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Interview with Regan Walker
Your new novella, The Twelfth Night Wager, begins as two men in White’s, one of the men’s clubs in Regency England, are discussing marriage (“the leg shackled state”). Then one of them challenges the other to a wager, that he must seduce, bed and leave a certain unnamed lady (and she is a lady) by Twelfth Night, or January 5th. I found this intriguing…how did you conceive of this?
Well, in my research about the lives of men and women during that period in England’s history (from 1811-1820) when the Prince Regent reigned, I discovered they loved to wager. About almost anything. And in some clubs, such as White’s (a very old club) they kept a book where the wagers were entered. Such occurred the evening my story begins: two men drinking at White’s and one, a bit bored, agrees to an outrageous wager. He’s a rake after all, known for his conquests. How difficult could it be to seduce one widow? Seemed like an interesting beginning to me, and apparently it did to Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, too.
Is this your first holiday themed story?
No, actually I have three—all set in the same year, 1818. First is The Shamrock & The Rose, a short story that takes place around Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day (with an Irish hero). Then there’s the novella, The Twelfth Night Wager, that begins in October and extends through the New Year, capturing the fall season of house parties, fox hunting, pheasant shooting, Christmas and, of course, Twelfth Night. And on the tale of that comes The Holly & The Thistle, a short story that features Lady Emily Picton, introduced in the novella, and a Scot hero. All three have as a character Muriel, the Dowager Countess of Claremont, an infamous matchmaker.
What are you working on now?
Having finished the third in my Agents of the Crown trilogy, Wind Raven (which should be released early spring), I turned back to a project I started a few years ago, a medieval titled The Red Wolf’s Prize. It’s set in England just after William the Conqueror claimed the land for his own. I’m about mid way through the novel and deep into a siege scene at the moment when William faced the rebellious English at Exeter in 1068. Researching is a love of mine but going all the way back to the 11th century is a huge challenge, I must say.
What are you reading now?
I have a blog for lovers of historical romance, Regan’s Romance Reviews, and January is Viking month. So, I’m deep into some Viking romances that I’ll be reviewing for an update of my Best Viking Romances list. I love a good Viking raid, don’t you? All those handsome, conquering hunks towering over the fair maidens. Ah yes…at least in fiction it can end happily, no?
What author or authors have most influenced your writing?
It would be the classic romance authors I still read and re-read today. All have been featured on my blog. Their books (along with those of some newer authors) can be found on my “best lists.” But my short list would be Penelope Williamson, Elizabeth Stuart, Jan Cox Speas, Virginia Henley, Shirlee Busbee, Heather Graham (aka Shannon Drake), Meagan McKinney, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Marsha Canham to name a few. They tell sweeping sagas based on solid research for a great love story. And they are the ones I want my work to be like. I want to sweep the reader away and I want her to feel like she knows the characters, like she’s traveled with them. And, in the end, I want the reader to enjoy the happily ever after.
If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?
I’m thinking Istanbul. It has a fascinating history and I can so see a romance set there. And though I’ve been to 40 countries, including Turkey (more than once), I’ve never been to Istanbul. I would love it. Yet I must add that after I finish my medieval, I’m going to write the prequel to my trilogy, To Tame the Wind, and that novel begins in France in the late 18th century. So, while I’ve been to Paris, a trip to northern France would not go amiss.
What’s your social media of choice and why?
It would have to be Facebook. I love the pictures, the conversations I strike up with my Facebook friends and the general sharing we indulge in. It’s the way I connect with readers most of the time, though some contact me via my blog, too. I spend at least an hour each day on FB and love it when my friends tell me my posts meant much to them or a particular picture I posted inspired them. I love to get new friends, too, so I encourage your followers to find me on Facebook (see below).
About The Twelfth Night Wager
On a dull day at White’s, the Redheaded Rake agreed to a wager: seduce and abandon the lovely Lady Leisterfield by Twelfth Night. After one taste of her virtue, he will stop at nothing less than complete possession.
Soon he was escorted into the gilded green dining room and to his place. The other guests had already been seated. Across from him sat Alvanley and Lady Ormond, and on either side of him a lady new to him. Neither, he reflected sadly, was the beautiful blonde who occupied his thoughts.
A few places down the table he saw her sitting next to Ormond. There was a gallant on her other side with whom she was conversing. The shimmering coral gown she wore embraced her curves, modestly revealing the creamy mounds of her full breasts. Would that she was close enough he could speak to her. Close enough he could inhale her delicate scent. Memories of their morning ride assailed him—
Perhaps it was just as well she was not so close. His fervent interest in the lady might be too apparent, which would not do.
Lord Ormond, seeing the direction of Christopher’s gaze, raised an eyebrow. Christopher forced a smile and dipped his head in greeting, just as Lady Ormond sitting across from him drew his attention.
“Good eve to you, Lord Eustace.”
“And to you, my lady. And you, Alvanley.”
Introducing himself briefly to the two brunettes on either side of him, Christopher attempted to keep the conversation moving along through dinner. One was the daughter of a fellow Whig and companion of the other, who was young and apparently unattached by the way she was flirting with him. Carrying on with many women while desiring only one was proving to be exhausting. Generally he took women on one at a time. Not so this game. He was forced to at least appear to pursue several at once.
About the Author
As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors thought her suited to the profession of law, and Regan realized it would be better to be a hammer than a nail. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.