Monday, January 31, 2011

Author Interview & Giveaway with Regency Author Teresa Thomas Bohannon

Today I have the opportunity to share with you an interview with Regency romance author, Teresa Thomas Bohannon. (Yes, although I write medieval romances, I apparently can’t seem to find enough Regency romance authors to interview. It’s one of my favorite reading sub-genres, partly because I simply love the era, and partly because Regencies still seem to be one of the easiest historical sub-genres to still find clean romances in. And yes, I know perfectly well that sentence ended in a preposition. Live with it if you want to participate in the giveaway. ;-) )

In addition to the interview, Teresa has graciously offered to give away a dedicated copy of her e-book, A Very Merry Chase. What is a “dedicated copy”, you ask? Teresa sent me a complimentary PDF of A Very Merry Chase with the following added to her title page: “Presented to Joyce DiPastena, Medieval Historian and Author, January 2011”. Can you say “Wow!”? Let me just say, this e-book is going to be a keeper!

You can win your very own dedicated copy of A Very Merry Chase if you read the following interview, and then follow the directions at the end.

JDP: How long have you been reading Regency romances?

Teresa: Approximately 37 years.  I've always been a voracious reader, and always loved stories with strong female characters. While still in high school I discovered the risque Angelique novels written in France in the 1950's.  I loved the epic scale, the romance, and the fact that women were stars of the show--so to speak--but to be honest I scanned or skipped the sex scenes.  When I am enjoying a book, or even a movie, I become deeply invested in both the characters and their story and I am no more comfortable spying on their intimate moments than I would be with anyone else of my acquaintance.  So here I was, finally with a woman-centered genre that I loved to read for sheer escapist entertainment and having to do a lot of skimming.  Then one day I discovered Georgette Heyer and I never really looked back.

JDP: What was the first Regency romance you ever read? (Mine, as readers of JDP NEWS will know, was Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer.)

Teresa: Heyer's The Grand Sophy.  She was everything I loved in a female character, strong, willful, witty, matter-of-factly in charge and most of all, for me, both financially and emotionally independent, i.e. she could darn well take care of herself like all the Edgar Rice Burroughs heroines, and villainesses, that I idolized as a child.

JDP: When did you first realize you wanted to write Regency romances?

Teresa: I always knew that more than anything else in the world, I wanted to write; but it was above all else, Georgette Heyer that made me take the first step towards writing novels. I loved everything about Regencies--especially the ones with strong female characters--and wanted to immerse myself in that world.

JDP: Which Regency romance authors have most influenced you in your love for the Regency period?

Teresa: Georgette Heyer, of course, Dame Barbara Cartland, and actually just about every Regency that was written in the seventies and early eighties--I literally devoured every one that I could get my hands on, especially the Coventry series with those lovely white covers graced with those gorgeous paintings of couples in Regency dress.

JDP: 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 A Very Merry Chase?

Teresa: Actually, I originally wrote AVMC 35 years ago, and my options were quite limited by today's standards.  I remember filling several legal pads with every historical, social, and cultural detail I could glean from the novels I was reading.  Then, of course, there were trips to all three local libraries to read everything I could in their limited early 19th century collections. 

JDP: Can you share with us your top three favorite Regency romance research books or other resources?

Teresa: Back then it was probably Burke's Peerage, because one of my greatest difficulties came with trying to figure out how the various titles worked.  Other than that, I really can't recall any particular titles, because I was mainly concentrating on the social and cultural aspects of the Regency--which in most of the text and reference books I read, was like hunting for a needle in a dry and dusty haystack.

When I brushed up on my research and re-edited A Very Merry Chase before publishing it last was a lot easier, because not only did I have the Internet, but there are literally dozens of books out there that feature what I call "the good parts version" of Regency history.  Answers that I would have had to track down by jumping from one encyclopedia reference to another, and then another, are now available in an instant via Google and these types of books. My modern favorites would probably be:

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England, by Daniel Pool

Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901, by Kristine Hughes

Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England, by Carolly Erickson

And, of course, Wikipedia and all the marvelous history sites out there, both the ones from official sources and the ones that are labors of love from the aficionados.

