I have the great privilege of chatting with Award Winning author Regina Jeffers, so take a seat and lets lets get to know a little about Regina…
Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency, historical mysteries, and contemporary novels. She is a retired English teacher and an often sought after consultant for media literacy and language arts
Frankie Reviews : Hi Regina, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. First, what five words would you use to describe yourself?
Regina : Independent, loyal, hardworking, practical, overly critical of self, intelligent (Oops! That is more than five words.)
Frankie Reviews : If you could live in any era and place, when and where would it be? And Why?
Regina : As I have published 30 books which feature the Regency era (1811-1820 England), most people would think that I would choose that period. In reality, as much as I love all things Regency, I doubt that I would want to time travel to the era of the Napoleonic Wars. I admit it: I have grown soft in my old age, for I enjoy air conditioning and indoor plumbing and modern medicine. I would wish for a bit more manners among the general populace and for the joy of a long walk or afternoon tea, but I am not willing to give up my modern conveniences unless Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is part of the equation. (sighs heavily in amusement)
Frankie Reviews : Very Interesting, Who was your childhood hero?
Regina : I grew up in the 1950s. We were not so keen on naming movie stars and singers and sports stars and the like as “heroes” in those days. I liked a few of the politicians and world leaders, but that was more from hearing my family speak of them. My personal hero was my mother. She was a single mother living in a time when women did not separate from their husbands. She had the courage to carve out a life where I was the first one of my family to attend college. I hold a B.A., M.A., and a Ph.D. We were never rich, but we survived chastisements and misunderstandings and society’s censor together. Above, one can note that the first word I chose to describe me was “independent.” I learned that quality and many more at my mother’s hand.
Frankie Reviews : What a wonderful hero to have! What is your favourite time of the year?
Regina : Autumn has always been my favourite time of the year. While others look upon the fall/autumn as a time that the earth is preparing for winter, I think of the season as a time to shed summer’s blazing sun while avoiding winter’s chill. It is the time for long walks, football games, leaves changing color, harvest celebrations, prayers of thanksgiving, and most importantly, my birthday. As George Eliot said, “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.”
Frankie Reviews : Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?
Regina : As my career started with a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, Fitzwilliam Darcy is my favourite character, but he is not MY creation. Back in 2011, I wrote The Phantom of Pemberley, a cozy mystery set at Darcy’s home. In that book, I gave life to one Adam Lawrence. Lawrence (Viscount Stafford) was the son and heir to the Earl of Greenwall, a rake, and a thoroughly charming man about town. Readers enjoyed him so much that they began to ask for more of the gentleman.
In his own words from a previous interview, Adam Lawrence explains, “I first appeared in Jeffers’s cozy mystery, The Phantom of Pemberley. In it, I begged shelter at Pemberley House during a raging snow storm. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Austen’s most famous hero, would have preferred to turn me away for I was traveling with my mistress, and Darcy wished not to expose his wife and sister to such a woman. However, as I am an intimate acquaintance of his cousin, Darcy relented. Later, he was glad of my attendance in what turned out to be an impromptu house party because I aided in his attempts in locating a killer at the grand manor.
“In other of Ms. Jeffers’s books, my role varies. I had a “walk through” role in A Touch of Velvet, greeting the Duke of Thornhill and Miss Velvet Aldridge at the infamous Vauxhall Gardens. In A Touch of Grace, I was the foil to Gabriel Crowden, the Marquis of Godown, for he and I often vied for the same women. I again came to the aid of the heroes of A Touch of Mercy, A Touch of Love, and A Touch of Honor by providing transportation, advice, and a bit of “pretense.” I attended the house party in His American Heartsong and persuaded Lawrence Lowery to seek out an American hoyden, Miss Arabella Tilney, as his lady love, as well as protecting the reputation of both Lowery and the lady. In Ms. Jeffers’s Austen-inspired novel, Mr. Darcy’s Bargain, I assist Darcy in capturing Mr. Wickham and foiling the authorities.
