Friday 19 October 2018

A conversation with Historical Romance author, Jackie Williams. #Regency #Romance #MustRead @wackyjackyful

A conversation with Historical Romance author, Jackie Williams.

Hi Jackie, it is great to see you back on the blog! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello, I’m Jackie Williams, a 50 something year old lady on a mission having been gripped by the writing bug for the last seven years. After having written one book for my daughter (fourteen at the time) as a challenge by my doubting husband - something you should never do to me for fear of unleashing a monster! - I found that I simply could not stop. Ideas have poured out of me continuously since and I am now on book thirty-one, with even more on the way.

After stringing pearls and making pearl jewellery for thirty years, I felt I needed a change and it came in the form of writing, something I have always loved to do, but never gave myself the time to indulge fully. After dabbling with some contemporary and young adult themes, I leapt into my favourite genre as a reader, historical romantic mystery.

An avid reader by my early teens and already completely in love with Mr. Darcy, (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen) I adored the thought of all the ladies in beautiful dresses, the heroes in buff breeches, the balls, the banquets... Almost thirty-five years later, it was my turn to write them. 

I think we are all in love with Mr Darcy! What inspired you to write A Bed of Wild Roses – Flowers of the Aristocracy (Untamed Regency Series)?

Historical mystery and romance go hand in hand. For me you cannot have one without the other. I had already written one series (Unrivalled Regency) and I had included a humerous scene or two within each book however serious the subject matter, but I found I enjoyed writing the comedic side more than I expected. Especially as in real life, men can be such wonderful subjects for hilarity, even when they don’t know that they are being hilarious. I wanted to take this style of writing further and bring in the light-heartedness throughout the tale, mixing it with the romance and the mystery while not losing the cheeriness of tone. From the wonderful reviews received, it would appear that I have succeeded!

I love A Bed of Wild Roses, you can see my review here! What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?

There are so many challenges when writing Regency. The era was the cusp of seemingly so much invention, but apart from the things that we now take for granted, like matches and running water in the home, even putting on or taking off clothes was a challenge. (Am I glad that we now don’t wear corsets!)
But I found that ‘time’ was my biggest challenge. There is so much time involved in simply getting a message from one place to another that it boggled my mind. There was no postal service, no easy way to travel quickly. You simply cannot leave London at four in the afternoon and arrive in Bath in two hours later when riding in a horse-drawn carriage on inadequate roads. The timing of events, how people responded to invitations, the inconsistencies and difficulties when travelling needed careful consideration and much counting of hours on fingers to make sure that a character didn’t arrive at an event before they could have possibly known about it.

Yes, we take travel so much for granted nowadays. A journey from London to Bath would have been very long. There are many books that are set in Regency England. Can you tell us three things that sets your novel apart?

The light humour and breeziness of my book, while still a serious mystery is a marked difference to the norm.

I am not afraid of bringing in difficult subjects to my stories. A Bed of Wild Roses has several uncomfortable/serious situations within the first couple of chapters, which affect the whole lives and later decisions of the individual characters in the series. These events are important and are not to be shied away from. Things like this happened. Though difficult, they are vital in building an individual’s personality, integrity, and appeal.

I also think that my male characters (my heroes) are unusual in that they are not arrogant beasts in need of changing by their female counterpart. They are gentlemen in every sense. Yes they have challenges, they might seem a little pompous, but beneath all their bluster they are good through and through!

That is why I love your books so much. The Heroes are very likable and the heroines are wonderfully portrayed. Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

I am currently working on two projects. The fourth book in the Flowers of the Aristocracy - Untamed Regency series, A Fragile Chain of Daisies. Accused of murdering the Duke of Portland, Lord Pierce Trenchard is on the run, and only Lady Daisy, Duchess of Portland and wife of the murdered Duke, can save him. 

But will she?

And a new venture in historical fiction, an early Victorian murder mystery. Will the Fourth Earl of Claiborne discover who murdered his predecessor, or will he become another victim? - There will of course be a little romance included!

Untamed Regency is such a great series, I can’t wait to read book four!  What other interests do you have when not writing?

