Guest Author Laura Briggs with a guest post


Please welcome a wonderful author and person Laura Briggs to the blog today.

Writing the Regency Romance Past and Present

My first venture as an author into the world of Regency-themed literature was a far cry from the world of Jane Austen — and, at times, a far cry from any of my original works. Dear Miss Darcy was a modern retelling — albeit light — of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, with a different brooding hero and cheeky heroine than the original tale.

There were mixed reviews for this novel, as there are for so many Austen retellings, making this genre one of the most complex readerships to satisfy. Yet, romance writers, especially those who love Austen, cannot resist the challenge. We try again and again, we find new ways to tell her stories with new characters and new settings, all while paying homage to the great authoress in her original genius.

Both the fans and critics’ reactions to Miss Darcy were enough to keep me entrenched in the world of Regency romance with the advent of the Regency Rules series. The first novel, Rules for Engagements, was inspired by the predicament of Jane herself, the anonymously-published author of several books of modest to eager success in Regency London. Imagining a gentleman’s daughter trying for her fortune in a similar fashion — only in the world of advice instead of fiction — seemed an excellent companion forMiss Darcy and a perfect opening for a trio of stories about young ladies in proper society who wish for something more than their social limitations.

In the newest installment of the series, Love Among the Spices, slated for e-Book release in September 2012, we respond to a particular fan’s interest in seeing more of Marianne’s character — only now she appears as an almost-grown and practically-eligible young lady whose first Season “out” is commenced under pressure from her great-aunt eager to see her well-matched. It is a more traditional love story than its prequel, complete with a love triangle which presents a dilemma of the heart and a potential for adventure for a young lady who has seemingly no interest in accepting anyone’s proposal. Several of the original characters return for this story, including Flora, Catherine and Eliza Barton, and domineering Mrs. Fitzwilliam. Alongside them appears a new cast of characters, including Adam Nimbley and the dashing Captain Lindley, the overt Mrs. Phelps’, and Mrs. Fitzwilliam’s equally-daunting daughter Mrs. Sotherby.

Regency literature performed double duty for my writing schedule during the development of this sequel story, since my attention was given to another Austen tribute of a different sort. While Bloodcurse: A Regency Vampire Novel is a departure from the traditional story structure of Miss Darcy and Rules, it also concerns a young woman of conflicting romantic interests — although her choice might prove fatal if it’s the wrong one. Set in Bath, it recounts the adventures and the journal entries of a young London girl’s first adventure from home and her first encounter with the dark legend of the vampire, inspired by her acquaintance with a bold and successful authoress whose gothic tales have intrigued young Elle and her friends. When the young girl’s experience is overshadowed by a series of mysterious deaths, the intense presence of a young nobleman assumes a sinister importance in her small world — not unlike the heroine of Jane Austen’s first novel, whose impressionable nature is influenced by the dark rumors surrounding Northanger Abbey.

The final installment of the Regency Rules series is in progress for 2013’s release, but I find myself eager to try something new in the world of Regency and its Austen tributes — as eager as I am, in the same breath, to escape it for a contemporary setting in my next novel. The art of Regency-inspired literature is a genre which, once assumed, becomes addictive for its authors. Perhaps it is equally addictive for readers who find themselves longing for more — more of the characters, the stories, and the novel style which has made Jane Austen’s name legend in the world of romance.

Author Bio: Laura Briggs is a writer in both the traditional and indie publishing worlds. She is a huge Jane Austen fan (obviously!) and also enjoys many other classic novels, as well as mysteries.

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