I’ve begun a Wednesday weekly post to present interviews with authors across all romance genres. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones? I plan to change up my questions (most of them at least) every three months or so, just to keep the interviews lively.
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, I am extremely pleased to have Lindsay Downs as my guest. I met Lindsay originally thourgh Six Sentence Sunday, I believe, when I was reading some of his contemporary suspense novels, all of which had a collie dog in them. I love collies, and we became fast friends. I got to meet Lindsay at the 2015 RWA Convention in New York, and we had an absolute blast!
I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.
So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers.
My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.
My favourite was regency. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to attempt.
Since 2012 when my debut regency romantic suspense released I was hooked and have, except for a few contemporaries, focused on this genre.
Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and the Austin, TX chapter.
Where you can find me-
Facebook Pages- http://tinyurl.com/nresq5j
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://tinyurl.com/kvfz468
So without further ado, please meet Lindsay Downs!
I’ll start out, as always with my favorite question :
Who was the first romance author and book you read?
It was Angelique by the French author, actually a husband and wife team, Sergeanne Golon. This was sometime in the mid-seventies. I read several of their books and enjoyed them immensely. It wasn’t until much later, the late 1990’s that I discovered Jane Austen.
Who has been the greatest influence on your writing?
I don’t think I can limit my answer to this question with one name. I guess to start with, once again I return to Jane Austen. Having read numerous regencies were, IMHO, sex was the primary driving force she showed me love and the story, the interaction between the primary characters, was what matters. Once I started writing regency I took her approach to the story.
Next I would say my editors, in particularly the lady who did the edits on my self-published books. And finally, but definitely not last-receiving rejection emails from various publishers. They showed me where my weaknesses were so I could improve.
Who or what inspires your writing?
Is there really a simple answer to this question Jenna? For me, I think not except to say, I am an addict. No, not hooked on illegal or even legal drugs or alcohol but writing. I have to write. It is what I look forward to when I wake in the morning and I’m thinking about the next chapter or scene when I drift off to sleep at night. Eating and the, yes I know I’m bad, the occasional cigarette are the only interruptions in my writing process. That and the requisite trip every day to my local Starbucks for coffee.
Which of your own books is your favorite and why?
Currently I have something like sixteen (16) regencies released with seven (7) more scheduled for this year. That doesn’t include the two (2) out to publishers. Of all of them my most favorite and most challenging is The Blind Viscount. This one is Book Four in The Radcliffe Family series. Up until this one I have had the hero or heroine suffering an affliction; be it amnesia, a broken leg or missing part of an arm. In all of those cases the writing of the story was pretty straight forward. It wasn’t until I decided to have the hero blind did I hit a wall. What could, couldn’t he do? How would he get about in London, a townhouse, Hyde Park, a ball? How would the other members of the ton react to him not hiding away at his estate?
Fortunately, I have the greatest first round beta-reader who I found in The Beau Monde group, an online chapter of RWA, to assist me. I believe it will always stay with me as my favorite.
If you could have one wish granted just for you (not world peace, LOL), what would you wish for?
Let’s review some of my options- Health- I’m alive so not really. USAToday, NYT and PW bestselling author- that will come when the time is right. Be a better author- I’m getting better so no. Publish with a large house- mayhap when I am a lot better than I am now. Those are a few possibilities but when I think about it, there is one wish I would like to make, for however long it is feasible-to wake up every day and go do the best job in the world. Be a multi-published author. As someone once said, if you have a job you love you will never work a day in your life. That’s what I have, a job I love.
What is your biggest regret?
“Regrets, I’ve had a few; But then again, too few to mention.” as Ol’ Blue Eyes once crooned.
I’ve had them and still do but to pin down that one which could be considered my “biggest regret”. I wish I had embraced writing the regency period much earlier.
Who is your favorite non-romance genre author? What is your favorite book of theirs?
I would have to say, Agatha Christie. As for my favorite of her books, any of the Miss Marple books.
Now, tell us a little bit about one of your books.
With 16 released how do I select one to tell you about. I don’t. Instead I’ll briefly mention my next release, To Save a Lady. It is the first book in the Lady Jolene Mystery series which is set in 1835 England. King George IV, formerly known as Prince Regent or Prinny, is dead. William IV sits on the throne and Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent is two years from taking the throne.
