I have been writing stories ever since I was a little girl, and I have been fascinated by the Regency ever since my schooldays. To me, it's a period suspended in time - the people close enough for us to identify with their emotions, hopes and fears, but far enough away to inhabit a long-gone world of coaches, candles and country estates. My teens were spent in devouring shelves full of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and in later life I have spent many happy years in researching the history of the time. Of course, nowadays we have the benefit of the amazing resources provided by the internet but I still have lever-arch files full of useful snippets - from the weather in 1811 to etiquette at dinner - as testimony to the work I did in the 1970s and 80s before the web came to life.
My first novel, 'Curricle and Chaise', is an out and out 'traditional' Regency romance. Set right at the start of the Regency it is full of sunshine and laughter, countryside and sea - a gentle novel which appeals to discerning readers who are interested in period detail and credible characters rather than rollicking adventure. My second, 'The Girl from Red Lion Square' is set a little later, in Regency London, and contains plenty of romance and humour as well as introducing the more serious edge which all my later novels seem to have acquired. I have since written a 'prequel' to 'The Girl from Red Lion Square' which is called 'Mr Forster's Fortune'. Although another 'traditional' and gentle Regency romance it is a novel with some depth which I am hoping the discerning reader will enjoy. The third and final 'Lord Barnham' story - Mr Halliwell's Mission - which revisits the main characters from 'Red Lion Square' at the very end of the Regency, completes what has now evolved into a thoroughly romantic trilogy.
The next novel, 'The Body on the Beach' is altogether different and I'm still not quite sure myself exactly where it came from! If the earlier novels make more than passing nods to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, this third one is perhaps more reminiscent of Emily Bronte or Thomas Hardy. Perhaps it's because I was born in Yorkshire and now live in Weymouth, and I have taken inspiration from both. But once I'd identified the setting, the characters appeared from nowhere and immediately took on a life of their own. This is a novel which the characters wrote themselves and I can claim very little credit for it. I hope you fall in love with Andrew as much as I have done!
'The Body on the Beach' captivated me so much that I immediately set about writing a sequel to it - 'An Indelicate Situation'. This turned out to be a more 'traditional' Regency romance and this time it was Freddy who really stole my heart - so much so that I had to catch up with him yet again to make the two 'Weymouth' novels into a trilogy, finishing with 'A Devilishly Difficult Decision'. Each one still operates as a stand-alone novel, but I have also put the three together into one volume - 'The Weymouth Trilogy' - which I hope you will appreciate.
Many 'Regency' novels concern only the tiny percentage of people at the very top of the social hierarchy, but, to me, it is the ordinary people - the servants, villagers, sailors and shopkeepers leading sometimes hard and often very much more limited lives than their wealthy compatriots - who are much the more intriguing. My interest in servants and their place in society led me to look into this aspect of Georgian life in more detail and resulted in the novel which I have called 'Not quite a gentleman: A rural Regency romance'. I found the research for this novel to be totally fascinating, and I intend to re-visit the poorer folk at some time in the future.
Before returning to servants, though, I felt inspired by the Bill Withers' song called 'Hello like before' - and felt impelled to write a novel in which a lady's past comes back to haunt her... but with something of a twist. In most of my novels I have rapidly found the characters taking over, and writing the storylines themselves. They regularly refuse to behave in the ways I expect of them - and - most provokingly - generally re-write the entire storyline for me. Oddly, though, this time it was the actual novel itself which took over - and, for some reason best known to itself - refused to be written in prose. So, if ever you come to read 'Sovereigns' Summer' you will find a 90,000 word narrative poem which took an absolute age to complete - and drove me to the brink of despair! In fact, I was planning to release it in time for Easter 2014 (the novel is set in 1814, after all) and it wasn't completed until Easter 2015. Hmm! Luckily, though, the next time the characters were firmly back in charge! This time the novel was called 'A Dashing Sort of a Blade' - a much more 'traditional' Regency romance which those of you who liked 'Curricle and Chaise' and 'Mr Forster's Fortune' will undoubtedly enjoy.
Finally, I would like to say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who has taken the trouble to download my novels so far, and especially to those of you who have provided such delightful reviews. I always upload each one in some trepidation, as - in common with many authors - I see my novels as my children and I feel most protective of them! It is quite a relief (as well as hugely rewarding) to find that that most of you are enjoying them as much as I would have hoped. You have made my debut into publishing a very exciting and rewarding one for me, and it is the thought that my books bring pleasure to a number of very nice people throughout the world that keeps me motivated to keep on writing more. Thank you very much.