I first met Janice Preston in 2012 at my first Birmingham meeting of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I didn’t know anyone attending and was lurking at the bottom of the library steps trying to spot someone who looked like a romantic novelist. I nervously approached Janice and it turned out it was her first meeting too. We’ve been friends ever since.
Janice Preston writes emotional, sensual and satisfying Regency romance for Mills & Boon / Harlequin Historicals, with her seventh book due for publication on 1st October 2017.
Janice grew up in Wembley with a love of reading, writing stories and animals and has worked as a dairy farmer, a police call-handler and a university administrator. She has two children and two step-children (all now adult) and a gorgeous, cheeky grandson, with a granddaughter due shortly.
She now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and two cats, and enjoys reading, swimming, pottering about the garden when the sun is shining, and travelling when she can spare the time from weaving romantic tales set in the past.
I asked Janice some questions:-
Why did you originally want to write Regency romance?
First and foremost it was because I love the books of both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. When my children left home for university, I reread all the Heyer books and then began to look around for other novels set in the ‘long’ Regency (approx. 1790-1830) as by then I’d fallen in love with everything about that era – its etiquette and its distinctive fashion, architecture and décor provide a perfect setting for a romance and it was also a time of great social upheaval, on the brink of the industrial revolution and with the war against France plus huge advances in the arts and science. When I decided to write my own romance it just felt natural to set it in the Regency.
How are the heroines of your books like you?
Ooh, that’s a difficult one. I suppose every character has something of the writer in them and I find the trick to making characters individual is to give them traits I don’t really possess. For instance, Thea, the heroine of Scandal and Miss Markham (out in October) is bouncy, irrepressible and impulsive – most unlike me as I am quite a cautious person. But my heroines are also strong-minded with a broad streak of common sense and a belief in fair play and justice, and I think those traits come from me.
How do you decide your characters’ names?
I have a dictionary of first names, and I try to choose names that would have been around in the Regency as far as possible (so no Chardonnays!) and I also have the Oxford book of English Surnames to trigger ideas. Graveyards are excellent sources of inspiration, and can throw up surprises. I recently saw a child’s grave – I think he died around 1814, from memory – and he was called Garthon. Before, if I’d read a Regency with a hero called Garth I’d have scoffed at it as it sounds so American, so it pays to keep your eyes open.
It takes time, sometimes, to find suitable names for my hero and heroine – they have to ‘feel’ right – and it’s complicated by the need to find titles for some of the characters in addition to their names! I often use place names for the titles (eg Duke of Cheriton, from Cheriton Bishop in Devon). I choose minor characters’ names to fit around the main two protagonists so they don’t all end up starting with the same letter. I find that happens all too often if I don’t pay attention.
If you had to choose a cast for the film of one of your books, which actors would take the leading roles?
I tend to imagine my characters first in my head and then I struggle to find any photos to match my vision, which is what happened for the first two books in the Beauchamp Betrothals trilogy. But as I did, for once, have specific people in mind for the 3rd book in the trilogy before I even started writing it, I’ve included them too!
- Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton – Matt Bomer
- Rosalind Allen – Jennifer Aniston
- Lord Vernon Beauchamp – a young Clint Eastwood
- Dorothea Markham (Thea) – I don’t know who this is, but she’s perfect for Thea!
Cecily’s story (as yet untitled, but Zach is a gipsy and Cecily is ‘Lady Perfect’
- Zachary Graystoke – Aidan Turner
- Lady Cecily Beauchamp – Kate Winslett (as Rose in Titanic)
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
More about the Beauchamp family! Cinderella and the Duke (July 2017) and Scandal and Miss Markham (October 2017) are the first two books in a series about the Beauchamps – and the family has also appeared in some of my earlier books, as I love reading books where ‘old friends’ pop up, so when I began to write, that is what I decided to do.
The Beauchamp series is actually two closely linked trilogies – The Beauchamp Betrothals and The Beauchamp Heirs. I have just completed Cecily’s story, which is the third book of The Beauchamp Betrothals (about the three Beauchamp siblings) and am currently biting my nails hoping my editor likes it! I shall be writing The Beauchamp Heirs trilogy (about Leo’s three adult children –Dominic, Alexander and Olivia) next.
Also, I have received lots of requests from readers over the years to write about this or that secondary character, so there is no shortage of ideas.
Thank you very much for allowing me onto your blog, Morton, and for asking such thought-provoking questions! Very interesting answers, Janice.
Falling for a duke in disguise
Never welcomed into society circles, Rosalind Allen gave up her marriage prospects long ago – life has taught her she’ll only get hurt. So she’s shocked when an encounter with a mysterious stranger makes her long to reconsider.
Little does Rosalind know that her mystery man is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, travelling in disguise to evade the ladies of the ton! Impoverished Rosalind is the first woman to captivate Leo – but can he persuade this wary Cinderella to trust him with her heart?
A scandalous journey!
Glassmaker’s daughter Thea Markham is devastated when her brother Daniel goes missing. Then a mysterious lord turns up asking questions about Daniel and offers to find him.
Unsure she can trust the handsome peer, Thea dresses up as a boy and follows him!
Lord Vernon Beauchamp feels his life lacks direction. Meeting Thea gives him a renewed purpose and when they are thrown together on their scandalous adventure, friendship soon gives way to desire…
Buy Link http://mybook.to/ScandalAndMissM
If you’d like to know more about Janice and her books, please visit her website at www.janicepreston.co.uk , connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Janice.preston.author or follow her on Twitter @janicegpreston
GIVEAWAY! – I’m excited that Janice is offering an ebook or signed paperback of winner’s choice of Cinderella and the Duke or Scandal and Miss Markham. Just ‘Like’ her Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/Janice.preston.author, then comment on this post. (If you‘ve already liked her page, you can still enter – just leave a comment below).
A winner will be picked at random on Sunday, 20th August.
Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. My novel The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available from all ebook platforms – Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.