Hi folks! I’m very excited to introduce my next guest, Regency Romance Author Barbara Monajem. She has an amazing backlist of Regency books that any reader would fall in love with. Check out her Amazon Author Page.
The Regency period (early 1800’s) was a time of turmoil — wars, manufacturing, fashion and let us not forget, “manners.” I’m by far no expert, so lets turn over the MIC to someone who is…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she’s writing historical and paranormal romance for grownups. She lives in Georgia, USA, with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.
Hi,Barbara. Welcome to Wicked Romance and a spotlight we call Author Open MIC.
Thank you for having me here today, Jean.
How did you get into writing? Was it something you were born with or did you discover your hidden talent?
My mother read to me a lot when I was very young, and I was hooked right away on making up my own stories. The first one I remember writing was in third grade. It was about some gnomes that lived in an apple tree. The teacher praised the first chapter so much that I got a terrible case of nerves—I hated being the focus of attention (still do)—and gave it a boring sort of ending on purpose. I still struggle with endings, but now that’s because I try to get them right. 🙂
Tell us a little about the time period you write about, England in the early 1800s. What attracted you to write about this time and what is special about it?
I became interested in writing Regency-era romances after reading Georgette Heyer’s novels. It’s a fun period to write about—long enough ago that it feels different from today, but not too terribly distant. I’m not interested in writing about present-day reality (there’s plenty of that around us!), so I write either historical or paranormal romances…or a combination, in the case of my two new releases, which are Regencies with more than a touch of magic.
What is the single, most important element when writing a historical novel? What do you find most challenging?
Hmm. I like to be accurate (except when it comes to magic, when anything goes), but I’m not a historian, and I’m not willing to spend a huge amount of time on research. I enjoy research, but it’s time-consuming, and I like writing much more. That’s one reason I’ve stuck to the Regency period so far—I know it fairly well, and there are lots of resources out there to help a non-historian like me. It can be quite a challenge to balance historical accuracy with what readers want—such as women who are able and willing to be independent and go against the rules. There have always been independent women, but many freedoms we have today simply weren’t available, especially if a woman wanted to be accepted by society. I think that’s why so many Regencies are about women who break out of the mold. It’s fun writing about heroes who love these independent women.
Can you describe the clothing that your characters wear in your novel? Are there any challenges when writing love scenes, fight scenes etc..?
One of the challenges when writing a love scene is getting the heroine’s clothes off. Women wore many more layers then, and the hero meets hindrances such as stays, which require a lot of unlacing. (Of course, this can make for some very sexy interaction.) Also, the heroine usually needs help getting her clothes on—whether it’s the hero helping (which is fun) or her maid (which means an extra character when you don’t necessarily want one).
I haven’t written many fight scenes. Usually my heroes are the rough and ready sort when it comes to fights and know how to deal with an opponent quickly. It might be fun to learn about fencing, though—I love reading about swordplay.
Tell us about the characters in each of your books. Are they compatible or is it the attraction of opposites that fuels their passion?
In The Magic of His Touch, the hero and heroine are very compatible, although it takes a while for the heroine to believe it. In Bewitched by His Kiss, they’re diametrically opposed to one another, and the heroine struggles to resist the attraction—and the belief that they belong together—until the very end.
I understand there is a paranormal element– magic. How does it play in your story?
The magic in my duet of Regency novellas has to do with an ancient May Day custom. At dawn on the first of May, a woman who rolls naked in the dew will magically call her true love to her side. Just imagine the possibilities! So much could go wrong…or right!
What are you cooking up next? What can readers expect?
Right now, I’m working on another duet of Regency novellas with a Christmas/Twelfth Night theme. I’m also working on some contemporary paranormal romances in my Bayou Gavotte vampire series—a novel and a novella. Hopefully I’ll have one of those out soon.
Where can readers find you and your books?
My website has links to all my books, with blurbs and excerpts. www.BarbaraMonajem.com
I’m on Twitter at @BarbaraMonajem and on Facebook at facebook.com/Barbara.Monajem
Open MIC FAV FIVE:
- Favorite hero or heroine -This list changes and grows from day to day. I like the Scarlet Pimpernel, Captain Jack Sparrow, Beauvallet (an Elizabethan hero written by Georgette Heyer), Marcus Didius Falco (a Roman private eye of sorts in the mysteries by Lindsey Davis), Sherlock Holmes as played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and Doctor Who. And that’s just for starters. Favorite heroine – Cordelia in Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold and Venetia Lanyon in Venetia (one of Heyer’s Regencies).
- Favorite author– there are too many to list, but I’ve re-read more books by Georgette Heyer than by any other author, so I guess that says something!
- Favorite music to write by– None. Usually, I ignore everything that’s going on in the background. I’m a big Paul McCartney fan, though. I wrote a children’s fantasy while playing some of his CDs.
- Favorite inspiration– Right now, it’s ancient magic. Next, who knows? I like to be surprised.
- Most memorable writing moment– I don’t remember!
