Thursday, March 1, 2018

Author Interview with Mary Lancaster

Mary Lancaster
Author of: 
Blackhaven Brides Series

1. The Blackhaven Brides Series takes place in a fashionable spa town on the Cumbrian coast; is this a real place, and have you ever visited? Why did you decide to make the Cumbrian coast the setting?
No, I confess Blackhaven is entirely made up 😊. I have travelled down that coast though, and in the Lake District. I chose the setting because I remembered it as wild and beautiful, and also because I wanted somewhere far enough away from London to be different. Bath and Brighton were both too big and fashionable for what I wanted, so I looked north instead, and then saw the possibilities in being somewhere in England close to the Scottish border and the romance of Gretna Green 😊
2. After you wrote book 1, The Wicked Baron, did you know that it would turn into a series?
I originally planned it as a 3 book series, but when I was writing The Wicked Baron, I wasn’t sure who the heroes and heroines of the sequels would be. Kate, my Wicked Lady, grew on me during the writing of The Wicked Baron and I knew she would be my next heroine. I originally had a different idea for my Wicked Rebel, but then I introduced Alban in The Wicked Lady, and itched to write about him instead. I confess I was delighted when Dragonblade, my publisher, contracted another 3 books in the series!
3. Who is your favorite couple in the series?
Oh, goodness, that’s difficult! My favourites are always the couples I’m writing about at the time! If I had to pick, I might say Alban and Arabella from The Wicked Rebel. Then again, I might change my mind tomorrow 😊
4. Which character was the hardest for you to write and why? The easiest?
I think possibly Tristram Grant from The Wicked Lady was the hardest. I’ve never written a churchman as a hero before and I wanted to make him realistic as well as a romantic hero that readers would like. In fact, at one point, I tried to make Kate’s hero someone else entirely, but it just wouldn’t work and I had to go back to Grant. He was just the perfect foil for Kate.
The easiest… maybe Lady Arabella from The Wicked Rebel because she’s a tiny bit like me: shortsighted, a little academic, and unsure of herself 😊.
5. How many books will be in this series? Do you have a set amount?
So far, I’m contracted to write 9. So there will be at least 4 more after my newest release, The Wicked Marquis.
6. How do you know who you will write about next? Are they introduced in the previous books? Do readers write to you and want to know more about specific characters? Or is there already a set plan in place for who will be in what book?
Sometimes, I’m inspired by a minor character to write about them next, like Kate of The Wicked Lady who was first in The Wicked Baron, and Alban of The Wicked Rebel who appeared first in The Wicked Lady. Other times, completely new character jump into my mind fully formed (as in The Wicked Husband), and that’s the beauty of Blackhaven because visitors to the town can come and go if they need to.
Yes, I have had emails from readers asking for a particular character’s story – including Lord Tamar who is the hero of Book 5, The Wicked Marquis. I do usually have at least a vague plan as to who should be in what book, but sometimes I do change my mind as a different character forces his or her way into my keyboard 😊
7. The covers are beautiful; do you get to help design them?
I’d love to say I had anything to do with the covers because I agree they are entirely beautiful! But in fact, they are the product of Dar Albert’s artistic genius, and Kathryn le Veque’s branding genius.
8. What is the most challenging thing you face when writing a series?
Keeping track of all the characters! Sometimes I forget and change their names or their hair colour and have to chase it up to get it right. And sometimes when I’m reading over a manuscript, I discover I’ve been lazy and called someone “Doorman” or “Miss Millowner” or “Mrs. Housekeeper”, and again have to hastily check back in other books and change them! I do try to keep a character sheet, but I’m highly disorganized – ask my family! – and often forget to update it.
9. About how long does it take you to write each book?
It depends on what else is going on in my life, and how easily the story flows. If everything is good, I can do one in as little as 3 - 4 weeks. But others have taken 2-3 months and more.
10. How much did you know about the Regency era before you started writing? Is it a challenge to research?
Well, I’ve read Jane Austen – and Georgette Heyer! – which gives me a “feel” for the era. Also, it’s a period I’ve been interested in and studied, though not always the kind of thing that’s useful in Regency romance! For example a knowledge of Napoleon or the Peninsular War doesn’t really count for much in a light romance that features largely balls and frivolity!
On the other hand, there’s a lot of stuff out there about Regency manners, language and mores, and Blackhaven itself is entirely my own baby. So compared with other books I’ve written which have taken a lot of often obscure research, I don’t find that aspect too challenging. As long as I don’t get careless 😊
11. Any advice for authors who want to write a series?
I think it’s important to be sure that the genre/subject/characters are going to keep your interest as well as your readers’ interest. These guys have to take you a long way and you have to live with them for a long time. Also, keep track of everyone and everything that’s going on, because you’re bound to forget it in time 😊
12. Any advice for writing in the Historical Romance genre?
For me, it’s a balance between keeping the story believable within its historical setting, and remembering that the romance is the most important element to readers. It’s easy to get side-tracked, one way or the other!

13. Lastly, when is the next book in the Blackhaven Brides series releasing, and do you have a title yet?
Yes! The title is The Wicked Governess - you can get a glimpse of the cover on my website, I suspect it will come out in April but I don’t have a precise date. We tend to just release them without pre-order, just as soon as they’re ready.

*About Mary Lancaster*
Mary Lancaster lives in Scotland with her husband, three mostly grown-up kids and a small, crazy dog. 
��Her first literary love was historical fiction, a genre which she relishes mixing up with romance and adventure in her own writing. Several of her novels feature actual historical characters as diverse as Hungarian revolutionaries, medieval English outlaws, and a family of eternally rebellious royal Scots. To say nothing of Vlad the Impaler.�
�Her most recent books are light, fun Regency romances written for Dragonblade Publishing: The Imperial Season series set at the Congress of Vienna; and the popular Blackhaven Brides series, which is set in a fashionable English spa town frequented by the great and the bad of Regency society.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Clarice - thanks for having me on your blog and letting me ramble about the Blackhaven Brides :) Much appreciated!


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