Following on from my interview with Regina Jeffers, here’s another historical fiction author for you to meet! Ladies and gentlemen, I present the lovely Maria Grace.
1) Explain why the Regency period is important and tell us why we should want to read about it.
The Regency is an interesting era. Technically it lasted only about 9 years, with the Regency of George IV. Many consider a wider period, from 1788-1830, the Regency era because it represents a relatively cohesive period in history. In France, the period was known as ‘Empire’ and in America, the ‘Federal’ era.
The period bridged the gap between the slow paced, non-industrialized 18th century and the industrial revolution of the 19th century. It was a time of rapid social change and contrasts, which make it fascinating to read and write about.
2) Who is your favourite Regency personality?
Sir John Fielding (1721-1780) actually died just before the start of the Regency era, but he is one of the most fascinating personalities of the 18th century to me. He was an English magistrate and social reformer of the 18th century. He was also the younger half-brother of novelist, playwright and chief magistrate Henry Fielding. Though blinded in a navy accident at the age of 19, John set up his own business and, in his spare time, studied law with Henry. He became his brother’s assistant in 1750 and was instrumental in the formation of the first police force, the Bow Street Runners. He also established the basis for the first police criminal records department. He was active in crime prevention and youth employment and assisted in the foundation of the Asylum for Orphan Girls. His life helped inspired one of the main characters in my next novel.
3) Share a quirky fact from your research?
In Regency England, shaking hands was considered rather intimate. You did not shake hands with an acquaintance, only with people you were close to and ladies did not shake hands with men unless they were engaged or close to being so. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this early enough on and I ended up needing to do a fair amount of rewriting because of it.
4) One of historical romance’s hardest questions: Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer?
Jane Austen without a doubt. I love her social commentary.
5) Tell us about All the Appearance of Goodness
I just released All the Appearance of Goodness, part three of the Given Good Principles series. It is a Jane Austen inspired piece that explores how the events of Pride and Prejudice might have been different had Darcy and Elizabeth been able to follow the ‘good principles’ they had been given. They meet each other with considerably less pride and prejudice, but other challenges test their principles along the way.
6) What will you be working on next?
The real question is which one? I have 6 works in progress right now. I have another Austenesque piece finished and waiting for final edits. This is the piece I mentioned earlier with the character inspired by John Fielding.
One more Austenesque piece is three quarters through the rough draft. But probably the next thing I will work on is my science fiction series. The underlying idea for that was: what might it look like if Regency era culture and mores occurred in a technologically advanced, space-faring society. My hero and heroine are from vastly different social classes but must come together to stop their version of Napoleon from conquering their home worlds and peoples.
7) Can you recommend some other books, fiction and non fiction, set in your period?
Of course, anything by Jane Austen, but her book Lady Susan, is a guilty pleasure of mine. It is almost like watching a modern reality show, complete with a villainess we love to hate.
If anyone is interested in it, I offer a free download of the book to my newsletter subscribers on my website.
8) Girly question – if you could design and make your perfect Regency outfit, what would it be like?
I’m actually hoping to do this yet. It’s been a while since I dragged out the sewing machine, but I figure if I could manage my own wedding dress, I can probably manage a Regency gown. I just need a good six months with nothing else on the schedule!
I’d love to do something in a rich red, rather than Regency white, long sleeves since I’m always cold, and trimmed with pleats and lace. I’d bead the bodice in a floral motif and accent it with silver or gold embroidery. The skirt would have a modest train with a rich embroidered floral pattern in scallops around the skirt. A soft woolen shawl, embroidered to match would be necessary. A silk turban, accented with pearls and a few small feathers would finish the outfit.
Thanks so much for having me today!
You can buy All the Appearance of Goodness for your Kindle here or for your Nook here
Connect with Maria on Facebook at facebook.com/AuthorMariaGrace and follow her on Twitter @WriteMariaGrace!