JDP: Are there any historical figures from the Regency era who particularly intrigue you?

Teresa: Emma, Lady Hamilton, probably more than any other.  Her history is fascinating, although history in general, and the British government, in particular, treated her abominably.  My BA and MA are both in history, and although the university I attended didn't have a women's studies concentration per se, I personally concentrated on women's history in my research for each of my classes.  In my opinion, Emma Hamilton personifies the raw deal that the majority of women have received throughout history.   Men--particularly when physical strength ruled the day allowing them to build a power base for themselves and their heirs--ran the show.  Women, for the most part, were punished harshly if they attempted to take a starring role--particularly when their looks faded, and they were no longer perceived as desirable by the men who held the power.  More often than not, their cute little aberrations might be tolerated for a while, but in the end, those who stepped outside the norm were invariably punished for their impudence.

JDP: Do you have an all-time favorite Regency romance?

Teresa: The odd thing is, neither Ms. Heyer, nor any of the other ladies who inspired me to write my Regency, wrote my favorite Regency romance.  I actually read it several years after I finished A Very Merry Chase, and then loaned it to a sweet little old lady, who never returned it.  I spent the next twenty years trying to find another copy. It's The Nabob's Widow, by Elsie Lee, and although she wrote other Regencies of little note before moving on to other genres, this was her final Regency and, in my opinion, her greatest achievement.  It is written from the male's point of view and every character in the book is an absolute charming delight.  I've read it half a dozen times in the past few years and enjoy it just as much every time I read it.  It will forever and always be the Regency I wish I had written.

JDP: I remember reading Elsie Lee many years ago, but I can't remember which titles now. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of The Nabob's Widow. What inspired you to write A Very Merry Chase?

Teresa: I wanted to be an author more than anything in the world.  At the time I originally wrote AVMC, I was young and very bright but also uneducated by the standards of the publishing world. I dreamed of writing and becoming financially independent, and I suppose, becoming the same sort of strong, self-reliant woman that I so admired in the books I read.  The choice of Regencies was almost a given since they were the traditionally female genre that I most enjoyed reading. To this day, when I just want to sit back and relax and read for sheer entertainment, I love nothing better than a quiet coze with old friends found between the covers of a Regency Romance.  It doesn't matter if I've never met them before, if the book is well done the time, the place, the language, the culture and all the other accouterments feel comfortably like home.  However, let me state, for the record, that I would hate living in the real Regency era, even if I were incredibly, independently wealthy and could afford all the luxuries the period had to offer.  You have a background in history as well, so you know that the Regency Romance era that so many readers love, is as much a fantasy as anything ever written by Tolkien or H.G. Wells.  In reality, the Regency, as was much of history, was dirty, smelly and uncomfortable, and it was a particularly harsh existence for women--even those in the upper classes whose sole responsibility was to provide an heir and a spare.

JDP: Very true. As I always say regarding my own writing time period, the Middle Ages, “It’s a nice place to visit in my imagination, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Tell us a little bit about A Very Merry Chase?

Teresa: AVMC is a mostly light-hearted tale with just the tiniest taste of Napoleonic era intrigue.  The heroine is the Right Honorable, Lady Sabrina St. Clair, who is wealthy, beautiful, and most independently minded, and who also happens to be on the verge of becoming--according to her less generous peers--an ape-leader and antidote.  Sabrina is a bit anachronistic in that she does some things that no well-bred lady of the Regency era would ever do more than dream of doing; but she's not particularly blatant about it.  For Sabrina, the rebellion is more passive-aggressive in style, manifested, I would imagine, much the same as the small rebellions of most women actually living in the Regency (or any other historical era).  The hero of the story is Brenton, Lord Branderly, Duke of Brensted, an unusually tall gentleman, who has returned to England in search of a bride and heirs, after spending most of his adult life wandering the world.  They meet under rather unusual circumstances, clash repeatedly and eventually fall in love--she reluctantly, he determinedly--against a comfortably Regency backdrop of witty repartee, beaux, belles, dancing, mishaps, mayhem and misunderstandings.

JDP: What project are you working on next?

