Thanks for having me as your guest, Merrie. I’m happy to be on Inspired Writers.
I am a Californian and love the West…the ocean, the mountains and the weather. For many years I practiced law, but in recent years I decided to take a break and do something more creative. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in government gave me a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. My love of historical romance led me to write a story set in Paris and London in the Regency period (early 19th century). That story was Racing with the Wind. And then I wrote 6 more Regencies.
After I wrote my first novel, I had this idea for the story of a courageous, strong-willed young woman who would live through the aftermath of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. I kept wondering what a feisty maiden would do when her country was conquered, her beloved father was killed at Hastings and she and her lands were given to a Norman knight. She would rebel, of course!
I knew from the historical record that English heiresses were given to Normans after the Conquest, so I was writing a story that could have occurred. It was an adventure to dive into the 11th century and try to bring it alive for readers. It wasn't all a pretty picture, to be sure. William the Conqueror was a brutal king who treated his enemies despicably. But the knights in my story, The Red Wolf's Prize, are of a noble bent, inclined to pay homage to womanhood, even if the hero does lust after the heroine. I wanted to sweep readers away to that time and let them fall in love with a knight.
You and I both share a love of writing historical romance novels. What draws you to the medieval period?
Funny you should ask. I wrote an article for USA Today’s HEA column on the allure of medieval romance (http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/10/07/regan-walker-red-wolfs-prize-medieval-romance/16862927/). I am drawn to the medieval period and specifically to England because life was in some ways simpler; the men, except for peasants, were trained to be warriors, and in England, many became knights. It was a tumultuous time full of intrigue, treachery and changes in rulers. As for the Conquest period in the 11th century, imagine an entire country being taken over by another people with a different language, and different laws and customs—most of them armed warrior knights. To consider love in such a time fascinates me. My current plans are to write two more in the trilogy and then do a new series in medieval Scotland.
How much time would you say have you spent researching for your novels?
Though it varies for each book, to say I spend hundreds of hours doing research for a novel is probably about right. Even my Regencies have real history and real historical characters. To get that right requires in depth research—for each story.
Do you write from an outline or do you let the story take you where it wants to go?
I hated outlines in school, so no. Perhaps it was all those years as a disciplined lawyer, but I prefer to write as the story comes to me. Generally I begin with the hero and heroine and the first scenes, which I usually get pretty quickly. Then I let the history and the characters lead me. It’s the middle of the book that is my greatest challenge—keeping the action going and the reader engaged while the couple is falling in love.
As a reader and a writer, what do you look for when judging if a story is good?
I should probably tell you I am a reviewer with over 750 reviews on Amazon and I’m a top 1% reviewer on Goodreads. Historical Romance Review is my blog http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/). My goal is to help lovers of historical romance find the good ones. So what do I look for? Authentic historical setting, preferably including real history, well drawn characters, a noble alpha male hero, a heroine with intelligence and courage and a well-written story that grabs me and doesn’t let go.
If you were not a writer what do you think you'd be doing for a living?
That’s hard to say since I had another, major career first, but it would not be that kind of career again. I’d go for simple.
Do you have any words of wisdom for any new or aspiring writers?
I’ve been asked that a lot. I think the most important thing is to write the book…finish it. And get some critical eyes on it, not those of your best friend. Critique partners, beta readers and a good editor are very helpful. They’ll tell you if you’ve got it right and how to improve it.
Any new or exciting projects coming up that we can look forward to seeing from you?
Well, before I return to my Medieval Warriors trilogy, I must finish the prequel to my Agents of the Crown trilogy, To Tame the Wind. It’s what I’m writing now.
Think of a blond Errol Flynn capturing that which his enemy holds most dear. The heroine, Claire Donet, is the convent-raised daughter of a French pirate. The hero, Simon Powell, is an English privateer who will hold her for ransom to regain his men and ship. The waters between France and England will roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea and spies lurk in Paris. Sound exciting?
How can my readers connect with you or learn more about your books?
I’m very active on Facebook, Goodreads and my blog. My website has my books and my homemade trailers, too. Here are my links:
Historical Romance Review blog:
Amazon Author Page:
And The Red Wolf’s Prize on Amazon—I do hope your followers read it!:
The Red Wolf's Prize
Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them.
SHE WOULD LOVE HIM AGAINST HER WILL
Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.
Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.
As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?
“An engrossing love story grounded in meticulous research. Regan Walker makes the transition from Regency London to Anglo Norman England with consummate ease.” Glynn Holloway, author of 1066 What Fates Impose
“Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. There is intrigue, action and a beautifully developed romance." Vickie Moore, The Reading Cafe
Sneak Peak from the Book
Serena gasped and pulled the cloth over her breasts and belly, keenly aware her legs were bare for anyone to see.
The Red Wolf stepped into the chamber, his piercing gray gaze sliding over her body and coming to rest where her breasts strained against the thin cloth. She could feel the heat of her blush as she looked down to see the drying cloth clinging to her wet skin.
Without saying a word, he turned to the side and took off his belt. Then, with a grunt, he pulled his mail over his head and struggled out of his tunic. She would have offered to help had she not been so scantily clad. Had she not been so shy of his disrobing before her.
When his tunic slid to the floor, she nervously asked, “What do you intend, my lord?”
“I should think that was obvious, my lady. I am claiming my bride.”
“Now?” She gripped the drying cloth more tightly to her still damp body. The long strands of her pale hair, wet from the bath, clung to her skin. No man had ever seen her in such a state.
“Yes, now.” His eyes considered her carefully, and he shook his head. “God knows I’ve left it overlong.”
While still staring at her, he shed his spurs and boots and doffed his linen shirt, leaving his chest bare and his lower body clad in only hosen and braies. He was a beautiful man with his bronze skin and muscled chest. Her eyes were drawn to the white cloth circling his upper arm.
“Your wound,” she said, as she focused on the white bandage around his upper arm. The wound from the arrow he took for Jamie. How could she not love such a man?
“Aye.” He glanced down at the bandage. “My token from the siege at Exeter.”
“Does it pain you?”
His gray eyes narrowed intently. “If you are asking if it will impair my performance in our bed, nay.”