The Regency/Historical Question

Way back in prehistoric times, when I was first published (it will be 30 years in April of this year–ouch! See the cover of my first book below), my books were called Regency Romances, and though they were historical fiction in the sense that they were set in Regency England between the years 1811 and 1820, they were not known as historicals. Everything else was if it was set before World War II, but Regencies were in a category of their own. When anyone tried to explain why this was so, there were vague answers like the fact that Regencies were gentle comedies of manners–as though no other type of historical novel could be that. Actually they were fun to write and I wrote close to forty of them before deciding that it was time to try my hand at the larger market of the historical.

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I immediately thought that the book needed to be different, larger, more action-driven, more obviously linked to some of the better known events of history. Eventually, a few years later, I was told by a new editor that no, no, I could and should write the sort of books that had made me known, though now they would be called historicals. I wrote MORE THAN A MISTRESS  after I was told that and have been writing the old-style Regencies ever since, except that they are no longer small-market items. But, in the meantime I started writing historicals with BEYOND THE SUNRISE in 1992.

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BEYOND THE SUNRISE is set during the Regency period, and it tells a love story as passionate as any I had written before or have written since. It is also perhaps the most action-packed of any of my books. It is set during the Napoleonic Wars. Although it begins in England, when the hero and heroine as still young teenagers enjoying a sweet but doomed romance, it soon moves ahead eleven years and to Portugal where the wars are raging. Robert Blake is now an infantry captain who is also an occasional spy for Wellington. Jeanne Morisette, now known as Joana da Fonte, the widowed Marquesa das Minas, with her French father, English mother, and Poeruguese late husband, is also a spy–but for whom? Robert Blake certainly does not know the answer. I am not a plotter, but I certainly had to plot that book! I also researched the whole of the Peninsula Wars in great detail even though I ended up using only a fraction of what I knew. I loved writing the story, and I still love it more than twenty years later.

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BEYOND THE SUNRISE will be republished on February 3 in a lovely new trade paperback edition. You can preorder it through any of the buy links shown on Home Page of my web site, or purchase it outright after Feb. 3. BUT, in the meanwhile, you have a chance to win one of three copies of the book by leaving a comment below before the end of Thursday, January 29. Good luck!