A couple of days ago, I was invited by Priya from Writerly Yours to be part of another interesting blog tour honoring the month of love, by sharing thoughts and reviews about a first-time for me Regency novel, A Valentine secret by author Emily Murdoch. I loved the book and the genre and therefore, I dared to ask Emily to answer a couple of questions about this special category of novels and the persistence of love in our troubled 21st century.
Regency novels went in the 1990s through a relatively bad time, with audiences decreasing and many edition houses closing their dedicated collections. How do you explain the recent increase of interest for this style?
So many of the Regency 'bodice rippers' of the 1990s were all about cliches and getting people's clothes off as soon as possible - which is great if that's the thing you're into, but when that is absolutely all you have in a particular genre, there's not much for anyone else. The rise of the sweet Regency story is really bringing about a change so that people who want their stories sweet and romantic have something in the Regency category.
I also think that now that you can have so many ebooks on your Kindle or other e-reader people are more able to experiment, and try out different genres that they may not have initially been a fan of, which is definitely helping out the Regency genre.
What is the message of Regency novels translated into the literary language of our times? How can it make love stories relevant to the readers?
Love doesn't change throughout time; but I think that we can understand love a little better through seeing it through the lens of a different time. I love the Regency time so much because love was simpler in some ways - courtship was more defined and people were more upfront about what they wanted out of a relationship. At the same time, love was more complicated, because there was stricter social hierarchies and money played far more of a role than it does today. Playing around in that different culture is so much fun for a writer, and I hope that readers enjoy it too!
What was for you the biggest challenge of writing this novel?
I'm actually a medievalist by trade, and so I had to spend a lot more time in research than with some of my other books. Suddenly things that I just knew about for the medieval era, such as food eaten at breakfast or the way that men referred to other men's wives, was completely unknown to me for the Regency era!
'Courtesy, manners and an appreciation for the small things'
What are the lessons learned of Regency novels?
There is so much that we have lost from the Regency era; courtesy, manners, and an appreciation for the small things.
What are your writing plans for the next months?
I'm currently working on two big projects, a four novel series and a twelve novel series. It's hard to keep track sometimes! But I'm really excited about what direction I'm going in, and hopefully I'll have some of those published and out by the end of the year!
Photo: Archives of the author