Join me in conversation with
Historical Fiction author,
Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to Historical Fiction author,
Jayne, could you tell my readers a little about yourself!
I’ve wanted to write novels since I was in school, but only got around to taking it seriously 40 years later, after having been an engineer, a teacher and a publisher of school text books. After the last ‘proper’ job I went freelance and earned a living writing textbooks for over ten years before the fiction bug gripped me. I write under Jayne Davis, rather than my real name, as I don’t think school science and historical romance would help to sell each other.
I live in a village just north of Bristol, in England, with a partner and a garden, but no cat. If I’m not writing or weeding, I’ve got my nose in a book, or I’m skiving off by cycling or walking in the local countryside.
No cat?! How can you be a writer and not have a cat? Actually, I don’t have a cat either! On a more serious note, what inspired you to write Sauce for the Gander?
I got hooked on Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as a teenager, and I’ve always wanted to write that kind of story. When my friends found out I had published a novel, they were all surprised I wasn’t writing science fiction or thrillers.
My latest book, Sauce for the Gander, is the first in The Marstone Series, a set of standalone stories linked by the character of Will, who will become the Earl of Marstone in later books. It was an interesting plot to develop, as I already have a rough draft of Book 3, in which Will is an important secondary character. So I knew where the character had to end up, which gave me the non-romance parts of the plot. Book 3 is nearly ready for editing, but won’t see the light of day until I’ve published Book 2 – which is still just ideas at the moment. My aim for future books is to be more organised and write them in the correct order!
Your series sounds amazing. What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?
My first book, The Mrs MacKinnons, is set in 1800. Sauce for the Gander is set in 1777, and The Marstone Series will span the time up to around 1800. A lot of my initial feel for the era came from reading Georgette Heyer’s novels—she is widely regarded as having done meticulous research. There are also a lot of general books about the period, thanks in part to fans of Jane Austen.
I am also interested in the Peninsular War, 1809-1814, and hope to write stories based on soldiers in that war, or returning from it. There are many accounts written by officers, and quite a few by private soldiers. I have also been extravagant and been on a battlefield tours holiday, with an expert guide. It makes a huge difference to understanding what happened to see the locations.
My main challenge is having too many research books to read—my TBR pile for non-fiction is growing. Having a liking for second hand bookshop encourages this; my favourite is the old cinema shop in Hay on Wye.
I know the feeling with regards to the TBR pile! There are many books about Georgian and Regency England. Can you tell us three things that set your novels apart?
Many of the romances set in this period have a titled hero, frequently a duke. And quite often these dukes have friends who are also dukes. There really were never very many dukes at any one time, let alone all of them being single, rich and attractive men of the right age for romance! So one thing I am trying to make different is to not have all my heroes as high-ranking aristocrats. Some will be, but hopefully many will not.
I’m also trying to follow the lead of some of the best authors in the genre, and write a story that really might have happened in that time period. Too many stories in the genre are fairly modern romances but with heroines in long dresses.
For my third thing—I try to have characters on my cover wearing clothing reasonably close to the correct period. This is not easy, unless you have a huge budget for commissioned photos.
The more I hear about your book the more I want to read it! Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I should be working on Book 2 of The Marstone Series, but while I was on a walking holiday in Wales last autumn, I got to thinking about a few Regencies where our heroine is threatened with being sent to their aunt in Wales as some kind of punishment. I wondered what would happen if the aunt was not a dragon, and the next miles were taken up with working out the basics of what will become a novella called An Embroidered Spoon.
I’ve just finished A Winning Trick, which is a 20,000 word novella that is effectively an extended epilogue to Sauce for the Gander. It will be free (ebook only) to readers who join my mailing list.
Sauce for the Gander
A duel. An ultimatum. An arranged marriage.
Will, Viscount Wingrave, whiles away his time gambling and bedding married women, thwarted in his wish to serve his country by his controlling father.
News that his errant son has fought a duel with a jealous husband is the last straw for the Earl of Marstone. He decrees that Will must marry. The earl’s eye lights upon Connie Charters, unpaid housekeeper and drudge for a poor but socially ambitious father who cares only for the advantage her marriage could bring him.
Will and Connie meet for the first time at the altar. But Connie wants a husband who will love and respect her, not a womaniser and a gambler.
Their new home, on the wild coast of Devonshire, conceals dangerous secrets that threaten them and the nation. Can Will and Connie overcome the forces against them and forge a happy life together?
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Jayne Davis writes historical romances set in the late Georgian/Regency era, published as both ebooks and paperbacks.
She was hooked on Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as a teenager, and longed to write similar novels herself. Real life intervened, and she had several careers, including as a non-fiction author under another name. That wasn't quite the writing career she had in mind...
Finally, she got around to polishing up stories written for her own amusement in long winter evenings, and became the kind of author she’d dreamed of in her teens. She is now working on the first few books in the Marstone Series, set in the late Georgian/early Regency period.