Welcome guest blogger, Joan Vincent…
Hi, I’m Joan Vincent. I live in Kansas which is a long way from Enlgand and the Regency period. And I have a minor in American History. Who knew I would read over 200 regency romances in a month one summer long ago and decide I would like to take my hand at writing one? Certainly surprised me, delightfully so.
Honour’s Debt is the first book in my Honour series. It started out far different than it is today. It began it as a sweet rather simple regency like all my previous books and then, in chapter five my villian was killed. That rather stunned me. I needed at least 50,000 more words and what’s a story without a villian? My sister said “find a worse villian.” After ruminating on it a few days I sat down and just starting typing. (I do plot but I’ve found if I don’t let my characters do what they want the story just doesn’t go anywhere. I once thought I created the characters and I’m in charge but something else is at work too) To my amazement a very dastardly villian–a master French spy appeared. Along with him came a young emigré pursing him. When I told my sister I didn’t know who this young man was she suggested i use for a character from an earlier book. The story reshaped itself; it became an entirely different more complex story. And it flowed onto the pages. In a week I had sketches for six more books but that it for another time.
I didn’t fall in love with my hero but I like and respect him very much. Truth be told I did fall in love with the young emigré. He was six when he first appeared in the first regency I ever wrote –not the first one published. It was very spooky when I learned one of the men who tried to kidnap him in that book was the French master spy in Debt. These two men are in every book in the series.
The hardest part of writing the book was a multitude of research. After years of researching for and writing regencies I am grounded in a lot of regency history. But I had never had a hero who was in the military–much less the cavalry–the 15th Light Dragoons. I chose the 15th after research revealed they were in Spain in 1808. Then the real work began. There was the question of Light Dragoons or Hussars–you can read reams of information and still wonder about that. Also what color was their uniform, and in particular the facings they wore–each regiment’s is different. Once I got the details I needed I knew the hero’s motivation was grounded in what happened in Spain. More research was necessary to find the location where the action would take place in England. The setting had to have smuggling which led me to a study of Martello towers. More investigation followed on cottages. I always sketch out my character’s homes and this story involved several.
I like to be as accurate as possible. Accuracy in detail grounds the story, but plot drives it. Major Quentin Bellaport, Viscount Broyal sets out to redeem a debt of honour but falling in love was not part of the plan. Intent on saving Maddie Vincoer from the maelstrom of a funeral, a wedding, and kidnappings, he can only pray she’ll forgive his deceit. Will she believe she is not a pawn to his Honour’s Debt?
Joan – Great to see Honour’s Debt “in print”. Can’t wait to read it!
Nancy in Champaign
Nancy–how good to “see” you here! Hope I’ll be able to see you later this spring.
What a fantastic and inipriatsonal story. Your advice came at just the right time! I can soooo relate to rewriting a beginning countless times, and getting loads of requests for fulls and partials, but no offers. I’m going to follow your advice and start pitching my new book instead of focusing on my first. Thank you so much!!!(And I hope you’ll be ineligible for GH soon!)