As a very shy child, I used to disappear into books for hours on end. My love of history developed throughout school and when I left I started working in a library – a perfect job! I was introduced to so many new authors, one of which was Georgette Heyer. It was almost like I had found my happy place. Then I found Jane Austen and the rest was history as they say. It did have a gap of about thirty years though as career and family life don’t necessarily allow for creativeness to develop, but then a sudden change enabled a change in direction and I grabbed it.
I’ve now written over thirty Regency Romances. I love the manners, the clothing and just the way it was the start of life as we know it today, the start of the industrial revolution, the move to towns and development of our cities. There is a lot which was not so pleasant about Regency life, but no time in history is perfect.
I am lucky to have visited some of the locations in which I set my stories. My favourite city is Bath, I can just spend hours walking around and though it is busy with tourists, all you need to do is look at the buildings and you are there, Regency England at its finest. The Pump Room is wonderful to have a meal in and listen to the musicians and imagine that Jane Austen walked over the same floor and down the same streets and she would have recognised the Bath we see today. It really does bring history to life being there.
The Jane Austen Festival is held in Bath every September and I attended for ten years. This woman, who could not sew has made gowns, reticules, frock coats, breeches and shirts! They might not fit perfectly, but after making them I could really appreciate the work which went into the clothing. My very first gown was hand sewn because my very old sewing machine died. That was an experience! Walking through the streets of Bath on the promenade along with over five hundred other people dressed in their Regency finery is something very special.
There is also a Regency week in Alton, which I think grasps the atmosphere of the final part of Jane Austen’s life perfectly and is a great alternative to a busy city visit.
When I started to write in earnest, I obviously chose the Regency period. Submitting to a few agents and publishers, I was told there was no market for Regency stories anymore. I had heard of Kindle and independently-publishing and decided to give it a try. It was the best thing I have ever done. Readers love Regency Romance!
In 2018, I was shortlisted for the Amazon Kindle Storyteller award, a Regency Romance in an all-genre competition! The award ceremony was wonderful and I was completely overdressed – I thought if I am going to an awards ceremony, I am dressing the part! I didn’t win, but it really helped to cement that I had done the right thing in 2011 by taking a risk and putting my work out there. It isn’t all plain sailing though, my first one star review compared my intelligence to a cucumber!
I love the research. I have attended a fashion museum and was able to touch genuine Regency gowns they held there. They were tiny! I think my leg is bigger than some of their waists! It showed how they used scraps of fabric to finish dresses off, material was so expensive they couldn’t waste any.
As one who has felt on the edges of society many times, I love writing about heroes and heroines who don’t necessarily fit into the mould of what society expects, giving them a happy ever after they deserve. The Lonely Lord is loosely based on my husband and how poor he is in social situations. I don’t usually write about real people, except for one friend, Lou, who kept saying that she wanted to be a highwayman. Which writer could refuse a request like that? Lady Lou the Highwayman was created!
One idea for a trilogy came from my husband’s ancestors. In the family history there was a story about his great-grandmother travelling over to the US to be a housekeeper for her brother and on the way falling in love with the captain of the ship. I was asked to research the story and when I did I could not help but put this wonderful story on paper. I felt the weight of responsibility writing this trilogy, but I am pleased with the results and the family are still speaking to me!
I feel very lucky being able to write the stories that readers enjoy. Yes, I am still that shy person underneath, but get me started on the Regency or publishing books and I will chatter all day! If you want to connect, please do get in touch, follow me on any of the social media platforms you like and if you sign-up to my email alerts you receive a free novella. I only send emails out when I have something to say, I don’t like bombarding readers!
Thanks for having me and I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse in my writing world. Best wishes, Audrey
Audrey is an Amazon storyteller finalist. She lives in the North West of England (a Lancashire Lass) and is of the opinion that she was born about two hundred years too late.
In the real world she has always longed to write, writing a full manuscript when she was fourteen years old. Work, marriage and children got in the way as they do and only when an event at work landed her in hospital she decided to take stock. One Voluntary Redundancy later, she found that the words and characters came to the forefront and the writing began in earnest.
So, although home more these days, the housework is still neglected and meals are still late, but luckily she has an understanding family. A good thing when she drags them to some other fine example of Regency England, or another bookshop, all in the name of research of course!
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Award-winning author Rebecca D’Harlingue writes about seventeenth-century women forging a different path. Her debut novel, The Lines Between Us, won an Independent Press Award and a CIBA Chaucer Award. Her next novel, The Map Colorist, comes out in September, 2023.