Lady Jolene Markson is the oldest daughter to the Earl and Countess of Hampshire, formally Viscount and Viscountess of Hampshire. If you aren’t familiar with them they hunted traitors, spies and murderers in the Markson Regency Mystery series. Even before being presented to court Lady Jolene takes of the mantle of helping to keep England safe.
In closing I will say she does have, on occasion, a very interesting employer.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
Tea or coffee?
Beach or mountains?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii, Vegas or London?
What’s the one thing you would never do?
Drive a race car
I could sit here asking questions all day! But thank you so much, Lindsay, for being my guest today. Now, let’s give the audience a taste of your novel: Love at First Sight.
Once the music ended he bowed to her curtsey, assisted her up, and, with her hand settled on his arm, guided her to the settees set aside for her and the other ladies. Never having been in a situation such as this, he wasn’t sure where his place was. He saw that Warren, Nash, and Justin were standing behind their wives. Oliver stepped around and took his place, resting his hand lightly on Patience’s shoulder.
“This way we may keep an eye out for any gentlemen who might wish to dance with our wives. We are very protective of them in this type of situation which they greatly appreciate,” Nash explained.
“And we tend to be the same way outside of social settings as our husbands tend to get into mischief at times,” Amelia chimed in.
“Not to mention, as you will plainly notice, we make sure our friends remain safe from intruders. For example, Viscount Clifton who is attempting to make his way here,” Warren said.
Under his hand, Oliver could sense his Patience’s shoulder tense. This told him she was aware of the man’s approach. He leaned over.
“Fear not, for he won’t do anything without causing a stir, and I’m here to protect you,” he whispered.
“I know and thank you.”
No sooner had she spoken than the man stepped up.
“My dear Patience…” was all he managed to say before being interrupted.
“Sir, you have never been introduced to Lady Patience. As such, you have never been given permission to use any form of endearment to her. Apologize at once then be gone from our sight,” Oliver demanded.
“I am Viscount Clifton, and who might you be, you crippled upstart?”
“Viscount Oxfordshire and Lady Patience’s escort. Unlike you, who will always remain a viscount, someday I will be Earl of Condiff. Now depart before I call for footmen to remove you,” he ordered.
Oliver could sense Patience attempt to rise, and for the briefest of moments considered not allowing her to, then changed his mind. He removed his hand from her shoulder.
She stood. “The viscount does have a slight disability, but he is more of a gentleman than you could ever be.” She retook her seat.
With a hidden smile, Oliver studied the man as he huffed and puffed, most likely in an attempt to come up with a reply. Oliver then noticed two burly footmen step up behind the viscount.
When the man didn’t move, Oliver nodded to the footmen, who took the viscount by the arms and easily removed him. He was more than pleased when they took the man out of the ballroom via the main staircase. That permitted everyone to witness his undignified departure.
“Dearest friend, shall we go to the ladies’ retiring room so you may collect yourself and thoughts,” Ida asked.
Oliver started to come around to the front to help her stand, but a hand stopped him. Turning his head to Warren, who shook his head, Oliver then understood this was a ladies’ thing and not to get involved. He was amazed when not only Ida but Prudence and Amelia stood and accompany Patience away as well.
Shunned by most the ladies of the ton, in particularly those of marriageable age not to mention many of the gentlemen Oliver, Viscount Oxfordshire retired to his estate. There he bred, raised and trained the best horses in all of England.
An unexpected visit from the Earl and Countess of Rosewood upsets his life when they invited him to join them in London. Reluctantly he accepted warning them that no lady would give him a second look.
At a dinner party held by his sister Oliver meets Lady Patience. As their affections for each other grow, so do veiled and not so veiled threats.
With several former rakehells and their wives it is decided they all retire to the country estate of her parent’s the Earl and Countess of Langnash. There they organize an impromptu house party. During the event the wives of the rakehells inform Lady Patience of a most unusual tradition.
Next Wednesday my special guest will be another long time friend Gina Danna who is a best-selling author of historical romance in every time period from ancient Rome to Victorian. Please come back next week to meet Gina!