Teresa: My next release will be a paranormal romance that I started approximately 25 years ago.  It actually began life as a series of short stories about a trio of reoccurring characters moving through time together. After that, I'll return to writing Regency era romances.  I have several Regency storylines all rambling around in my head that will appeal to women--most probably, baby boomers like myself--that want nothing more than to spend their limited amounts of free time enjoying some old-fashioned witty repartee and early 19th century, mostly light-hearted, comedy of manners style romantic intrigue...with no sex, vampires, or zombies.

JDP: Where can readers obtain a copy of A Very Merry Chase?

Teresa: A Very Merry Chase is available at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  You can purchase it, or download the first chapter to read for free at either location.  I also have a video book trailer on YouTube and a Facebook author page where you can keep up with my various posts on tidbits of Regency history.

My Regency, Historical Tidbits Blog:
A Very Merry Chase Video Book Trailer:

JDP: Thank you for joining us today, Teresa.

Now to the giveaway! For a chance to win your very own dedicated copy of A Very Merry Chase (e-book PDF), do one, two, or all three of the following. (Each counts as a separate entry.)

(1) Leave a comment on this blog interview, then email me at WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS, with “#1 - I want a Regency romance dedicated to me!” typed in the subject line.

(2) Visit Teresa’s website to find out the “official” dates of the Regency period. Email me the answer at WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS, with “#2 – I want a Regency romance dedicated to me!” typed in the subject line. (Hint: Read the full entry under Regency Romance Revival – Hello and Welcome)

(3) Visit Teresa's blog, read the excerpt from A Very Merry Chase in the right sidebar, and tell me what happened to Lady Bethany? Email the answer at WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS, with “#3 – I want a Regency romance dedicated to me!” typed in the subject line.

Deadline for entries is February 11, midnight PST. The winner will be announced on February 12.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What Am I Reading Now?

I finished reading Knight's Fee, by Rosemary Sutcliff, earlier this week. If you'd like to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on Goodreads. (I don't often write formal reviews, but for some reason, this time I was moved to do so.)

I was going to pluck something different from my TBR pile to read next, but then I learned that a movie is coming out in February based on another Rosemary Sutcliff book, The Eagle of the Ninth...a copy of which I just happened to have tucked away, yes, in my TBR pile! So you can pretty much guess what book I'm reading now! (The movie is due for release on February 11, 2011 and is called The Eagle, if you're interested.) I don't know how faithful the movie will be to the book (which I haven't finished reading yet), but here's the book's back cover blurb:

In A.D. 119 the Ninth Roman Legion marched north into the wilds of Britain beyond Agricola's Wall and disappeared without a trace. Fifteen years later, Marcus Flavius Aquila, the son of the unit's commander, embarks on a quest to recover the lost eagle standard of the Ninth, symbol of a legion's--and his family's--honor.

If you'd like to check out the movie trailers, click here. If you want to read the book first, though, you might want to wait on the trailers, because I watched one and can tell it contains spoilers. (Which is why I didn't watch the other two...yet.)

Stop by on Tuesday to read a Tuesday Teaser (but not a spoiler!) from The Eagle of the Ninth!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Get to Know the Reviewer: Mindy Holt of LDS Women's Book Review

I’ve got another fun reviewer interview to share with you today! Mindy Holt is one of four reviewers at LDS Women’s Book Review. I’m trying hard to get interviews with the other three reviewers over there. I hope to be able to share those with you in the future. But today is Mindy’s day to shine!

JDP: Did your mother read to you as a child?

Mindy: Yes!  We had mountains of books to read. I would sit in my room with piles of story books and read, read, read.

JDP: Do you remember a favorite book from your childhood?

Mindy: I loved Ira Sleeps Over, Best Friends for Francis, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Miss Nelson is Missing, Strega Nona, George and Martha's, Mary-Alice Operator Number Nine, A Tree Full of Pigs. (Sorry that was a lot.) When I was older I loved Judy Blume & Beverly Cleary.

JDP: A list like that is pretty much what I’d expect from someone who grew up to be a book reviewer. ;-) Name a favorite author as an adult.

