I’m delighted to welcome historical romance author, Annie Burrows to my blog.
Hello Annie – It was wonderful to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists’ Association where authors and affiliate members gather, virtually and in-person across the globe, to offer one another "writerly" support. As a Regency reader and author, I’m eager to learn some of the writing secrets that have made you such a successful and prolific Regency romance author for Mills and Boon publishing...do tell. 😉
But before we discover more about your latest Regency release, The Scandal of the Season here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: Authors can release books, making them available to readers in various ways…via an agent, or working directly with a traditional publisher, or they can even go the self-publishing route. Which method of publishing do you prefer, and why?
Annie: I prefer to be traditionally published. I did begin to think about self-publishing at one time, but then I discovered that I’d have to find an editor I could work with, to check over my work, find a cover artist to design my covers, and then do a lot of marketing if I wanted my books to look professional, and reach a buying audience. I much prefer to let the publishing house take care of all that side of things, and just concentrate on writing the best book I can.
Arabella: A slice of Chocolate Cake, a piece of Fruit, or Burger and Fries?
Annie: That sounds like a three course meal to me! Melon for starters, burger as mains, and the chocolate cake for dessert.
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest Regency release, The Scandal of the Season?
Annie: The Scandal of the Season started out when I took part in a workshop with Michelle Styles, at a romance readers convention in Germany. We created a fictional duchess, who was instructing a girl from trade how to behave in society, in order to have a fun session where modern women could learn about Regency manners and attitudes. (I played the part of the duchess, and very snooty I was, too!)
And I began to think what fun it would be to write about an impoverished duchess introducing a girl from trade into society, for a fee. The duchess in question would have to resort to all sorts of shenanigans in order to make this girl presentable, which is where the heroine, Cassandra Furnival comes in. The duchess is her godmother, and offers to restore her damaged reputation if she will pretend that the girl from trade is her friend, thus making it acceptable for society hostesses to include her in invitations to their parties. At first, Cassandra thinks of her as a fairy godmother, who whisks her up to London, dresses her in finery, and takes her to balls. But then she meets a man from her past, who is determined to put a stop to her schemes…
Arabella: If the person of your dreams (husband/wife/partner/or Regency beau) were to invite you out, where would they take you, and which vehicle would they use:
Annie: I think I would have to choose an outing in a curricle. Preferably, I’d like to race down to Brighton, clinging onto my hat with one hand, and the guard rail with the other as my driver overtakes all the slower, lumbering vehicles that get in our way!
|Carriage - Curricle|
Arabella: Which is your most favourite period drama or historical film you’ve seen to date, and why is it so special?
Annie: I just adore the 1946 adaptation of Great Expectations, starring John Mills and directed by David Lean. The story has so many layers, apart from the moving love story between poor deluded Pip, and the haughty Estella, giving glimpses into many layers of the society of the time. And the adaptation itself is so skilfully handled, from the chilly, bleak atmosphere of the marshes in the opening sequences, to the glittering and rather hectic ballrooms of London. Not only that, but every time I watch it I notice another little detail in the background which is so accurate that it makes me want to cheer.
Arabella: When writing a book or chapter, which do you concentrate on first: plot, character, or setting?
Annie: Characters. My stories always start with the characters. I usually picture them in a specific scene or situation, (which is often problematic) and start wondering how they are going to get out of it. How their background and childhood will influence the decisions they make, and their attitude to life and the people they encounter. Their behaviour drives the plot. And sometimes I forget about the setting altogether, and have to remind myself to go back through the work and make sure I have given at least a bit of a hint as to the time of day, or the weather!
Arabella: How do you research your Regency novels and characters?
Annie: I read biographies of people who lived in that era. It never ceases to surprise me how eccentric many of them were. No matter what story I could come up with, there is always a real person who did something far more outrageous! I also read factual books, such as “Quacks – Fakers and Charlatans in Medicine” by Roy Porter, “Flunkeysand Scullions – life below stairs in Georgian England” by Pamela Horn, and “For King and Country – the letters and diaries of John Mills, Coldstream Guards1811 – 1814”.
More recently I have begun to use Louise Allen’s brief guides to Georgian and Regency life. At the moment I am poring over her “Stagecoach Travel”, as I’m writing my next book, which opens in an inn where my governess heroine is waiting while she changes coaches.
|A Selection of Annie's Research Books|
Arabella: What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their writing journey?
Annie: Probably sounds obvious, but just sit down and write. As often as you can. Nobody can really tell you what method will work, because we are all so different. Some people write best very early in the morning, some at night. Some need complete quiet, some prefer to be in a café. Some people need to plot everything out in minute detail before they can start, others need to just launch into the mist and see what happens. And the only way you can find out what sort of writer you are, is to see what works for you.
Thank you for joining us on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat today, Annie. I’m sure your readers are amazed to read about all the research work you do in order to write such spellbinding Regency romance novels.
And, I must say…you’ve whetted my appetite to read Louise Allen’s – “Stagecoach Travel”. I’m keen to see how you incorporate some stagecoach facts into your next Regency romance.
Best wishes and good luck with your latest release, The Scandal of the Season
About Annie Burrows
Annie Burrows has been writing light-hearted Regency romances for Mills & Boon since 2007. Her first book, “His Cinderella Bride” was the top seller in the historical line that year.
Subsequent books have gone on to win the coveted Reviewer’s Choice award from Cataromance.
Her books have charmed readers worldwide, having been translated into 19 different languages.
Annie’s latest release is: “The Scandal of the Season” which is available in the UK, US, and Australia, now.
Book Blurb: The Scandal of the Season
Her name is ruined.
But her heart is untouched!
Having saved Cassandra Furnival from scandal once before, it shouldn’t have surprised Colonel Nathaniel Fairfax that she was now attempting to lay siege to the Ton’s eligible bachelors! Determined to thwart her plans, he’s as astounded by her defiance as by her beauty. But nothing shocks the jaded soldier more than discovering her innocence. Restoring her reputation is set to bring about the scandal of the season!
For more information, or to contact the author, please visit her website or Facebook page as shown.