I still enjoy making pearl jewellery. Though time consuming and hard on the eyes, it is a lovely thing to do. I don’t think I will ever give it up completely. Pearls are the only gem used that are not polished or altered in any way. Their natural beauty fascinates me.

I have also taken up photography. It is a fabulous way to get out and about. I enjoy going to many historical houses where I take pictures to use on my book covers. All the backgrounds of the covers in the Flowers of the Aristocracy series are from pictures taken by me on a special day out at Chatsworth.

A Bed of Wild Roses

A Bed of Wild Roses. Flowers of the Aristocracy. (Untamed Regency Series)
 A Regency Mystery Romance.
An innocent kiss might not have sealed her fate. Even a scandalously slippery jelly could be explained away. But revealing one’s long hidden charms to the local nobility can only lead Lady Felicity into marriage or ruination.
How could a childhood game become so complicated? How could a dessert behave so decadently? And how could his own shrubbery become so untamed? Caught between debt, honour, and Felicity’s more than irate brother, Lord Algernon Barclay’s immediate future can only lead in one direction. Straight into a parson’s noose.
But even while reconciling themselves to their fate, a killer stalks. Amid attempted murder, thieving relatives, and renovating an impoverished estate, will they surrender to their shared attraction, or will Algernon’s stubborn heart convince her to give up and leave him.
This light-hearted Regency mystery romance is suitable for ages 16 and above due to sensual love scenes.


Lord Algernon Barclay stood by his sister, eyeing her pale blue silk gown with something bordering on horror. He glowered at any man over the age of fourteen who dared turn his eyes upon her. That meant every man in the room came under his savage scrutiny.

“How on earth did mother let you out of the house dressed like that? It’s virtually transparent, and your, your...” He hissed as he took a deep breath and waved his hand about in the general direction of her breasts. Her breasts? Good God! My sister has breasts! He thought as he rolled his eyes heavenward, hoping that this was all a bad dream.

It wasn’t. An elderly gentleman bowed and smiled appreciatively, his eyes never rising as far as her face. He glanced up at Algernon after some seconds blatant perusal.

“Ah, Barclay. My condolences on your father’s passing. A good man. And who might this young incomparable be.” The old goat had the temerity to wink as he bowed over Sophia’s hand.

Algernon’s chest swelled with fury as he drew in a long breath. Although his father had been gone less than half a year, he had decided that Sophia should be allowed to come to their farewell dinner. Black wouldn’t have been the kindest choice for someone so young to wear at her first public function, but right at that moment he wished he had insisted on custom. He quelled his temper for his sister’s sake and made the expected introduction.

“My sister, Lady Sophia. She’s only out for this evening.” He bowed and steered Sophia in a new direction even as he growled under his breath. “Dear Lord! Every man in the room, including old Bucklersby has been ogling you these last ten minutes. If I come out of this without having to put a round through someone’s shoulder, I’ll be mightily surprised!” He took a third glass of champagne and threw it down his throat.

Sophia Barclay dimpled up at her brother.

“Don’t be such a ninny. I’m sixteen, hardly a child any longer, and this style of dress is all the rage. It’s beautiful. Thank you for agreeing to me wearing it.” She brushed her fingers down the yards of delicate fabric. Her gown was gaining the exact reaction that she hoped, though she would rather it had been Brendon Spencer ogling her rather than Lord Bucklersby.

Algernon snorted loudly.

“I don’t know what I was thinking! You are not yet out. I swear I’m going to punch someone. Look at Bertie Devereaux, and Lucas Caruthers! They’re both positively salivating! I’ll have to kill them!” He pushed his empty glass back at a passing servant and took a long stride forwards, but was immediately pulled back by his sister’s quick hand.

She held onto his elbow.

“You’ll do no such thing. You are being a horrible grumpy goose. This is supposed to be a fare-thee-well party. Our two families celebrating yours and Brendon’s success. Don’t be a horror to your other friends. They will be all I have while you are away.”

Algernon huffed.

“Friends are all they had better be. I’m going to speak to them later. They might be a year younger than Brendon and I, but I know what those young gentlemen are like. If they so much as look at you in the wrong way whilst I am gone, I’ll call them out as soon as I come back!”

