Five Authors. Five Romances. One Unforgettable Party.
I am excited to be doing another interview with one of the incredible authors behind the Regency House Party (RHP). It’s my privilege to interview Sara Cardon and share an up-and-coming author with my readership. If you love Regency, if you love stories where the romance is sweet and clean, then the books in this series are for you.
As a quick recap, the Regency House Party started as a weekly serial event taking place across social media platforms. Five talented romance authors worked together to tell love stories set in the beautiful English countryside. They built a good, strong fan base as they took turns posting chapters about their wonderful characters.
After the stories came to an end, these five authors went to work turning the online content into novellas, now available for order and pre-order on Amazon.
Sara Cardon participated in this event and her story, The Stable Master’s Daughter, will be available on September 25, 2018. I’m really looking forward to grabbing my ebook copy, but if you can’t wait, the paperback is available now!
Sara, what did you think about the idea for RHP when it was presented to you? Were you excited to work with other authors to create this Regency world?
I thought it was a totally cool idea. It was fun to brainstorm characters, setting, and possibilities. We swapped all kinds of ideas and jokes. We had an inkling it might be something great, but we kept saying, “If we have 25 engaged readers, we’ll count this a success!” It’s incredible to see how it came together!
What about the Regency era appeals to you?
There are a lot of contradictions to play with within this time frame. The manners are beautiful, but could be stifling. Britain was at war with France, but the upper class went on with high living. I love the contrasts.
Your story is called The Stable Master’s Daughter. That’s an unusual sort of person to be at a proper house party.
It’s completely crazy to have a person born into the working class among the elite. Marjorie knows it too. The invitation comes from the Countess, who is acquainted with Marjorie’s well-to-do aunt. Marjorie doesn’t usually brush shoulders with such an elite group, but the Countess thinks outside the box and is a scheming matchmaker.
What can you tell us about your heroine, Marjorie? What’s something you love about her?
Marjorie is whimsical, gracious, and resilient. She pours her heart into her art. She believes the lie that her worth is diminished because of her birth. At the house party, she confronts her beliefs, battles to align dreams with reality, and of course, falls in love with the wrong brother.
What about your hero? Miles is described as a man of “unyielding” principles. What sort of principles is he fighting to maintain?
Miles has things pretty well figured out—for himself and everyone he cares about. He has a template for life and rejects everything that doesn’t match up, making him quite judgmental. He believes to his core in being a gentleman. When Marjorie touches a place in his heart no one else has, he wrestles with what society wants and what he wants. He reexamines what being a true gentleman means.
I asked Jen what one of her favorite “extras” in the series was. What’s something “extra” you enjoyed while y’all were putting this series together?
The “extra” for me would have to be Thomas Webb. I have a love/hate relationship with him, since his part in the story came about out of necessity. One of the pitfalls of trying to incorporate other authors’ characters into my story is when I use them in a way someone doesn’t agree with, because it affects their story. I had a gaping hole where a bad boy character was removed. Jen offered one of her sweet brothers for the role, but I couldn’t do that. I also didn’t want a placeholder or a cardboard character to fill the role. So I felt as aggravated with creating Mr. Webb as the Countess probably was with having him show up at her house party, uninvited. Webb ended up being an interesting character and a great addition. It stretched me.
What are your future writing plans? Any more books in the works?
I have a couple books I’m working on. I have a captain in the British Royal Navy trying to woo a jilted woman. I just finished some research into the Napoleonic Wars and the details will bring it into sharp focus. And of course, I have a zillion other book ideas because creating is fun.
As a romance author, I take it you’re a romance reader too.
I’m a huge reader. About ten years ago, all I read was nonfiction and literary fiction. I was always drawn to a romance subplot, if there was one. The summer I discovered clean and sweet romances was the best summer of my life!
What is one of your favorite romances you would love people to discover?
Elizabeth Camden’s Against the Tide is a favorite. I love Kathleen Baldwin’s School for Unusual Girls series. Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Kasie West—there are so many great authors, and new authors I’m discovering all the time! I especially love authors who write smart women and good men—that’s what inspires me.
