common use in early 1800’s England. Overall, I have to be sure that anything in my books was common during the Regency period. I also like to pick out real locations where I can imagine the events of my books taking place.
JDP: Can you share with us your top three favorite Regency romance research books or other resources?
I used all three of these and a great many others for information.
****Jane Austen’s World
****Michele Sinclair: Regency Era Life
****Diane Dishman’s Writing and Research Website
JDP: Are there any historical figures from the Regency era who particularly intrigue you?
Wanda: William Wilberforce is one of my biggest heroes. I even put a mention of him in Lydia. If you are reading this interview and haven’t seen the movie Amazing Grace, you must go rent it. His was the most powerful force behind the abolition of the slave trade in England. Quite a man.
JDP: I haven't seen the movie, though I've heard much about it. I'll have to check it out. Do you have an all-time favorite Regency romance?
Wanda: Yes. Persuasion by Jane Austen. I relate so deeply to Anne Elliot and her acute pain because of her love for Captain Wentworth. If anyone reading this has not seen the 2007 BBC release of Persuasion, the movie, you are really missing something. Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth is drop-dead gorgeous.
JDP: What inspired you to write Lydia?
JDP: What inspired you to write Lydia?
Wanda: Really, I started Lydia on a sudden whim. I had read so many Regencies, that I thought it would be fun to try my hand at it—just for fun, you understand—and my husband encouraged me in the idea. I NEVER had any intention of submitting it for publication. Once I had revised it a few times, I decided I would like some feedback on it, so I submitted it to about twelve agents and publishers. I was unbelievably SHOCKED when I ended up with two offers!
JDP: Tell us a little bit about Lydia?
Wanda: At six and twenty, the impoverished Lydia Hathaway has endured bleak years of heartbreak, longing for a love that never came. Her deceased father's foolhardiness has left her family bankrupt, and Lydia is eventually left no alternative but to take a position as the companion and governess to Susan Ashcroft of Danbury Park in Surrey. During the first days at her post, Lydia pines bitterly for a life she believes forever lost. Anxious for peace, she rambles one morning across the muddy wilds of the Ashcroft estate where she has a most unimaginable encounter with the notorious Lord Connor Denton. As their paths continue to cross, Lydia falls ever deeper in love with the charming rogue while battling against his growing assault on her heart. In spite of his forward attentions, she considers his behavior toward her as nothing less than idle flirtation. And why should she think otherwise? As the wealthy son of an earl, Lord Denton may choose from among the most beautiful women of England's first circles--none to which Lydia claims inclusion. In spite of her indignation over Lord Denton's rakish maneuvering, she anguishes beneath the reality that he is forever beyond her reach. Tormented in a relentless battle to suppress a love she cannot overcome, Lydia resolves to leave the Ashcrofts and Danbury Park forever.
Hope you will read Lydia to discover the twist of fate that reunites Lydia and Lord Denton in the end.
JDP: What project are you working on next?
Wanda: I have nearly completed the first draft of my second Regency. This one is mainly in the hero’s point-of-view. He is the rakish son of the Marquess of Lansdowne. His covert escapades to ferret out a ring of aristocratic criminals requires that he disappear into the British countryside for a short time under a false identity. Here he meets Alexandra Dancy, a country miss whose family hides its aristocratic origins because they must guard a dark secret. How can the two overcome the prejudices and hidden identities that divide them? Sorry, you will just have to wait and read it to learn the answer.
JDP: Oooo, that sounds fascinating! I can't wait to read this one. In the meantime, where can readers obtain a copy of Lydia?
Wanda: Lydia is available online at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Deseretbook.com, Brigham Distributing, in Deseret Bookstores, BYU Bookstore, through the University of Utah Bookstore, or in independent bookstores in Utah. Lydia may be available elsewhere, depending upon which stores opt to carry it. I love to hear from my readers and hope you will drop me a line when you have finished it.
JDP: Thank you so much for joining us today, Wanda!
Now to the giveaway! For a chance to win WINNER'S CHOICE of either a print or Kindle version of Lydia, do one, two, or all three of the following. (Each counts as a separate entry. Print copy USA entries only.)
(1) Leave a comment on this blog interview, then email me at email@example.com WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS, with “#1 - Regency Romance Rocks!” typed in the subject line.
(2) Visit Wanda's blog, click on the Excerpt (Lydia) tab, read the excerpt and find the question that Lord Denton asked Lydia while they were dancing. Email me the answer at firstname.lastname@example.org WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS, with “#2 – Regency Romance Rocks!” typed in the subject line.