Today I am interviewing Erica McFarland and Jennifer DeWoody, a pair of writers who have joined forces to write their first Regency novel, styling themselves “Regency Ladies” on Twitter. Although they have not yet published together, I think their story is interesting for writers (and wannabe writers).
Carey: How long have the two of you been Regency Ladies?
Erica: We have been writing together since about mid-April, when I finally relented and joined a friend’s historical game. I liked Jenny’s writing style, so I hunted her down on the game and from there, we started to develop different storylines. When we started to develop the plotline for the characters used now in our novel, I realized that it had a lot of potential and could become something more. I petitioned Jenny and asked if she’d want to start this project with me, terribly hopeful of course that she’d say yes. She did, and the rest as they say, is history.
Jenny: I believe the Regency Ladies moniker got its start as early as the beginning of July when we opened up our joint twitter account, which Erica then promptly ran away with, but in our hearts I believe we have always been Regency Ladies, or if not with the capital letters at the very least, Regency ladies.
Carey: What made you decide to write together?
Jenny: I think, at the heart of the matter is our shared love of the history of the era, our love of reading the works produced both in that era and of that era. It also helps that we met on a Victorian Era role playing game and hit it off famously from the start, I believe. We found, through the process of plotting and writing in that game that our styles complimented each other nicely and that we worked well together, our temperaments suiting in such a way that it almost seemed destined that we embark on such a journey together.
Erica: As Jenny said, we bounce off each other very well. She’s pretty mellow, while I’m an extrovert with a tendency toward sap. We’ve managed to achieve a balance in our working relationship that really helps us to keep up the fast pace we’ve set for this first draft. I think one of the most important things in doing a project like this with someone else is that there is an element of trust. With Jenny, I know that I can always count on her; not only to carry through with the writing in a timely manner, but to support me as a person and give me her honest opinion. It’s that faith we have in each other, I think, that makes us such good partners.
Carey: Why did you pick the Regency Era?
Jenny: I think a large part of why we picked the Regency Era is that it is a time period so rich in culture and beauty and decadence as well as intrigue and politics that there is a wealth of topics that as a writer it is fun to explore. The way the people related to each other and the strict societal paradigms that were constructed have always been fascinating to me. And it has always been a point of interest to me to analyze and pick apart the way people interacted with each other whether it be member of the ton at a grand society ball or the interaction between a nobleman and a servant, as a surveyor of human nature in general the era lends itself to some very interesting as well as entertaining and thought provoking study. Plus, Erica had already done an obscene amount of research on the era and is a veritable history buff when it comes to all things Regency. That, and as Erica will attest, the dresses were pretty.
Erica: The dresses are pretty, indeed! I am a self-confessed fashion addict, and so I gravitated toward the regency era because of the real elegance to the costumes and just the entire style of being. The concept of dandies and debutantes fascinates me, and I love the idea of being able to make those kinds of characters come to live for a generation of readers entrenched in the twenty-first century. Like Jenny, I enjoy dissecting the different interactions between the social spectrums; we cover this a lot in our novel, as our hero is a commoner and our heroine the daughter of a Baroness. While my fondness for this era stemmed from my love for Jane Austen, I’ve found that I truly enjoy researching all the different aspects of life. I think the constrictions of the period help to give me structure in writing, in contrast to my previous work in science fiction and fantasy where the world was entirely of my creation. The dialogue of this era has always felt very rich to me, and as a writer I aim to mimic that.
Carey: Besides, you don’t have to wear a corset in the Regency…always a plus! Thanks Jennifer and Erica and we will see the rest of the interview tomorrow!