Thank you so much for your time, Sara! Links to the Regency House Party sites and books by all five authors are listed below. Check out these fabulous stories and make sure you follow the Regency House Party accounts for deals on their books and other great Regency reads!
Originally Published on December 5, 2017 on WordPress.
Hanging out on one of my favorite Facebook groups the other day, I read a plea for help. It went something like this:
I am a terrible author because I never have the time to write. I’m raising small humans and have a lot of other responsibilities. I want to write. But I haven’t published in forever and I will take at least a year or two or three or six to finish my current work in progress. Should I just give up and admit I will never be good enough? That I am not serious enough?
As you can imagine, the responses to this kind of question run the gamut from kindly sympathetic to abrasively rude. (Hint: rudeness never helps anyone.)
“Go easy on yourself,” said the kind people. “We all go through this!
“Write or don’t. Stop crying about it,” said the cynical.
I’ve been where that original poster is/was, and I had people heap both sorts of advice onto my head. But the best advice I ever got was in the form of a question.
“Why does writing matter to you?”
This is a huge question. It’s really the question every writer should pose to themselves during one of those long dark tea-times of the soul.
Are you driven by sugar-plum fairies to jot down witty tales? Is it therapeutic? An escape? Do you need a source of extra income? (Don’t laugh, some authors make it big.)
Determine why you write. Because when you hit that wall, you’re going to need to know the answer.“What do you mean, a wall?”
I mean when you come up against a very solid reason to give up writing, you need to know why you’ve got to go up and over that reason.
Your reason-to-stop-actively-writing might not even be a bad thing. There can be good reasons to step back. Like you get an amazing job with amazing pay and it fulfills you, or you get a new family member (spouse, child, pet) who needs all your time. Maybe you find another creative outlet (painting, blogging, scrap-booking), or you win the lottery and have to spend all that cash!
There are sad and serious reasons, too. Death of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a relationship, poor health, or having absolutely no time to breathe, let alone write.
These are the walls. You may run into many. But what is going to get you up and over them?
Ask yourself why you write. Now, write down the answer. Explain the answer the way you would explain it to your best friend, your mom, and a stranger on the bus.
Write it again. Write it using the most beautiful words you know. Or the simplest.
Is it real, your reason? When you read it to yourself, does it resonate?
Good. Now put it somewhere you can see it. Make a snazzy graphic and set is as the background on your phone/tablet/computer screen. Tape it to your mirror/fridge/lamp. Read it every time you stand in front of it. Make it your mantra.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a single sentence or a paragraph, it might not be profound, or it might sound generic. Doesn’t. Matter. It’s your reason. Own it.
I’ll share my reason with you. I don’t even care if you laugh.
I write because I’ve told myself stories since childhood and I want those stories to be accessible to the people I love. I write because the stories have always been there. I write because I know my stories bring me happiness and I want to share that feeling with as many people as I can. I write because I love to create with words.
Whatever your reason, it’s a good one. Love or money. (Or why not both?)
Confession Time: My Wall
My latest wall was my pregnancy and the first year of life of a tiny human being. All the joy of writing left during my pregnancy. I joked that the baby was using up all my creativity. But I secretly worried I would never find the desire to write again.
That was the indication that this wall would not stretch before me forever. I worried that part of myself was gone. I was concerned. I cared.
I remembered my reasons for writing. It took me nine months of pregnancy and twelve months of caring for a tiny person, and the rest of my family. That’s 21 months lacking the desire to write.
But it came back as a flood of ideas, hope, and energy. I didn’t even DO anything to get it back. It was just there, suddenly, and I knew I was ready to write again.
But that was a long dry spell. A long time staring at a wall.
There were other things going on in my life, needing attention, care, and love.
There are seasons to our lives.
“Write or don’t,” is the most ridiculous thing you can say to someone staring at that wall.
Why do you write? If your reason matters to you, it’s a good reason, and you will be back. The wall will come down, or you will climb over, or perhaps blow it up. But if you want to write, you will. Eventually.
Give it time. Plowing into that wall is only going to hurt you. Sit. Think. Wait. Study. Take care of what needs your attention. You’ll get that tingly feeling in your finger-tips again, when the time is right. And remember the wise words of a man who didn’t make it big in life, but loved what he did:
I have some interesting information for people who wonder about what goes on behind the writing scenes.
When writers submit work for traditional publication, or to editors, or exchange manuscripts among themselves for opinions, we let people know how long our books are by sharing the number of words in the manuscript. We do this because page count varies depending on what your settings are in your word processor.
My novella, Martha's Patience, is just under 20,000 words. Super short. Romance books cannot be considered novels unless they have more the 40,000 words.
The Social Tutor: 67,000 words
The Gentleman Physician: 65,000 words
His Bluestocking Bride: 76,000 words
The Earl and His Lady: 81,000 words
There's a definite trend going on here. :-) Because I just passed 80,000 words on my current work in progress and I still have a few more scenes to go!
For a little contrast, War and Peace is over 580,000 words long. Pride and Prejudice is just over 122,000 words long. :-)
Name inspiration comes from crazy places, and I find names I love EVERYWHERE. I actually have a spreadsheet with something like 200 first and last names from the Regency period. I've used that list a lot for characters. But sometimes, a name just falls out of the sky...
Or at least falls open in your lap.
My family loves used books. I recently found all the Lemony Snicket books for my oldest daughter to read. While paging through a used copy of The Carnivorous Carnival, I happened to look at the front page. There, in sweet little boy handwriting, was the most perfect name for a Regency hero...
I knew at once I must use it. I messaged my critique partners with the name. They all agreed it was perfect, but for WHO? One of them even threatened to steal the name of I didn't use it soon! (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Joanna!)
Then I started thinking about Rebecca Devon and her love story. Who would be perfect for Rebecca? What sort of man would fall for her?
Of course, it would be Christian Hundley, Lord Easton. A viscount. And suddenly, he burst into my mind. :-) I think everyone is going to love him!
What are some of the best names you've heard? What names would you use in a novel?
My most recent novel, The Earl and His Lady, features a hero who has been on my mind for a long time. I actually started working on a story about the earl, Lucas Calvert, four years ago.
Lucas has existed in my head for FOUR years. It took me a long time to get his story right. I always tell the stories to myself, mentally, over and over again until I'm ready to write them. I think about the characters, imagine their life story, then I put them into different situations again and again until something clicks.
Because this is my somewhat-unorthodox planning method, I often create and discard several plot lines and characters before I get it right.
I didn't know who Lucas was supposed to fall in love with until last November. He's been on and off my mind, in and out of plots, mentally interacting with all my other characters like a guest at a wedding reception.
After readers finished my first novel, The Social Tutor, several people guessed that Julia Devon would wind up with Lucas.
She came darn close to being the lady for him. So. Very. Close. Julia was a very natural fit because for so long she was going to discover new love at Lucas's side. That was the story I kept telling myself, anyway.
But then my imagination introduced me to Virginia, a young widow with two sons, in desperate need of rescuing.
TWO stories quickly evolved from there - The Gentleman Physician and The Earl and His Lady. They practically wrote themselves after that. :-)
Not really. There was some hard work involved. But I'll share more about that soon.
I write clean and sweet Historical Romance Novels, I live in the desert, I'm a mom of four, madly in love with my husband, and I love to read!
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Sally Britton's books on Goodreads
His Bluestocking Bride (Branches of Love #3)
ratings: 1062 (avg rating 4.21)
The Earl and His Lady (Branches of Love #4)
ratings: 1008 (avg rating 4.36)
The Gentleman Physician (Branches of Love #2)
ratings: 680 (avg rating 4.20)
The Social Tutor (Branches of Love #1)
ratings: 656 (avg rating 4.11)
Miss Devon's Choice (Branches of Love #5)
ratings: 517 (avg rating 4.45)