As seen in the April issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview!
Delighted to be here, Uncaged Book Reviews! Thank you so much for welcoming me aboard. It’s a pleasure to sail with you! 🙂
Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about The Regent Revenge Series? How did being a military wife inspire you to write historicals?
Starting off easy, I see! Happy to oblige. I adore the series Poldark and have been fascinated by the Cornish coast for as long as I can remember. So I asked myself, what would happen if I combined various elements of Poldark with Robin Hood and The Princess Bride? Almost immediately, I came up with my Regent’s Revenge Series, featuring noblemen who take turns portraying the Black Regent (a tongue-in-cheek play on words based on the Prince Regent). These disenfranchised men don a pirate mask, for various reasons of their own, and rob the rich to help the poor along the Cornish Coast. The first three books feature Tobias, the Duke of Blackmoor; Basil, the Earl of Markwick; and Captain Pierce Walsingham.
In response to the second part of your question, I’ve been inspired to write historicals because I’ve lived on military bases around the world as the daughter of an Army Sergeant and the wife of a Lieutenant Colonel, a lifestyle that emphasized core basics of duty, honor, and country. As a child, I read Valley Forge, chronicling Washington’s winter campaign. For the first time as a reader, I felt hungry, cold, and the same despair as those freezing men. The effect was so real to my imagination that I knew I wanted to immerse myself in history and do the same with fiction.
Uncaged: How many books are you planning for the series? Can you tell us what is coming next?
Originally I had only planned for three books in the series: The Pirate’s Duchess, The Pirate’s Debt, and The Pirate’s Duty. Then I’d planned to lead into another three-book series based on the Seaton brothers from my Nelson’s Tea Series (there are six, and one brother is the hero from The Rogue’s Surrender). As the Seatons started appearing in the Regent’s Revenge books, however, all hell broke loose—as it always does when they show up. Now one of them has decided he’s the next Black Regent! ACK!!! What’s a writer to do, eh?
But until I can write James Seaton’s book, I’m relaunching my Nelson’s Tea Series. I got the rights back to my books last year and have been steadily re-writing and re-editing the series for Indie distribution. The primary reason being that the series is complete and I now have the opportunity to go back into the books and layer in more detail. (Hindsight is 20/20 after all.) It’s a great opportunity I couldn’t pass up since I can update the books and improve on them. The first book, My Lord Rogue, released February 6th. The second book, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night releases April 24th and is up for preorder now. The rest of the books, The Rogue’s Prize, My Lady Rogue, and The Rogue’s Surrender, will be released about two months apart throughout 2018. I’m super jazzed that we live in a day and time that I can refresh the stories and make them available to readers again!
Uncaged: You’ve attended conventions in the past, do you have any coming up this year you can tell us about?
April 13-15, 2018, I’ll be at the Biltmore Titanic Costume Exhibition and Author/Reader Retreat, Asheville, NC. We’ll be taking a private tour of the historic Biltmore Estate, a 250 room French Renaissance chateau built by George Vanderbilt in 1889. We’ll also be attending a 1912 Titanic Tea in period costume. Huzzah! http://www.biltmore.com/
June 8-9, 2018, I’ll be at the Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa, AL.
September 12-16, 2018, I’ll be one of 35 authors at the Historical Romance Retreat at the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside, CA. The Mission Inn began as a boarding house in 1876 and has since hosted film stars, explorers, writers, and politicians for more than 100 years. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, don’t hesitate. Highly recommended for historical romance readers everywhere!
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
I’ve been told not to read my reviews, but I often do. I want to know how my books resonate with readers. Reviews are also a great way to discover what works and what doesn’t in my stories. In fact, I’ve taken a lot of positive feedback about my Nelson’s Tea Series and have made certain adjustments to the stories as I relaunch them.
Uncaged: As a historical writer, you already have quite a bit of research to do, and then you’ve added that extra layer of writing about pirates and ships. How much research goes into each novel?
Ooh! *Smacks hands together with glee!* I LOVE, love, love to research historical sources! Of course, there’s always that chance of making an embarrassing mistake. No one is perfect, eh? Key, I think, is to focus on storytelling. If you get that right, readers will believe almost any element you add to a story. However, I do my best to research what I can. Going back to reviews for one moment here. I’ve had some scathing reviews that attacked my research. In those cases, I’ll often recheck. If I discover I’m wrong; I’ll fix it. The great thing about being an Indie author is you CAN fix things at any time. I enjoy that type of control over my books. Again, no one is perfect. No matter how much you research, someone out there may know more than you do. Humbly, I try to remember that. 🙂
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
There are so many! Of course, the best comments come from readers who love the story as much as I do. But the best thing anyone has ever said about my books would be that a particular reader believed they were there, in that time and place, with those characters. I try very hard to create a story realm where history and fiction meld into one and so this wonderful accolade boosts my morale like no other. 🙂
Uncaged: What is your favorite part about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?
It goes without saying that my FAVorite part of being an author is being visited by characters who want their stories told, and then writing their stories and bringing them to life. Alongside that, I would add that meeting readers, hearing from them, and meeting each one has been wonderfully uplifting when I leave my writing cave.
My least FAVorite thing would be how much time it takes to write a book, the agony vs. the ecstasy and digging my way out of edits. I often wish I could sneeze and my books would be ready for readers to read. That would be quite messy, wouldn’t it? LOL! On the plus side, I know I wouldn’t be who I am without taking this journey with my characters. I’ve learned a lot about never giving up, and I’m much stronger for it, which brings me to the one quote I rely on most during troubling times: “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” ~ Winston Churchill
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Excellent question! Well, simply put, when I’m not writing, I’m researching. LOL! (My rogue tells me I need to get rid of some books as my bookcases are overflowing.) In my spare time, I’ll do things with my family, garden, knit, and read. Lately, my obsession is our darling seven-week old granddaughter!
Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book?
Wow! Those are hard questions. I would have to say it depends on the nature of the book. Some are easy to start. Some are effortless to write, period. Others… well, let’s just say the struggle is realz. LOL! But if I had to narrow the process down, I’d say the middle of the book is the hardest segment of a book to write. Beginnings are like springtime; everything is new. Endings are like winter, closing up threads and giving the characters their Merry Christmas (HEA). But the middle of a book can be a pistol. If that is the case, I venture forward by asking myself, “What’s the worst that can happen now?”
How long does it take to complete a book? The longer I write, the faster it seems I can finish a book. But that also depends on my schedule, deadlines, etc., and personal life. Some books are harder to complete than others, whether that is the storyline, character arcs, or GMC (Goal, Motivation, or Conflict). I’ve had debilitating neck problems for the past seven years and two neck surgeries to correct them during that time. Last March, I started having neck pain again. Due to my deadlines, I put off going to the doctor. When I did go, I went through eight weeks of physical therapy and three steroid injections to control the pain. It wasn’t until this February that my characters finally started speaking to me again. (Horrors!) It’s been a frustrating road to walk, but in that amount of time, I put out two books and relaunched one, with the next one to come in April. On average I can write a 260/360-page book in two to four months, but then it has to go through two months of editing rounds before its ready for publication.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
Ahoy, me hearties!!! Sail away with me on a great escape into days of yesteryear. There, you will find swashbuckling heroes who fight for duty, honor, and country and the heroines who long for independence and a means of obtaining it. My books are filled with action and adventure (seafaring rogues and spies), mayhem (sea battles and daring escapes), romance (sensual tension), and the happily ever afters everyone deserves.