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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

15 November 2007

Welcome Again, Tracy Ann Warren

My Fair Mistress
by Tracy Ann Warren
Available Now!

The Mistress Trilogy is set in Regency England, as was your debut Trap trilogy. How did you become interested in this time period? What do you love about it?

I have always loved the Georgian, Colonial and Regency periods, naturally seeming to gravitate in my study of history to the British Isles, the English kings, queens and nobility. As a teenager, I read my first Regency historical romance and fell in love with that era. There is something very special about this time period with its careful manners and elegant style, the glamour of the Ton and the gritty heroism of the Peninsular Wars. For me, the Regency has an almost modern sophistication while still retaining all the gentle grace and slower style of the old world. Plus, the clothes are wonderful, especially the men’s’. Who doesn’t love a guy in a tailcoat and breeches with a sexy chapeau bras tucked beneath his arm?

Are the three books connected?

Yes. The Mistress Trilogy is a connected series, the books focusing on three longtime friends—ruthless financier Rafe Pendragon; debonair rake Ethan Andarton, Marquis of Vessey; and dark, sexy confirmed bachelor, Tony Black, Duke of Wyvern. In each book, these men will meet their match when they encounter the women who will show them the power and joy of love.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around, especially as you’re dealing with the slightly scandalous world of the demimonde?

Although my heroines do become mistresses, none of them are from the demimonde. One is a virtuous aristocratic widow--at least until she makes a bargain she never counted on with seductive Rafe Pendragon. My other two heroines are virgins--one who masquerades as a widow and the other who goes from rags to riches when her uncle offers her a London Season.

Other than a lack of sanitation in some parts of London, there really isn’t anything I dislike about the Regency period. I did have to do a bit of a balancing act when it came to the relationship between Rafe Pendragon and Julianna Hawthorne in My Fair Mistress. Julianna is a titled lady of the Ton, while Rafe is in “trade” as a financier and not respectable by Ton standards. Working out matters so the two of them could end up together presented some interesting challenges, one’s for which you’ll have to read the book to find out the resolution.

What sparked these books? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

I was thinking about books I’ve read and really loved and the commonalities between them. One element that appealed to me was the idea of the hero having power over the heroine so that she is put in a position of acting in ways she might not normally. As a result, My Fair Mistress was born.

Did you have to do any major research for these books? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

I did research on the various neighborhoods in London in order to find a residential area for my hero—one that would be considered good without it being Mayfair. I settled on Bloomsbury. I also did research on financiers, gleaning a great deal of interesting and useful information about one of England’s (and Europe’s) wealthiest, most successful financiers--Nathan Rothschild. Until I began researching him, I did not realize how pivotal he was in financing the Peninsular Wars and Wellington’s army in particular.

What/Who do you like to read?

There are many authors whose books I enjoy. Some of my all-time favorite classic romances are historicals by Judith McNaught and LaVryle Spencer. Lately, I’ve taken to reading a lot of paranormal romance—J.R. Ward and Kresley Cole are two of my auto-buy authors. And although I came to the game late, I just finished all seven of the Harry Potter books and can see why they’re such a phenomenon. What wonderful reads.

Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I tend to use both pantser and plotter techniques. I often write the first chapter or two before I put my synopsis together. Once done, I then do a loose outline that highlights all the major turning points and character arcs of the book from beginning to end. With that in hand, I start writing in earnest, letting the story and the characters guide me where I need to go. I rarely know what kind of scene I’m going to write before I begin it, having only the general sense of the direction the story should take. Sometime, my characters, however, have other ideas and I’ve learned to trust my gut when something doesn’t feel right. In general, I write one draft, cleaning up here and there as I go. That’s not to say I don’t do re-writes—I do plenty of them, but I’ve found it works best to write the story then work with my editor to revise what needs changing.

What are you planning to work on next? Are we getting another trilogy? I love them. There’s just something wonderful about being able to gorge yourself on an author you love.

I am currently in negotiations with my publisher about my next Regency-era novels, and am not sure yet whether I will be doing another trilogy or if it will be a new series. Once all the details are complete, I will let my readers know. Please visit my website at www.tracyannewarren.com for the latest news and updates!

Thank you, Kalen, for this opportunity to chat with you and all the readers here at History Hoydens. It’s been great fun!

10 Comments:

Blogger Mary Blayney said...

Hi Tracy -- great to have you visit the Hoydens -- your writing process and mine sound very similar -- good luck with the next proposal --

6:10 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

Hi Tracy! I just finished MY FAIR MISTRESS and I really loved it! Rafe is such a sexy hero and I cannot wait to read the other two. Mr. Rothschild sounds fascinating. What sort of research books do you recommend on the Regency period for aspiring Regency writers?

6:35 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Hi Tracy from another Tracy! This trilogy sounds really fun! THe heroes all sounds very interesting. I particularly love the idea of a hero who is in trade. Did you have him meet the other two at school?

9:17 AM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

"Who doesn’t love a guy in a tailcoat and breeches with a sexy chapeau bras tucked beneath his arm . . ."

I'm drooling! ;-)

Thanks for posting Tracy!

11:09 AM  
Blogger Keira Soleore said...

Tracy, a big hello to you here at the Hoydens. I loved your Trap trilogy and am looking forward to starting the first of the Mistress trilogy.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy Anne Warren said...

Hi Mary,

Thanks for the welcome and the good wishes. That's interesting that we have a similar writing process. Maybe it's because we both write Regency, hmm?

6:21 PM  
Blogger Tracy Anne Warren said...

Hi Doglady,

Great to see you here! I'm so glad you loved MY FAIR MISTRESS.

You asked about research books. One wonderful reference I use all the time is THE REGENCY REFERENCE BOOK by Emily Hendrickson. It's just chalked full of great information about the period and customs of the Regency and the Ton. I highly recommend it. Contact the author directly for a CD copy. I also like ENGLISH WOMEN'S CLOTHING IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY by C. Willett Cunnington. And definitely take Kalen Hughes class on Regency clothing if you have the opportunity--she is a wealth of knowledge.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Tracy Anne Warren said...

Hi Tracy,

Always nice to meet a fellow Tracy!

Glad you like the sound of my books and the fact that my hero, Rafe, is in trade. And yes, he did meet his friends at school (Harrow) when they were all boys. Despite being the illegitimate son of a nobleman, Rafe was given a gentleman's education. After the death of his father, terrible events conspired that forced him to literally claw his way out of poverty to become his own self-made man.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Tracy Anne Warren said...

Hi Kathrynn,

Thanks for stopping by to drool (vbg). As you can tell, I love sexy Regency men.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Tracy Anne Warren said...

Hi Keira,

Great to see you here! I hope you have a wonderful time reading the Mistress Trilogy.

6:52 PM  

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