Sophia smiled up at him, loving his concern. She hadn’t seen a lot of him for the last eight years and it hurt her that he was going away again so soon after their father’s passing. That he cared so much about his friends attentions made her feel slightly better about the situation.

“There will be no need for pistols at dawn.” She soothed him. “Your friends will have far more exciting things on their minds than attempting to court me.” She changed the subject quickly as Algernon’s frame puffed up even more at her words. “Felicity and Bren will be down soon. We can make up a foursome just like when we were little.”

If Algernon had still been drinking he would have spat out his wine.

“You jest, surely! I need to keep out of his sister’s way as much as possible tonight. Took me almost a year before Bren would even look at me again after that little debacle in the housekeeper’s office. And another six months before he would listen to my perfectly honest explanation. My eye has never been the same since either.” He stopped as his sister let out a ringing laugh.

“Oh Algernon! You do make me laugh. We were only eight. I suspect she barely recalls the incident. I wouldn’t even remember it if you didn’t go on about it every time I even mention her name.” She wafted her fan to cool her cheeks and the scent of flowers reached him.

Algernon sucked in a breath as he recalled the fateful day. Felicity Spencer had smelled of flowers. The scent had been in her hair. Not gardenias, like his sister preferred, but roses if he remembered rightly. Not that he wanted to remember, but it had been an unforgettable day.

He slid his hand into his pocket and rubbed the guinea he’d refused to ever spend. The thought of deriving any pleasure from the bribe sickened him. What with discovering his father’s infidelities, the horrible subsequent conversation, and then the fateful game of hide and seek, it might have been the most miserable day of his life.

But that time was past. He had grown up and his father was gone. He really should get over it, but something still rankled and he knew exactly what. Felicity. He had seen little of her over the subsequent years but he hadn’t needed to. Every time he smelled even the merest hint of roses, he recalled that day.

He leaned down and hissed his words.

“The trouble she caused, can you even wonder why I can’t forget it. If I never see that little viper again it will be too...” His voice faded and his jaw fell open as he noticed his best friend following the host and hostess into the salon. Walking beside Brendon, no, not walking but gliding elegantly, was the most ravishing creature he had ever laid his eyes upon.

Well! The sly old dog! Where on earth had Brendon conjured her up from? They had only returned from Italy six months previously and what with the scandal surrounding Lord Barclay’s death, he and Brendon had barely gone out, preferring to remain at home or at their club with friends almost every evening since. It hardly seemed possible that the man could have discovered anyone so utterly gorgeous without his best friend knowing.

He watched Brendon walk into the room with his companion held tightly at his side. The man scowled around the salon as Bertie, Lucas, Pierce and several other gentlemen bowed in front of them. Algernon stared at the beauty. Her dark golden ringlets curled over one bare shoulder, her cornflower blue eyes sparkled in the candle light, her silk dress shimmered, catching the breeze coming in at the window, and for one infinitesimal moment, the material outlined the curves of her slender but lush body. He gulped at the image that had all his blood heading for his groin and he thanked the Lord that he had kept his jacket buttoned.

His sister’s voice sounded at his side and she gave a tug at his elbow.

“Would you like a handkerchief?”

He glanced down uncomprehendingly.

“Pardon? Whatever are you talking about?”

Sophia pressed her lips together and lifted her hand to pluck a square of silk from his coat pocket. She held it up for him.

“For the drool.” She smiled brightly as she waved the cloth under his nose.
Algernon rolled his eyes, grabbed the fabric, and shoved it back in his pocket while he looked back towards his friend.

“Bloody dark horse! He never told me he was bringing a partner. Damn, but she’s lovely. I wonder where he found her?” He looked down curiously at his sister’s trilling laugh. “What now?” But Sophia had stepped forward, obviously intent on greeting Brendon and his delectable partner.

The two young women clasped hands and kissed each other with exclamations of delight and compliments on each other’s dress.

Brendon frowned down at the pair of them before glancing back up at Algernon and whispering an aside.

“It seems that your escort knows Felicity. If I find she’s the one who has been teaching her about men and their wild oats, I’ll have your hide,” he hissed menacingly.

