Get to know Abigail Reynolds

Join me this morning in getting to know fellow Austen Author, Abigail Renyolds.

 

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it? 

*  I started writing out of desperation in 2001 when I ran out of JAFF to read, which wasn’t that hard to do in 2001.

I didn’t intend to keep going after that one story, but the feedback was so positive I kept going.  As for what keeps me doing it, there are lots of reasons, the primary one being that it’s addictive.  I also love the interaction with readers.  There are days, though, when I really want to throw in the towel!

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them? 

*                  My very earliest efforts were when I was 13 years old, and while I still have them, nobody but me will ever read them!  Actually, when I looked back at them recently, I discovered they aren’t as bad as I thought.

What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in? 

*   I write Regency JAFF because that’s what I liked best when I started reading it.  My modern novels were more inspired by the setting on Cape Cod, which is a place I love dearly.

What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?  

*The best is when the words are flowing and the characters start heading off in unexpected directions.  It’s like something new has come to life.  The worst?  Finding the motivation to keep my butt in the chair writing.  Ignoring bad reviews is a close second.  ;)

If you write in multiple genres how do you make the switch from one to the other? Do you find it a welcome change, crazy-making or a little of both? 

*        It’s a welcome change when I switch from Regency to modern and back.  There’s much less research and guesswork with writing a modern, but the language is, oddly enough, much more difficult for me.  Modern writing needs to be very tight and concise, while Regency language is very forgiving of excessive verbiage.

Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way? 

*  I’m not sure I can pick any one thing.  Learning about premarital sex in the Regency was a shocker.  Another big one was when I researched beverages of the time, and discovered that when all the ladies were throwing back those glasses of ratafia, they were getting a serious alcohol hit.  It made me rethink a lot about the role of women in Regency society.

What do you to keep all your research information and plot ideas organized and accessible?

*  Anything I can!  I keep a list of story ideas on my computer, and I often jot notes about the current story at the beginning or end of the story itself.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten? 

*  Write quickly, edit later.  Otherwise my internal editor slows the writing pace to a crawl and the story loses life.

Tell us a little about your current project.

*   I’m working on a Pride & Prejudice variation with a few characters from other Austen books appearing in supporting roles.  It’s set at a country house party a month after Hunsford.  Darcy is still angry with Elizabeth, and he finds out that Henry Crawford has a substantial bet on whether he’ll be able to seduce Elizabeth by the end of the party.

What’s up next for you?

*  Another book in my modern Woods Hole series, this one starring Cassie’s younger brother Ryan, and I have plots for several other Regency set Pride & Prejudice variations cooking in my head.  I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all!

You can find Abigail on line:

Facebook

Twitter:  @abigailreynolds

Google+

You can get Mr. Darcy’s Refuge on

Amazon    B&N  Kobo

Get to know Linda Wells

 Happy Mother’s Day! Please help me welcome super mom, Linda Wells this morning.

Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?

I worked in the environmental engineering industry until I had a son who was born with severe developmental delays, and I needed to stay home and care for him. I found different ways to find some respite, but had not really read anything besides children’s books for twelve years.  I read the first Harry Potter book when I bought it for my nephew, and rediscovered the pleasure of escaping into a story.  When I saw the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film, I fell in love with Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal of Darcy, and returned to reading Jane Austen.  Eventually I discovered JAFF and became a voracious reader.  I began imagining my own story, and could hear and see the characters talking to me at the oddest moments.  My husband didn’t have a clue what I was doing scribbling in notebooks, and I couldn’t really explain it to him, but it felt so good to be focused on something like that.  When I only had twenty-five chapters written, I took the plunge and started posting.  I had discovered the challenging and creative outlet that I was searching for.

If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing career, what would be the most important scenes?

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for my nephew, catching by chance the end of Pride and Prejudice on HBO one day (and becoming obsessed), discovering JAFF, and finally, watching my hand shaking so badly when I posted my first chapter of Chance Encounters.

Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

My readers, the people who leave comments as I post my WIP stories.   There is never an outline, and the readers tell me where I’m doing well, where I’m screwing up, and ask endless questions that force me to think in directions I hadn’t considered.  The most important readers are the first ones, my betas who often tell me no.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

It’s my living room.  Imagine a big loveseat with reference books stuffed in the cushions, maps hanging over the back, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream at the ready, and a photo of Darcy nearby.  For inspirational purposes, of course.

What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?

My first effort was Chance Encounters, and I published it because I thought it would be neat to have a copy for my own.  There was a little box on the setup page that asked if I wanted to put it up for sale, and I checked it just for the heck of it.  The last thing creative thing I wrote before that was my senior paper at Penn State for Geography 404.  I got an A+ !!