Book 1, The Magic of His Touch
Tired of being paraded before every eligible bachelor, Peony Whistleby decides it’s time to find her true love—through the ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day morning. But the magic goes awry when she is caught in the act—and by an entirely unsuitable man. And yet, the way his eyes linger upon her flesh ignites a sensual craving that can only be satisfied by his touch…
The Magic of His Touch (available April 1):
Bewitched by His Kiss
Lucasta Barnes knows the folly believing in magic can lead to—and she won’t accept that her illicit tryst with a notorious rake was the result of anything more than pure lust. Or that it has bonded them together forever. Yet, she can’t deny that she yearns for just one more night in his arms…
David, Earl of Elderwood, is used to women being enchanted by him, but ever since a passionate encounter with Lucasta three years ago, he desires only her. How can he convince his thoroughly practical paramour that love is the greatest magic of all?
Bewitched by His Kiss (available May 1):
Excerpt from The Magic of His Touch:
“Get up! Get dressed!”
Peony froze in mid-roll. A strange man bounded toward her, gesturing, his voice low but urgent. She scrambled to her feet, a shriek catching in her throat.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, but he kept on coming. Her heart clambering into her gullet, she tried to cover herself with her hands.
“Who— What—” She couldn’t get a word out.
“Don’t stand there like an idiot, girl! I already know what you look like naked.” A blush crowded up her neck and burned her cheeks. “Get your clothes on, and be quick about it.” With brisk, shooing motions he herded her toward the hawthorn where she’d left her shift and gown.
Anger swelled up, overcoming her fear. How dare he order her about? “Go away,” she said, hating how her voice trembled as she fled before him. “What are you doing here? You have no right.” A little way round the circle of meadow, she spied a horse, cropping the grass at the edge of the wood.
“You should be thankful I’m here,” he said, stopping several feet away when she reached the hawthorn. “I don’t know what foolishness you’re up to, but clearly your lover isn’t coming, and—”
“No, because you spoiled everything,” she said. Her hair had fallen out of its ribbon and stuck wetly to her face. She clawed it away, wanting to hit him. Her chance at finding love was gone. “Go away!”
He folded his arms and just stood there, scowling—and looking at her as if, underneath that frown, he was enjoying himself. “Not until you put your clothes on and be off home where you belong.”
Another flush overwhelmed her, this time of shame and misery, as she realized what he meant. He thought she’d come out here to tryst with some likely village lad, as if she were a scullery maid. And who was he, anyway? She’d never seen him before. He was dressed like a gentleman and spoke like one, too, but he didn’t belong here.
“Who gave you the right to order me about?” she demanded. “This is private land.”
His eyes widened. “You silly little fool, I’m trying to protect you. I traveled here with a friend. To him, a naked woman is a blatant invitation. You’re lucky it’s I who came upon you and not he.”
She grabbed her shift and turned it right side out. “Stop staring at me.”
“You’re a beautiful girl without any clothes on,” he said. “I wouldn’t be much of a man if I didn’t stare.”
Excerpt from Bewitched by His Kiss:
Setup: It’s late at night, and Lucasta, our heroine, fears that her cousin Peony has gone rolling naked in the dew again. She bumps into Lord Elderwood on the way out to check on her.
“Shall we go verify that Peony is safe?” Lord Elderwood’s voice was a silky dare.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Lucasta retorted. “Alexis is a gentleman through and through.” Unlike Elderwood, who would take advantage of a woman with or without clothing. She remembered leaving the future to fate and shivered. No, this meeting was pure chance. Nothing else.
That didn’t stop every nerve in her body from coming alive and afire.
The path through the wood appeared like magic. No, not magic—just luck that they’d found it easily in the dark. She hastened onward. “But for her safety, I must make certain he is with her.”
Elderwood laughed. From ahead came a startled squeak, stifled immediately. Urgent whispers stretched toward them, ghostly and unintelligible. Peony was talking to someone, but she didn’t sound frightened, and she hadn’t had time to disrobe. It must truly be Alexis, thank heavens. He was a reassuring sort of man. He would convince her to keep her clothes on. He would make sure she returned to the house safely.
Elderwood laughed again. “Come now, my love. Tell the truth. Don’t you want to know what Alexis is doing with your cousin?”
“Damn you,” she said too loudly, whirling back toward the orchard. She lowered her voice. “Stop laughing, for God’s sake. Have you no discretion?”
A muffled snort came from directly behind her. He must be close enough to touch her and intending to do so.
“Stupid question,” she muttered. She was at his mercy, or rather at the mercy of her own rampaging desires. She hurried forward, clutching the pistol close so he couldn’t get it, but suddenly the path petered into nothing. She must have mistaken the way in the dark; she dodged the other direction, around a massive oak she’d passed on the way in.
Blocked again, this time by a wall of undergrowth and a closed rank of trees. She whirled again and stumbled.
Lord Elderwood caught her. “Dear, dear,” he said. “Are we lost?”
“Where did the path go?” she burst out. “It was right here. I’m sure of it.”
“And now it isn’t,” Elderwood said, one arm strong around her, the other plucking the muff pistol from her hand.
She moaned. “That makes no sense at all.”
He took her chin in his hands and tipped it up. His eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. “It does, if you believe in magic.”
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