I hope to see the day when I can spread my wings by publishing other genres of romance, and even non-fiction. I’ve written contemporary stories, and I love the late 1600s in England, so I’d like to branch out of the regency eventually. I’d never give up regency writing, however, because it’s my deepest area of interest.
Tell us a little about your family.
We are a family of homebodies! I have five wonderful children and a great husband, and we all love to spend time at home, movie-nights, eating together, and games. Aside from becoming a Christian, and then marrying my husband, my kids are the greatest consolation of my life. In some ways, parenting is THE challenge that makes a person grow into what God envisions for them. Of course He uses all sorts of things to make us stretch and grow, but family life is certainly one of the major ones.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
As my interest in writing grew, I did read books on the craft; but once I got published, my reading time dwindled drastically. I barely have time to read the research sources I need for each book, let alone read for pleasure. I try to sneak in a book for pleasure here and there, but mostly I can only read for research, and for helping other writers by critiquing their work. Someday, I hope to do more novel reading again!
I know what you mean. I've been reading mostly books for endorsement the last two months. What are you working on right now?
Next we’re thinking of a stand-alone called The Honourable Miss Tavistock. This is a really fun regency read, and gives me a vehicle for taking readers on an enjoyable romp while still including a gospel message that is not intrusive but there for those whose hearts are seeking. One of my personal goals is to keep a simple gospel message in each book I write.
What outside interests do you have?
Gardening, cooking, baking, decorating, drawing and traveling. Oh, and shopping. In addition to reading, that is. I also love to roam through antique shops looking for small treasures.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
In a broad sense, the setting is the Regency, which gives me a great backdrop for each book. Then, based upon the characters and their situations in life, the setting sort of springs up. I mean, if I’m starting with a country miss, then I’m not going to start the story in London. I usually like to ground the characters in their place of origin before moving the location elsewhere. I think this gives the reader a really good idea of who my protagonist is, and then they get to see how she develops and changes when forced to leave her early surroundings.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Oh, it’s so hard to settle upon just one person! I would like it to be Jane Austen, though I hardly think she would be likely to open up much with a stranger. Jane was far too cautious for that. In order to make the most of that one evening, I would want it to be someone who would talk candidly. My next thought is Marie Antoinette, as I’ve been interested in her since I was a little girl. (I read my first biography of her when I was nine that left me forever sympathetic to her.) Of course, she spoke French and German, neither of which I am fluent in, so there goes that idea.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I don’t think it’s a new lesson, but nevertheless an important one: To trust that He will be with me in whatever endeavors I spread my wings towards, as I seek to “work out my salvation” in the area He has called me to. (That was a mouthful, huh!) For instance, I’ve been taking on more speaking engagements as an author, and God is showing me His faithfulness by equipping me, even if I don’t “feel” fully prepared, beforehand.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Establish an online presence even before you get the first contract; Don’t submit in the beginning until you’ve had the work edited by more than one pair of eyes; And don’t take rejections personally. The book industry is not just about the writing, but the market, and the individual needs of each publisher.
Country House Courtship was great fun to write because it takes two characters from the earlier books and gives them the spotlight. Beatrice Forsythe and Peter O’Brien both get to develop and show who they are, and then of course there’s the falling in love element, which is always compelling. I also got to include a new side of the Mornays, as they are parents in this book, and they have to weather their own personal storm when Ariana falls deathly ill.
Please give us a part of the first chapter of the book.
London, England, 1818
Mr. Peter O’Brien felt surely he had a devil plaguing him, and the devil’s name was Mr. Phillip Mornay. The paper in his hand should have made him happy. Indeed, it ought to have elicited nothing but joy after two years of holding a curacy that didn’t pay enough to feed a church-mouse. Yet, instead he was staring ahead after reading a letter of recommendation for him as though he’d seen a ghost.
His previous naval commander, Colonel Sotheby, had recommended Mr. O’Brien to a wealthy landowner whose vicarage had gone vacant. It was the sort of letter that a poor Curate should rejoice over. The man who obtained the vicarage in the parish of Glendover, the Colonel said, in addition to having a decent curate’s salary, would have claim to a large glebe, a generous and well built house, and, in short, would see himself by way of having enough to begin a family. (If he found a wife to marry, first, of course. O’Brien could just hear the Colonel’s good-natured laugh ring out at that remark.)
