Happy Monday, readers! I hope you enjoyed a lovely weekend! I am excited to welcome a new author to Austenesque Reviews today, Carolyn Miller! Carolyn, has written several Regency romances and is a fan of both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. (She is definitely our kind of people!) Today Carolyn shares with us a little about her writing journey and how we can see some Jane Austen influences in her novels. 🙂
I like to think I’ve always been a fan of Jane Austen, but it’s not really true. (How scandalous!) But in fairness, I have to say I don’t think encouraging high schoolers to study Mansfield Park in necessarily the best introduction to appreciating the joys of Jane Austen. Fortunately, my librarian’s mother’s persistence in ensuring her daughters watched the films and TV adaptations of the 1990s helped bring Jane Austen’s books and the Regency era alive, and as I grew older I gained a new appreciation for the wit and mastery of the language, the way so much could be said in just a glance, and a love for the manners and general swoon-worthiness of big houses (!), fancy gardens (!), and heroes of good looks and great amiability. (Apart from Mr. Darcy’s initial frostiness, of course, but he is – and always will be – the exception!)
As someone who perhaps longed to live in these times a little too much I suppose it was inevitable that I would one day write a story based in the Regency era. My writing journey started with contemporary stories, after I watched the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics and wondered why an Australian girl was walking into the arena holding hands with a US athlete. What was their story? Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find out, so I made it up. Thus began a very long journey to publication as I honed my craft through entering online writing contests and taking on feedback, among which came the realization that US publishers aren’t so interested in stories with Australian characters or settings, so perhaps I should write something they were interested in: historical romance.
So I kept writing, a Regency romance this time, something I hoped could blend the wonderful wit and memorable characters I love in Georgette Heyer’s Regency-era novels, with the social mores and subtlety of Jane Austen, along with my own Australian sensibility, and desire to write stories offering hope. I kept entering contests and started finaling and eventually gained the attention of a US agent, who agreed to represent this little Aussie (yay!), and eventually found me a US publishing home (double yay!).
The Elusive Miss Ellison, an inspirational Regency romance with shades of Pride and Prejudice, became the first of my Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series, published by Kregel Publications. Last year was a wild ride with my author debut, then seeing two more books release, all while juggling writing, editing and learning more about the joys of marketing. A second series (Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope) is being published in 2018, with the first of these, Winning Miss Winthrop, releasing in March this year.
Winning Miss Winthrop is something of a homage to Persuasion, which vies with Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Jane Austen. I love the angst of poor Anne Elliot, the way the social niceties of the day force her to hide her pain as she suffers from the thoughtlessness of those around her, the way she patiently holds true to her values even as all hope (and love) seems lost. And how can you not love someone like Captain Wentworth, unable to ever find Anne’s equal – especially when he looks like Rupert Penry Jones?
I wanted to create a similar character to sweet Anne, and so Catherine Winthrop was born, the eldest daughter of a Baron, who, after a family tragedy, is led to scandal-breathing Bath, a masquerade, and many misunderstandings, before finally being reunited with the man she thought lost. Ah, true love…
In 2015 I was extremely blessed to visit my sister in England, managing to see several places I’ve only ever dreamed about—or ‘seen’ in books, films or TV- and of course, my first port of call had to be Bath. A visit to this World Heritage-listed town, filled with grand Georgian buildings and cobblestoned streets, helps understand the need for sedan chairs instead of carriages (many streets are steep), whilst ‘taking the waters’ at the Pump Room and seeing the Assembly rooms gives new insight into Austen’s references to such activities in her novels—and also adding greater authenticity to my own work, as does a visit to the Jane Austen Centre (and enjoying high tea there ‘with Mr. Darcy’). I have a page on my website about my time there: www.carolynmillerauthor.com/a-trip-to-bath which is a fun way to connect a little more with some of the scenes mentioned in Winning Miss Winthrop.
Here’s the blurb for Winning Miss Winthrop:
Catherine Winthrop is almost at her last prayers, rejected years ago by the man who stole her heart. When tragedy brings him back into her life, she must suffer further grief in silence, amid her family’s pain and hostility, which eventually sends her to seek solace in Bath.
Jonathan Carlew might be wealthy, but the mystery surrounding his birth has shadowed his life, bringing fresh challenges as he takes on the Barony. Caught between appeasing the Winthrop family’s concerns and doing what he could to salvage their failing estate, he must also weigh the echoes of the past with the demands of his new responsibilities.
Two hearts must decide whether present speculation will condemn them to the dust of their memories, or if the whispers of forgiveness can provide freedom for the future.
About the Author
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop and Miss Serena’s Secret, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.
Connect with Carolyn
Today Carolyn thoughtfully brings with her an ebook copy of Winning Miss Winthrop for me to give away to ONE lucky reader!!
To enter this giveaway, leave a question, a comment, or some love for Carolyn below!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Carolyn!
- This giveaway ends August 27th!