Mindy: My aunt is Dorothy M. Keddington, so I of course, love her. It's hard to pick a favorite, but here's a couple: Suzanne Collins, Michael Scott, Eion Colfer, Jessica Day George, Brandon Mull, JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer ... I could go on and on

JDP: Share a book you’ve read multiple times.

Mindy: All the Harry Potters, and Twilight Saga

JDP: Kindle, Nook, or good old hard copy?

Mindy: Hard copy all the way

JDP: (Ahhh, my kind of girl.) What’s your favorite place to read?

Mindy: My bed, or couch.  I have a handy porta-book stand that's great!

JDP: What are your three favorite reading genres.

Mindy: YA Fantasy, JF Fantasy, sci-fi

JDP: What’s the last book you read?

Mindy: Summer in Paris, by Michele Ashman Bell

JDP: What are you’re reading now?

Mindy: Star Prophecy, by Joan Sowards

JDP: What’s next on your reading list?

Mindy: I really want to re-read the Hunger Games (Suzanne Collinss), the seventh Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer),  and Key-Lime Pie (Josi Kilpack)

JDP: What you would like to read more of? (author, genre, etc)

Mindy: I just read whatever I want, when I want.

JDP: I like that reading policy! Share a favorite book that you’ve read in the last 12 months.

Mindy: Queen in Exile (Donna Hatch), The Help (Kathryn Stockett), A Town Like Alice (Nevil Shute)", Hunger Games Series (Suzanne Collins), The Stone Traveler (Kathi Oram Peterson)

More about Mindy! : I was born and raised in Salt Lake. I was married in my twentieth year (LOL), and have been married for almost 16 years. My husband is a Captain for Sandy and Bluffdale Fire. He works so hard to support his family. We love him so much. I have three gorgeous girls, 12, 9, and 6. I work for a pre-school a couple days a week, while my girls are at school. In my spare time I read, read, read. And, I squeeze the Wii in there too. I've always loved Fantasy and sci-fi. My favorite movies growing up were "Star Wars". To this day, I can still quote episodes IV, V, and VI. I'm sure that is where my love of fantasies came from. I made my family (with help from my friend), Jedi Cloaks for Halloween. I'm also a huge Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fan.  I also have a library obsession. I go a few times a week, scouting out books. I enjoy reading YA and JF so when my girls ask me to help them find a book, I'll know what to tell them. I also love, love, love Disneyland. There is no place like it. I cry when it's time to leave.

Our review website it  I've been with ldswbr (LDS Women's Book Review) for almost a year.  My first review was on my birthday in April. I've loved every minute of it, and the ladies I review with are priceless.  We review LDS fiction, but also include non-LDS fiction and non fiction.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Tuesday Teaser is a weekly bookish meme (rhymes with “cream"), hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. (I’ve borrowed it from LDS Women’s Book Review.) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share at least two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I'm adapting the rules slightly. I'll be quoting some random lines from the last chapter I read before I post a teaser. I'm a slow reader, so you may get multiple teasers per book. Here's my second teaser from Knight's Fee:

"Well then, Englishman or Breton or whatever you be, and what is it that you're wanting?"

"Apples," Randal said. "A handful of apples for my knight."

She let out a squawk of laughter and set down her pail. "Sa, sa, it is only a boy after all! How old is your knight?"

"Two years older than I am," Randal told her with dignity.

She flung up her hands. "Does Henry of Coutances fight his wars with children, then?"

From Knight's Fee, by Rosemary Sutcliff, p 239

If you'd like to share a teaser from a book you're currently reading, I'd love you to do so in the comment section. And you don't even have to share it on a Tuesday! Be sure to include the title, author, and page number in case others would like to check out the book you're reading, too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"The Lady and the Minstrel": Characters

So I've been sharing a character roster for my new/old WIP, The Lady and the Minstrel, over on Facebook over the last few days. For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, I thought I'd post the roster here, as well. Keep in mind that these were dashed off a bit slapdash style, as one tends to dash stuff off on Facebook, but the gist of each character is nevertheless here. These are not all the characters in The Lady and the Minstrel, of course, just the most pivotal ones. (What? You missed the post about my new/old WIP? Click here to catch up!)

