It is my pleasure to introduce Joan Vincent, whose Dell Candelight Regencies I used to read years ago. I was so delighted to run into Joan and her sister Vera at the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City last month and to discover that she is back to writing her fabulous Regencies once again!
I came to write the Honour series in a very roundabout manner. Between 1977 and 1983 I sold eight novels that were published in the Dell Candlelight series. I returned to teaching in 1983 because my daughters needed dental surgery and braces. I still wrote that first year but gave it up when the demands on time and energy from the combination of family, teaching, and learning computers, networking etc. became too great. It wasn’t until 2000 when I retired that I returned to writing at the urging of my sister, Vera. The book I chose to write was one for which I sketched a brief outline before I discontinued writing. In fact, I had described it in such detail that my daughters both remembered me talking about it almost twenty years earlier.
I did some review research on 1808 England. Then I studied my outline, sketched my characters, and began writing. I was surprised that after so many years the story flowed so easily. That is, it flowed until I was in the midst of Chapter Five. In the middle of that chapter I was astounded as I typed one character telling another that Mr. Martin had died. Mr. Martin was the villain. You don’t have much of a book if it is only five chapters long! (This is just one of my many experiences when my characters acted like true children of the mind and did what they pleased no matter what an outline said! Thankfully, I learned this happens to other writers also.)
My sister Vera has always read my books as I wrote them so I visited with her about the problem. Then I decided to let the mind mull it over in its own strange way for a few days. When I returned to the keyboard I found a new villain already in the book and a deliciously evil one at that-—the French master spy Donatien. The only problem was that it completely changed the tone of the book from a sweet regency like my earlier work into something more complex and definitely darker. I thought on it a few more days and came up with the idea of a Napoleonic spy mystery with an element of romance. I revamped my characters and their motivation a bit and learned the hero was an officer in the 15th Light Dragoons with four fellow officers who were very good friends. One of these had a very important part in the book.
By Chapter Seven I knew I needed an English spy but who to pull out of the character hat? Once again I brainstormed with Vera. She came up with the idea of using Andre Ribeymon, Baron de la Croix. Andre had first appeared in Bond of Honour, published in the early 80’s as the six-year-old nephew of the heroine. In 1808 he would be in his early 20’s and ripe for adventure. Of course he would have a good friend to go on escapades with him and Hadleigh Tarrant, the hero in Honour’s Choice came to life. What was truly fascinating was that I later realized Donatien is also in Bond of Honour. He is part of a group that attempted to kidnap Andre.
At that point I had seven strong hero types and an excellent villain in Donatien. I had this vision of my seven posed like the men in that old 80’s western The Magnificent Seven—the 15th Light Dragoons in their regimentals (Bellaport, Danbury, Merristorm, Vincouer and Goodchurch for those unfamiliar with the Honour series), Andre in his guise as a dandy and Hadleigh in his staid Brummel style-dress. I also had six more stories—one for each of my other heroes—come to me full-blown in which each man in turn would battle Donatien and also find his true love.
The Honour Series was not a nine-month term baby but more a month in gestation. Writing about how it came to be has reminded me of how many pillars underpin a book! And I haven’t even told you about the two gentlemen from the Royal Agricultural Society in Britain who helped me, via email, track down where and when the Agricultural Society met in 1809. It is a minor point in Choice but one I wanted to have it correct. It almost takes a village to write a book.
Honour’s Choice, the story of an older woman and younger man, came into existence long before the so-called cougar trend began. Anyone who reads the story would hardly think of Sarah as a cougar in any guise. Her knowledge of herbal medicine led me to a lot of research on the topic and many calls to my sister-in-law who is a nurse and who plied doctors with questions for me. I can’t really remember when I realized Hadleigh had a fascination with insects, but that aspect of his life has also led me to many books on bugs I never thought I’d read. Hadleigh and Sarah have struck a strong chord with all who have read their story. That has been true from the first very rough draft, although sadly, I’d have to admit I’m not certain why. I am very glad I wrote their story and hope those who read it enjoy it as much as I did.
About Honour’s Choice (The Honour Series Book Two)
She’s the only one who can help when a spy hunt goes terribly wrong.
1809 England. Hadleigh Tarrant joins in the hunt for government bullion thieves. Captured and tortured by their leader Donatien, Hadleigh is left to die. Sarah, Lady Edgerton, a middle-aged widow, nurses the critically injured Hadleigh when he is found near her home despite the danger to her reputation. Their hearts choose each other, but Hadleigh is haunted by the tragedy of his parent’s marriage and fears that love will cause him pain worse than that of any torture. Sarah, trapped by the years between them and secrets that would turn him from her forever, tries to hide her love and do what is best for Hadleigh by giving him up. Donatien, the malicious French spy reappears determined to purloin military secrets. He is also intent upon a revenge that threatens Sarah and Hadleigh’s growing love and their very lives. Hadleigh must unmask the spy before he and Sarah can decide between dishonour and Honour’s Choice.
4* Review from RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Joan Vincent lives with her husband in Kansas. Her hobbies include sewing for and playing with her young grandchildren, quilt making and quilting, flower arranging, and research. Her husband claims her favorite hobby/passion is filling an ever-increasing number of bookcases with books on all facets of 18-19th century English, French, and Spanish life and politics.
Joan’s earlier Regencies are available at Regency Reads.
- The Audacious Miss
- A Bond of Honour
- The Curious Rogue
- The Education of Joanne
- Never To Part
- The Promise Rose
- Rescued By Love
- A Scheme For Love