But still his own mouth was set in an unpromising hard line: The landowner’s name was Mr. Phillip Mornay, none other than the Paragon, himself. And Mornay, Mr. O’Brien knew, would never grant him the living. To do so would go against everything he knew to be true of him. After all, no man who had once overstepped his bounds with Mr. Mornay’s betrothed, as Mr. O’Brien unfortunately had, would now be presented to the vicarage on the man’s lands. Of all the rotten, devilish luck! To have such a letter of commendation was like gold in the fiercely competitive world of the church, where there were more poor curates looking for a rise in their situations than there were church parishes who could supply them.
Therefore, instead of the boon from heaven this letter ought to have been, Mr. O’Brien was struck with a gloomy assurance that Mornay would sooner accept a popinjay in cleric’s clothing than himself. Even worse, his mother agreed with his appraisal.
He had taken the letter into the morning room of their house on Blandford Street, joining his mother while she sat at her breakfast.
“You do not wish to renew old grievances,” she said. “Mr. Mornay is not, to my knowledge, a forgiving man; shall you be put to the expense and trouble of travelling all the way to Middlesex, only to be turned down in the end? What can you possibly gain in it?”
Mr. O’Brien nodded; he saw her point. But he said, “I may have to do just that. The Colonel will never recommend me for another parish if he learns that I failed to apply myself to this opportunity.”
“Write to him,” replied his mama. “See if you can politely decline this honour, with the understanding that any other offer should be most welcome and appreciated!”
He doubted that any letter , no matter how ‘politely’ written, would be able to manage his desire to avoid this meeting with Mornay, as well as secure the hope of a future recommendation. But he thought about it, put quill to paper and sent the Colonel a reply. He asked (in the humblest terms he could manage) if the man might commend him for a living to be presented by some other landowner, indeed, any other landowner, any other gentleman in England than Phillip Mornay.
He could not explain the full extent of his past doings with Mr. Mornay without making himself sound like an utter fool; how he had hoped to marry the present Mrs. Mornay himself, some years ago. How presumptuous his hopes seemed to him now! Miss Ariana Forsythe was magnificent as the wife of the Paragon. He’d seen them in town after the marriage, but without ever presenting himself before her. It appalled even him that he had once thought himself worthy or equal to that beautiful lady.
When the Colonel’s reply came, there was little surprise in it. He assured Mr. O’Brien that his apprehensions were ill-placed; that Mr. Mornay’s past reputation of being a harsh, irascible man was no longer to the purpose. Colonel Sotheby himself held Mornay in the greatest respect, and insisted that the Paragon had as good a heart as any Christian. In short, (and he made this terribly clear) Mr. O’Brien had best get himself off to Middlesex or he would put the Colonel in a deuced uncomfortable spot. He had already written to Aspindon House, which meant that Mr. O’Brien was expected. If he failed to appear for an interview, he could not expect that another recommendation of such merit and generosity would ever come his way again.
Mr. O’Brien realized it was inevitable: he would have to go to Middlesex and present himself to Mornay. He knew it was a vain cause, that nothing but humiliation could come of it, but he bowed to what he must consider the will of God. He knelt in prayer, begging to be excused from this doomed interview, but his heart and conscience told him he must to it. If he was to face humiliation, had he not brought it upon himself? Had he not earned Mornay’s disregard, with his former obsession with Miss Forsythe, who was now Mrs. Mornay?
He no longer had feelings for the lady, but it was sure to be blesséd awkward to face her! No less so than her husband. Nevertheless, when he rose from his knees, Peter O’Brien felt equal to doing what both duty and honour required. He only hoped that Mr. Mornay had not already written his own letter of objections to the Colonel; telling him why he would never present the living to Peter O’Brien. The Colonel was his best hope for a way out of St. Pancras . It was a gritty, desperate parish with poverty, crime, and hopelessness aplenty—not the sort of place he hoped to spend his life in, for he wanted a family. A wife.
Prepared to face the interview come what may, Mr. O’Brien determined not to allow Mornay to make quick work of him. He was no longer the youthful swain, besotted over a Miss Forsythe. A stint in the Army, if nothing else, had hardened him, brought him face to face with deep issues of life, and left him, or so he thought, a better man.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a website with lots of free downloads for readers, so do come by and browse the site! http://www.linoreroseburkard.com/
While you’re there, you’ll want to subscribe to my monthly illustrated e-magazine called, “Regency Reflections.” It’s free and you can subscribe on my homepage.
Thanks, Lena, for having me on your blog today! I always like to visit here. : )
And I love having you, Linore. Be sure to let me know the release dates of upcoming books.
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