Monday, August 25, 2014

Interview with Regency Romance Author Shirley Raye Redmond

Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of several sweet romance novels and dozens of children’s books. Many of her titles have won national and regional awards. She is a member of numerous writing organizations including American Christian Fiction Writer, Romance Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and SCBWI. She lives in New Mexico.

Welcome back to my blog, Shirley. I understand this book is “Jane Austen approved.” How awesome is that! Please tell us about Prudence Pursued.

At the advanced age of twenty-seven, Prudence Pentyre is on the shelf. Content to occupy her time by attending meetings of Mr. Wilberforce’s Abolition Society, Prudence is resolved to see that her younger cousin Margaret, shy and plain, does not share her own unmarried fate.

Despite her best efforts, all of Prudence’s matchmaking attempts fail. Margaret proves reluctant to accept Sir James Brownell’s marriage proposal, and fears being “bovinised” if she undergoes the controversial cowpox vaccination he recommends. And the dashing baronet—with his sunburned skin, eye patch, and unfashionable attire—seems more concerned about the plight of headhunters in Borneo than Margaret’s stubborn refusal of his offer.

Prudence, on the other hand, finds herself unexpectedly smitten with the man. Can she trust that God’s plan for her life is richer and more rewarding than the one she had planned for herself?

This book sounds like a fun story. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

A three-week trip to England with friends, where we visited Bath, Jane Austen’s home in Chatsworth, and other sites associated with the Regency period gave me an abundance of ideas. Also, I’d written a biography for kids about Edward Jenner for a write-for-hire publishing company, but they killed the project. I saved all my research, determined to one day share what I knew about smallpox during the Regency period. Jenner’s vaccination was quite controversial. Many people feared they would develop cowlike physical features if they underwent the procedure because the lymph used in the vaccine came from cowpox pus!

Amazing. Did you put real experiences from your research in this story?

Yes, the riots and public demonstrations in the story (poor Pru gets knocked in the head by a protestor!) actually took place in several towns and cities in England. And the Borneo adventures experienced by my hero Sir James Brownell were inspired by the real-life adventures of James, Charles, and Vyner Brooke, who were the real White Rajahs of Sarawak in Borneo—but during the Victorian times, not the Regency period. I took a bit of literary license with that.

Also, we tend to think of the Regency period as a polite, civilized time in history. Jane Austen’s novels are often called “comedies of manners.” And yet shortly prior to that period, William Wilberforce considered the age a decadent one and even founded the Society of the Reformation of Manners in 1787. My heroine Prudence is a member of the Society and heartily embraces Wilberforce’s reforms.

You love to write inspirational romances. What intrigues you most about writing these love stories?

I am intrigued by the who, what, where, when and how people fall in love through the ages.  No one falls in love in a vacuum. We think of romance and current events as two separate categories, but really, men and women all around the world fall in love in the midst of current events—during wartime and political upheavals, during smallpox epidemics and even while collecting fossils, which was hugely popular in England during this time period.

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Shirley. I hope my readers will check out your new book.

Thanks for having me, Linda. I love connecting with readers via my website at or through my author facebook page - a fun place for readers to visit at

Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview with Regency Romance Author Jeanna Ellsworth

When someone asks Jeanna what she does for a living, she asks them, “Are you asking about my day job or my night job?” Of course we all know she is as straight as can be, but she likes the shock factor of making them think she has clandestine employment at night. The truth is she is a neurological ICU nurse and works nights. Her day job for the last two years is split between being a mother of three daughters, running a mini farm on an acre lot, being a landlord, writing 6 novels, and marketing, editing and self-publishing the first three of her books (the others will follow). In the spare time that she does get, she makes valiant, yet not always successful, efforts to keep her house clean. She fully admits occasionally that one of these gets neglected, but she declines revealing which one.

Welcome to my blog, Jeanna. I love your bio. I understand you want to give more than one book away with this interview. Please tell us about it.

I am willing to give away each book including a pre-order copy of my third book, To Refine Like Silver. This is a chance to win the book before it is published and will be delivered as soon as it is released in November. So three chances to win!

Where did you get your inspiration for these books?