Algernon felt the earth fall away from beneath his feet.

“Felicity? Your sister, Felicity?” His voice was a strangled cry. What had happened to the brat who followed them about and played hide and seek?

Brendon’s frown deepened.

“Well, of course! Who the bloody hell did you think she was? Some lightskirt like you brought along to dinner? Where in god’s name have you been hiding her? I’m surprised Johnston let you through the door,” he hissed back.

Algernon immediately snapped his head back and drew himself up to his full six feet four inches.

“Lightskirt? How bloody dare you! I should call you out! That’s Sophia, my sister, you idiot! Damnable girl has grown far more than I thought in the last couple of years, and what with mother’s liking for the latest fashion...Well, I’ve been holding off half your randy guests for the last twenty minutes!” He ran his finger around inside his suddenly over tight cravat.

Brendon cast his eyes back over the two women who had now taken glasses of champagne from a tray. Good God! Could they possibly be the same two girls with whom they had once played hide and seek? He let out a deep breath and glowered about at the rest of the guests. Many eyes were still on both Felicity and Sophia. The males with appreciation and lust burning in their eyes, while the women sent barbs sharp enough to skewer armour. Not that he was one bit surprised. The two young women, one dark as night and the other as fair as a summer day, outshone everyone else in the room.

The Kindle copy of A Bed of Wild Roses is only 99p/99c for a LIMITED TIME!

Jackie Williams

I was born in Essex England during the mid sixties but I missed all the fun. Being only young, I assumed that all Beatles were six legged creatures and Flower Power was something to do with the vigorous way my mother kneaded the bread dough.

My wonderful parents brought me up with a huge love of books. We read anything and everything. Bedtime stories were a treasured time of adventure and mystery. My sister and I sat wide eyed in wonder and to this day I worry about Dinah and Dorinda being pricked with pins because they grew so fat, and I never pull faces at the a waning moon (or was it a waxing one?) just in case my chops stay that way . (The Wind On The Moon)

I began reading romance while still at school. The fuel for many a teenage fantasy leapt from between the covers of wildly romantic books and my passion still lingers now for all those dark haired heroes.

After being challenged by my husband, my own beautiful teenage daughter persuaded me to write my first romance. She was only fourteen at the time and between books for children and adults. She couldn't find anything that ticked all her numerous and particular boxes and so she asked me to write a book, with all the exact ingredients just for her. Though not just a book for teens, she enjoyed the resulting tale so much that she shared it with her friends and I eventually published A Perfect Summer as an ebook on amazon.

But I have discovered that writing is not easily stopped once you start. It has turned into a grand passion that I just cannot hold back. The fingertips start tapping the keys and ideas suddenly come flooding, far too many for just one book and so I began another and then another, 30 books later I am still nowhere near done.

I hope you enjoy all of my efforts and I look forward to your comments and reviews.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can see what I get up to at: Romantic Suspense Books.
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  1. It is easy to take for granted how quickly we can travel around nowadays! I think if we had to go back to that way of life we would find it ever so difficult. I live in the middle of nowhere, so a pop to the shops would take a couple of hours by horse and cart! Your books sound fabulous by the way. Great excerpt and I love your cover! So romantic.

    1. CAn you imagine waiting for someone to reply to a letter or an invite...And then if they can't make it and suggest a different date! It could take weeks just to decide when to meet up.

      Thank you for the compliments on the excerpt and cover. I am really loving playing with photoshop to get the covers just howI want them. And I am really enjoying going to all the beautiful stately homes to take photographs to use.

  2. Welcome back onto the blog, Jackie! I enjoyed our chat!

  3. Now that sounds like my kind of book! Do you have a link for your jewellery business, Jackie? I would love to check it out!

    1. Glad you like the sound of the book! It's fun and flirty with a good mystery too.

      I don't have a link for my jewellery business as it was always done for trade only, however I am doing a special event for everyone, via Face Book, that you are welcome to have a look at. Lot of pictures of the things I make when not writing historical romance and mystery. If you can contact me on Face Book via the link above, I will add you to the event. Thanks for your interest and enquiry.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx