I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read. Beatrix Potter, Clare Turlay Newberry, Marguerite Henry, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden—all are vividly remembered and still claim space on my overloaded bookshelves. I spent my adolescence with Georgette Heyer, who invented the Regency Romance, before discovering the real Regencies of Jane Austen.
Today, though I read historical fiction from many eras and have even written a contemporary novella (see Books to find out more), the Regency period is where my imagination leads me. Anna’s Refuge begins a series centered on a fictional town in the Yorkshire Dales called Wrackwater Bridge. Like the stand-alone Learning to Waltz, my debut, it revolves around family: the good and the bad, the love and the conflict. Lots of conflict.
I will never achieve Austen’s level, but our writing is similar in at least one respect. Our stories are small, intimate. You’ll find no warring armies, no sweeping sagas. It’s not the politics and international upheavals that inspire me but the “real life” of history. My goal is an authentic feel (without too much grisly detail) for how everyday people lived and loved, how the differences of their era made them different than we are today…yet how we are all the same. Then, as now, hearts met and touched, laughed and sang, ached and broke.
Love lies at the heart of all great stories. Love brings happy endings. And the world needs all the happy endings we can provide. I'm delighted to contribute a few.