“My dear Ms. Jeffers has been kind enough to bring me from the shadows and into a starring role. I am greatly in her debt and that of her loyal readers who kept asking for me to have my own tale. His Irish Eve takes place some six years after I released my mistress to a return to her family after that debacle at Pemberley House. Little did I know at the time that Cathleen Donnel was with child. It was only after Cathleen’s cousin contacted my father for financial assistance that I learned of my ‘bastard.’ When I arrived to claim the child, I found not only a son, but also two daughters. As I am certain you readily suspect, they are triplets.
“This encounter brought me into the life of not only the children, but also their cousin, Miss Aoife Kennice, who assumed the children’s care when Cathleen passed. Miss Kennice is the type of woman to demand that a man be a better person. She rejected my flirtations, while enticing me to learn more of my responsibilities as the future Earl of Greenwall, a task I have avoided for years. Plainly, we were meant to be together for she is ‘Aoife,’ the Anglicized name for ‘Eve.’ I am very impressed when Ms. Jeffers adds these little details to a story, for Aoife and I are quite happy to be ‘Adam and Eve.’”
Frankie Reviews : Wow! Great answer and thank you for joining us Adam. Where does your inspiration for your books come from?
Regina : Inspiration to write comes from my need to express myself creatively. Despite that analytical mind I mentioned earlier, I possess a creative streak that is my passion. I have taught dance and danced on Broadway. I have performed in professional and community theatre. Writing is just the next phase in my life. I am one of those people who is rarely seen without a book in my hands. I read daily, as did my mother. I write the type of stories I wish to read—stories of people overcoming obstacles to know a bit of happiness in life.
As to writing historicals, I admit that I am a research geek. When I find some unique bit of history, I cannot wait to add it to my next story. Sometimes, the story develops around the history and sometimes the history simply embellishes the story, but the two are closely tied together.
Frankie Reviews : What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Regina : Trust your instincts, but do not fall in love with what you write. There is always a need for editing and revision. Listen to your Beta readers and your editors. Sometimes they see what you cannot. There is a time to stand your ground and a time to bow to others’ opinions.
Write daily, even it is only a few paragraphs. It is difficult to keep the flow of the story fresh in your mind if there are long gaps between your thought processes and putting pen to paper.
Keep some sort of “history of” the story as you write it. List character names, brief descriptions of the characters, places used within the story line, some sort of timeline that indicates the number of days that passed between event A and event B, etc., and perhaps a bulleted chapter summary. Readers despise when the character’s name in the early part of the book is “Edgar” and later he is “James.” This often happens with secondary characters. Remember they are important to the plot. Bulleted chapters help in locating a particular scene when you are in the midst of deep edits, and a timeline keeps the events plausible. I write historicals. It was not possible for a couple in the early 1800s to elope to Gretna Green in Scotland and be back in London within a week. A timeline would indicate that to an author.
Frankie Reviews : Thank you very much, those are seriously great tips. If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)
Regina : I have been asked this often, and my answer has not varied. I would invite Ernest Hemingway and the now-not-so-politically-correct General George Custer. Then I would ask Miss Jane Austen to join me in fending off the gentlemen’s opinions. I have always thought that both men were flawed and very complex personalities, for each could find poetry and romance and hope even in disaster. I believe Miss Austen would appreciate their tales and would not be “shocked” by them, for Austen’s letters reveal a sharp-witted and acid-tongued woman, who was discerning and sometimes critical and very worldly in many ways.
Moreover, Austen’s books were used in the fever chart that the War Office drew up to treat shell-shocked soldiers in World War I. Her works were considered therapeutic to those most seriously wounded and in need to be read to, mainly because even though one knows what will occur at the end of an Austen novel, she manages to keep the reader in suspense—a characteristic all three dinner mates share.
Frankie Reviews : I never knew that about Jane Austen’s work being used to help WW1 soldiers, thank you for those very interesting facts. Thank you, Regina for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today
I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?
Regina : Whether one pronounces the word as /pəˈkän/ orˈ/pēˌkan/, I am a Southern girl at heart. I would choose anything with pecans: Pecan Sandies, Toasted Pecan Turtle Clusters, Butter Pecan Cookies, Southern Pecan Butterballs, or Pecan pie. You name it, and I am all in.
Sounds good to me, Thank you Regina!
If you want to learn more about Regina and her work or connect with her, why not check out the links below.