Lady Marguerite Valette -- Betrothed against her will to the most powerful man in the kingdom. Will she submit tamely to her father's dictates for her future?

Terrick Kenlem, Earl of Strode -- The most powerful man in the court of King John. Does he bear a heart of ice or a heart of gold?

Rob Marcel -- A dashing minstrel. Who is he really and what secrets lie in his past?

Lord John Heywood -- Marguerite's late grandfather. Why has the inheritance he left her frightened away all men for her hand until now? (Okay, so he's not actually alive in this story, but he has an important part to play!)

Lord Christopher "Kit" Beckford -- Vassal to the Earl of Gunthar. Why is he so determined to crush a lowly minstrel?

Hugh de Bury, Earl of Gunthar -- Disgraced former counselor to King John. Can he regain his position at court in time to prevent a royal disaster?

Helen de Bury, Countess of Gunthar -- She married for love when the world stood against her. Forty years later, can she help Marguerite Valette do the same?

(My thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the drawing above)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Get to Know the Author: Tristi Pinkston

Today’s Get to Know You guest is author Tristi Pinkston.

JDP: Welcome, Tristi! Did your mother read to you as a child?

Tristi: I imagine she did, but I learned to read at such an early age that my first memories are of reading to myself. Those are some good, good memories.

JDP: Do you remember a favorite book from your childhood?

Tristi: My very favorites were Alice in Wonderland and Heidi. I must have read those two books a good eight times each.

JDP: Name a favorite author as an adult.

Tristi: This is a hard question.  Juliet Marillier, Ann Rinaldi, Leif Enger, Elizabeth Peters, Dee Henderson, Dodie Smith,Terri Blackstock … there are so many, I can’t even scratch the surface.  I love the classic children’s writers too – L. M. Montgomery, Gene Stratton-Porter. 

JDP: Share a book you’ve read multiple times.

Tristi: There are only a few books I’ve read over and over again because I like to find new things.  But Christy by Catherine Marshall is one I’ve read repeatedly, along with the Anne of Green Gables series, and of course, Alice in Wonderland and Heidi, which I’ve already mentioned.

JDP: Kindle, Nook, or good old hard copy?

Tristi: Hard copy all the way, baby!

JDP: I'm with ya there, baby! What’s your favorite place to read?

Tristi: Curled up in my bed, with my cozy blankies.

JDP: Oooo, me too! What are your three favorite reading genres.

Tristi: I enjoy cozy mysteries, LDS fiction, and general classics.

JDP: What’s the last book you read?

Tristi: The very last book I read was Lucky Change by Susan Law Corpany.

JDP: What are you reading now?

Tristi: The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards.

JDP: What’s next on your reading list?

Tristi: I do a lot of reviewing, so that pretty much dictates my list. Right now I’ve got a literary mystery on my nightstand, and I’ve agreed to review several more LDS fiction – that seems to be the bulk of my reading these days. It’s fun to see how the genre has expanded over the last ten years.

JDP: What you would like to read more of? (author, genre, etc)

Tristi: I don’t have a particular wish list, but I would like to see more books that are carefully constructed and aren’t just dashed off in a rush.

JDP: Share a favorite book that you’ve read in the last 12 months.

Tristi: One of my favorite reads lately has been The Rogue Shop by Michael Knudsen. I can also mention Trespass by Sandra Grey, Becoming Kate by Dixie Owens, and The Silence of God by Gale Sears. There have been a lot of good ones this year.
JDP: Thank you so much for joining us today, Tristi! 

More about Tristi: Tristi Pinkston is the author of six published books for the LDS market and is a favorite presenter at the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference. As a media reviewer, she reads constantly. You can learn more about her and read her reviews at

Books by Tristi Pinkston:

Nothing to Regret
Strength to Endure
Season of Sacrifice
Agent in Old Lace
Secret Sisters
Dearly Departed (NEW!)

 Summary of Dearly Departed

Ida Mae Babbitt has done her community service and is a reformed woman - no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae - with the perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle - checks herself into the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?