Although each of the first three books are inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, they each are totally separate books with entirely different plots. I surprise myself some days with where my inspiration comes from. Once it was a Walmart checker, another time it was my bishop sharing a spiritual thought, often it comes from “people watching” while I ride TRAX commuter train. Believe it or not, TRAX is where I do a lot of my best writing. It is amazing what a solid, uninterrupted hour commute to and from work three days a week can do for making progress in a book. To be honest, anything can inspire me, especially the people I am around, like my children. But I only started writing because I was introduced to the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) and Regency romances by my sister, KaraLynne Mackrory, who is a published author as well. I admit I became an addict and now read everything I can get my hands on. In my most recent writing project, Inspired By Grace, I step away from fan fiction and Austen’s books. It is an original Regency romance that has all new characters and plot. It is challenging, but so far, Inspired By Grace is looking like it will be a very intriguing book. I have to admit, for the first time in two and a half years, I feel like I am cheating on Mr. Darcy because I have already fallen in love with Gavin, the hero of Inspired by Grace.

What is Mr. Darcy's Promise about?

This was my very first book I wrote and was published on Amazon in July 2013. This is a forced marriage scenario where Mr. Darcy is accused by Elizabeth’s father of compromising her, when in fact, he was rescuing her from the sinister Wickham. Elizabeth always wanted to marry for love, and is distraught in the carriage on their way to Darcy’s London house after the wedding. With great compassion, Darcy tries to figure out why she is so emotional and like many men, they assume wrongly instead of just asking outright. He assumes she is worried over the wedding night, like any maiden would, so Mr. Darcy makes her a promise on his gentleman’s honor, that physical intimacy will only come when she desires it. That promise proves nearly impossible to keep, and as Elizabeth falls in love with him, it becomes rather vexing to Elizabeth.

Please tell us about Pride and Persistence.

This is the second book I wrote and was published on Amazon in March this year. Some of the character traits that we love about Jane Austen’s original Mr. Darcy is that his emotions are tightly controlled which is perceived as being prideful, yet feels deep passion for Elizabeth. Her refusal motivated him to look inside himself and evaluate the kind of man he is. He only won her hand because he was willing to admit his defects and introspect to show more of the man that Elizabeth could love.

But what if he had a temporary brain injury that made him irrational and emotional, yet at the same time, obsessive about the fact that he wanted to marry Elizabeth? What if his head injury made it so that he could not remember that he already proposed and was refused? How many proposals does it take for Elizabeth to see that she loves Darcy and to finally accept his proposals? What you end up with is a romantic comedy that could easily be described as Pride and Prejudice meets 50 First Dates (the 2004 movie with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler). Who could not laugh at a man who is so persistent in his pursuit to win Elizabeth’s hand that he proposes over and over again only to forget the next day that he was refused? Like all good romances, they eventually find their happily ever after but not until they both learn the value of persistence.

Do you feel you kept the true character of Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth?

For the most part, yes, but I did make a few changes that I think added to the fun of each book. In Mr. Darcy’s Promise, Elizabeth is a little out of her element, since she was forced to marry Darcy and tends towards a sensitive and emotional woman rather than impertinent or witty, but she is also more human and real and therefore loveable. In Pride and Persistence, I enjoyed making my least favorite character, Mr. Collins, totally repulsive, more so than Jane Austen did. In To Refine Like Silver, due to be published in November, I had to ask myself why Elizabeth was such a strong, confident woman in the original Pride and Prejudice. I believe that any woman in any era that is strong and confident is only that way because they have endured and put one foot in front of the other, no matter what the obstacles in their life. (Rosa Parks, Helen Keller etc.) So in To Refine Like Silver, I gave Elizabeth a few good reasons to have earned her confidence and strength. I gave her a history that Austen never did. I think in doing so, it made Elizabeth even more of a strong female lead. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. It is my favorite book I have written.

I also have gotten a lot of feedback that all my Darcys are just so lovable. I have a hard time writing him as harsh and prideful and cruel to Elizabeth at the beginning and then have him warp into a lovable guy like I have seen many authors do. I admit I don’t know any other way to write about a man I already love but to make him lovable right from the beginning!

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Some things that you will never catch me doing is reading the newspaper, listening to the news or watching TV sitcoms unless it is one of three shows that I DVR, and even then I force myself to sit and watch them in order to have “mommy-daughter time” with my three daughters. I do like watching movies, but I adore reading and would choose it any day. It is not unheard of to read 2 books a day when I am in “research mode” preparing for the next book I am writing. (Definition of “research mode”: I read everything I delayed reading while writing and I get caught up on my to-be-read list as if I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet to get fresh ideas and get immersed in the genre I am about to write.) I also am a frequent flier at a Thai restaurant here in Utah, so much so that when I call in a to-go order, they ask me if I am getting the usual. Yup. Love Thai food and I keep them in business.

Thanks Jeanna, for this fun interview. I hope Jane Austen fan fiction lovers will enjoy these stories set in a time long ago.