I recently did a fun little piece for BookPage.com. They asked me for a peek behind the curtain, a historical romance writer’s perspective on the real Regency. I’m so fascinated by this era and I’ve learned a lot about it. There are a few things I’ve learned that I wish I unknow, believe me! The marvelous escapist fantasy that I want to provide in my books (the one where dukes are young and handsome and totally into marrying a girl from a notorious family like Bliss Worthington!<3) would not benefit from too much gritty reality!
Five Reasons You Do Not Want to be a Regency Lady on BookPage.com!
For some more fun insights into Regency life, you might enjoy a look into one of my favorite sources!
When a character introduces herself, sometimes it can be difficult for the writer to understand why this person is the way they are. We try to uncover her life, her background, her parents, whether or not she has a pet, what is her favorite color–and why is it her favorite color?
Environment can play a factor. When I realized who Bliss really is (spoiler deleted!) I knew that she would have been placed in with a foster mother so that she would have as normal and mundane a childhood as possible. A cottage in a distant shire, watched over by a woman of solid common sense like Mrs. Dalyrymple.
Old Dally. I named her after one of my favorite literary characters of all time, Old Golly, the common-sense nanny from Harriet the Spy.
I thought Old Dally must be some sort of retired nanny or governess to the stars. She had seen first-hand how children of the rich and titled could be spoiled beyond saving. I saw her as someone who would take her charge somewhere clean and safe, a fresh start in a life filled with wholesome work and simple pleasures. I think life in Old Dally’s cottage must have been a comfortable sort of simplicity. Bliss never lacked for food or education. I believe Old Dally adored her, but she wasn’t the sort of woman to show affection except perhaps in the way she protected Bliss from the excesses of her parents (spoiler deleted!).
This explains so much about Bliss. She always looks perfectly in fashion, but she treats it more like a job than something that actually interests her. She is unimpressed by wealth, and undismayed by scarcity. Old Dally’s practical training comes in handy when Morgan Pryce tries to shock his new bride with the humbleness of his home!
While researching Old Dally’s cottage in Shropshire, I found this book useful. I love this series by Trevor Yorke!
Every month, I choose a classic quote for whatever I face at that time. In May, my mind was on how long I could continue to be creative in my present genre. I began my journey in Regency romance in 1999! I have always tried to be consistent because I believe that my identity as a writer of humorous, action-packed sexy romance is a sort of promise to my readers. “I, Celeste Bradley, will continue to deliver books of the same kind and quality that I have done in the past, so that you always know what you are going to read.”
Except that I’m a person, not a corporation. I might go through many things in a year, much less nearly two decades! How can I possibly remain consistently Celeste Bradley when I often don’t feel a bit like the same person who started writing my first book?
What if I falter? What if one day I just can’t do it? What if my writing changes without me realizing it and I disappoint everyone who has been so loyal and kind to me all these years?
Locking myself into that past place seemed so drastic–and essentially impossible. Then I realized that quitting altogether would also be drastic (and quite possibly impossible!). I love what I do. I love my characters–oh, those naughty Worthingtons!–and I love creating new and different visions of my Regency romance world.
The fact is, I can’t remain the same. But it occurred to me that my readers are people too. People who change and grow every day, who might go years without reading one of my books, or might binge an entire series in a week. We are all just being human, and I truly believe that most people are really trying to do their best.
So here is my new promise. I will do my best. I will write humorous, adventurous sexy Regency romance–as the writer and woman that I am RIGHT NOW. It might be that I worry for no reason and that I will be able to write stories that you will all enjoy. Or some people may fall away. Some new people may join in.
I love what I do. I love it even more now that I have come to understand that, just like Lewis Carrol’s Alice, “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
Weren’t we all?
The Wicked Worthington series is up to five books now! Welcome to the world, Wedded Bliss!