Today I welcome back Erica McFarland and Jennifer DeWoody, better known to Twitter followers as “Regency Ladies.”
Carey: Let’s go into some of your inspirations for your writing…Are you fans of Jane Austen? Georgette Heyer? Other Regency historical fiction?
Erica: My Jane Austen addiction started in ninth grade, on a summer vacation to Florida (my current residence). I found Emma in a bookstore, and from there on, I was hooked. I’ve slowly made my way through almost all her works, with only Mansfield Park still outstanding. For me, Austen has come to mean a quiet, comfortable place, almost like home. I know that when I read her books, there will not be graphic details, that the stories will be poignant and romantic. There’s something about the simplicity of her writing that really resonates with me.
Inspired by Austen, I studied British literature when getting my undergrad in writing. I read Eliot, Collins, Dickens, and then studied the Romantic poets with avidity. I started to read Georgette Heyer when I embarked on my first regency writing project. She had come up in so many of my reference materials as the undisputed “Queen of Regency.” I’ve only read about six of her novels so far, but I’m absolutely in love. She has definitely been formative for me in my writing of regency.
Jenny:Yes, yes and yes. I am an Anglophile at heart. I have recently finished Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, an author that Erica actually introduced me to, encouraging me to read several of her works. I find that I really enjoy immersing myself in Heyer’s style and wit. She has a way of setting a scene that paints it so vividly in the reader’s mind that it almost feels as if you are in the room with her characters. Her attention to detail, I think is something that Erica and I are really striving to emulate in our own writing.
As for Jane Austen, she is and always will be one of my favorites. Pride and Prejudice is the novel I credit with introducing me to my love of reading and for that reason alone it will always hold a position of great import in my heart. Austen’s style, like Heyer’s after her, is very entrenching, and I think her characters and the way she portrayed societal interactions is something any self-respecting lover of the genre and the historical era would cherish.
Carey: Do you have a timeline for your current collaboration?
Jenny: I think we have bandied about the idea of trying to get a working draft, that is a fully functioning, readable draft completed in a year and considering the progress we’ve made in just a few short months I think even this goal may prove to be conservative.
Erica: While this is not my first attempt at historical fiction, it’s the first time I’ve really embarked on a project of this magnitude. My first novel attempt was simply that, an attempt. We both come from a freewriting background with historical fiction, so this has been a learning experience for us to try and formalize our thoughts in a coherent book.
We are about half-way through our first draft now. We’ve gotten to the point now where we’ve become so familiar with these characters that they are second nature, and I think that’s starting to really show in our prose. Chapters are becoming longer, and we’re tweaking our basic outline as we continue to find new ways to make the story more effective. We hope that by next July we would be able to have a marketable product, either to send to agents in hopes of going the traditional route, or for self-publishing.
Carey: What other writing have each of you done?
Erica: Since about the fourth grade, I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer. I went to school for writing, so during that time I wrote for the University of Tampa’s newspaper and their literary journal. Post-graduation, I’ve been a prize winner in a few local writing contests for fiction. My most recent foray into journalism has been with a magazine in my town called Pulse, which focuses on creative nonfiction with an upbeat take. Most of my experience outside of fiction comes from opinion pieces, so this new brush with magazine writing has been interesting. I also run a blog called Hello Writer, and do some freelancing.
Jenny: I am still somewhat of a novice when it comes to writing. For the past two years or so I have been heavily involved in a play-by-post, Victorian Era game called Era of Elegance. Most of my writing has been done within the construct of that game, as it has been a great exercise in the creation and development of characters, which for me are always the heart of every story.
Carey: What do you do in “real life” and how long have you known each other?
Erica: For the past three years, I have been employed as a secretary for a Trust Department. I take down dictation and format business correspondence, while dabbling in basic graphic design for our marketing materials. I’ve learned a lot about technical writing through this job, and I do appreciate the opportunities it presents to refine my style. But I consider myself to be most importantly, a writer. Jenny and I have known each other since about April of 2011, but it feels like much longer.
Jenny: In real life I am a barista at Caribou Coffee, where I have worked for almost a year now and before that I worked as a bookseller and barista for Books-A-Million. I have only recently begun to identify myself as a writer and this new way of thinking has lent me a great purpose to my life, for which I am eternally indebted to Erica as she is the one that really made me realize that being a writer is something that I very seriously wanted to pursue.
Carey: So, Jenny, I assume that your writing is fueled by coffee! Diet Mountain Dew is my stimulant of choice. Where can we see more of you? Facebook? Twitter? Blog? Website?
Jenny: Together, we have a twitter account: we are Erica and Jenny @Regencyladies. We also have just started a blog which can be found at: http://hellowriter.org/rl/.
Erica: I can also be reached through Facebook at http://facebook.com/HelloWriterCo and through my website of hellowriter.org, which features my personal blog as well. Jenny and I are in constant contact, so we send any information we receive to each other.
Thanks Ladies! I think I would be more productive if I had a writing partner waiting for me to finish my part, although it would be important to find the right (write?) person. Best of luck, Regency Ladies!