What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in?

Pride and Predjudice is a Regency story!  Moving it into modern times is a challenge.

What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?

I love the brainstorming with my betas, and I love becoming lost in the research.  I dislike getting stuck and staring at a page, willing something to happen.  And I have a terrible time remembering character names!

Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way?

I try to include as many little fun facts as I can in the stories.  The one that made me say, “ewww” was learning about the chamber pot kept in a sideboard for the men to use after the ladies depart the dining room.

What do you do to keep all your research information and plot ideas organized and accessible?

I have lots of bookmarks in a file specific to each story on my computer, and make use of the notepad feature on my ipad when I’m not at home, for writing down dialogue that pops into my head.  Oh, and I have a very battered notebook that is always next to me.  I really do need to get a new one.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Write what you know, and let the characters lead the way.

What have been your most memorable experiences along the way?

Oh, I remember feeling absolute terror when I posted my very first time, and the amazing, wonderful reception the chapter received from the readers.  I remember being giddy and stunned when I sold 100 books (before kindle!) in one month.  And the best experience has been making so many friends, some who have become part of my daily life, all from that connection to Jane Austen.

Tell us a little about your current project.

I am posting my WIP Keeping Calm at AHA and AU.  It is a Pride and Prejudice variation set at the time of WWII in England.  Darcy and Elizabeth meet when she and the Gardiners come to visit Pemberley about seven weeks before the war begins.    It is such a rich time to explore.  The war is the backdrop, but I’m very interested in the home front and the loss of so many of the great estates during the years following the two world wars.

What’s up next for you?

After I finish Keeping Calm, I plan to return to Imperative and continue that story.  I’ve been asked to continue Memory, too, and there is a story I have begun called Perception.  I would love to try something that has nothing to do with JAFF!

You can find Linda online at:

My Amazon Author page:  amazon.com/author/lindawells

My Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/lindawellsbooknut

Twitter:  LindaWells  @booknut893

About Me:  http://about.me/LindaWells.

History A'la Carte 5-9-13

The fourth installment of the BBC series The Super Sizers go Regency, a light hearted look at Regency dining to enjoy with your  History a’la Carte. And please tell me what you think of the new format, too!

Regency Etiquette Series

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Get to know Mary Lydon Simenson

Please join me this morning in welcoming Mary Lydon Simenson.

What got you started as a writer?

An arthritic knee! I was waiting to have knee replacement surgery, and to fill in time, I started to write my first novel right after seeing the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

 What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

My first effort was a self-published novel that was bought by Sourcebooks and re-titled Searching for Pemberley. I’ve learned a lot since writing that book, but it’s pretty good for my first effort.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

 I share a home office with my husband, and we work back-to-back. There are days when we hardly talk, and others, when you would think we had just started dating! It’s a nice arrangement. He’s an excellent sounding board.

What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

The biggest challenge is definitely getting out that first draft. The story’s there. It’s just getting it out on paper. It’s very much like having a long and difficult labor.

What important lessons have you learned along the way?

 To thine own self be true. Advice is good, but in the end, it’s my story.

What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

Getting to know the JAFF community. I have friends all over the world, and I’ve even visited with a few of them. Lucky me!

 If you did this again what would you do differently?

 I would never again write a story in the first person as I did in Searching for Pemberley—too limiting.

What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten and why.

Every time I get a bad review, my husband tells me: remember why you write. I just really enjoy pulling together all the threads necessary to write a story.

Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

 When They Fall in Love is a story about second chances. There is a lapse of seven years from the time of Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth at Hunsford Parsonage, and in that time, life has changed them. It is the older and wiser Darcy and Elizabeth who meet in Florence. And who would not want to read a book about our favorite couple that is set against the background of Renaissance Florence.

What’s in store for your art in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

 I also write British mysteries, and my next book will be the third in the Patrick Shea mystery series. I am also kicking around the idea of writing a modern retelling of Persuasion set in Hawaii in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. I love writing historical fiction.

Thank you for having me, Maria. This was fun!

You can find Mary on line at:

Her blog

Facebook

When They Fall in Love: Available on Amazon Nook

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History A'la Carte 4-25-13

The third installment of the BBC series The Super Sizers go Regency, a light hearted look at Regency dining to enjoy with your  History a’la Carte. And please tell me what you think of the new format, too!

Regency Etiquette Series

 *~*~*~*~*~* General history*~*~*~*~*~*

  *~*~*~*~*~*Regency*~*~*~*~*~*

*~*~*~*~*~*1800*~*~*~*~*~*

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