If you love Regency novels then you are going to love my guest today! You might remember that a couple of weeks ago I shared that I met up with author Carolyn Miller in her home town of Moss Vale in New South Wales, Australia. (Click here to read the post.) Well today, I’m going to share some of that time we spent together with you! And let me tell you, it was so nice for these two Aussie gals (who live a whole ocean away from most of our fiction writing and reading friends) to meet up in person!
You’re going to love her even more when you see what she’s sharing with us today! Carolyn says a family-size Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate block for everyone, and chai lattes—because they’re yum, and it’s cold here in Australia at the moment!
Photo credits: sweet2eatbaking and Aroma Espresso Bar
So now, let me properly introduce you to our guest, Carolyn Miller, and her newest release:
~ About the Author ~
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She is married, with four gorgeous children, who all love to read (and write!).
A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. Her favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but she also enjoys contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.
Her stories are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus ‘true love’, and other challenges we all face at different times.
~ About the Book ~
Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility when she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.
William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte’s father’s pick, not the young lady’s own choice. And the captivating Lady Charlotte does not strike him as a woman who will be wooed by his wealth or title. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return–and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted. His only hope is that Charlotte’s sense of responsibility will win out over her romantic notions.
Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace?
~ Interview ~
Hi Carolyn. Thanks for joining me here at Fiction Aficionado (and for showing me around your lovely town!) To start things off, we’re going to take a little ‘flight of fancy’. Finish these sentences for me:
If I could visit any place in the world, I would visit…
Europe. I’d love to see France – especially Paris, Monet’s Garden and the Palace of Versailles – and Italy, and every other country thereabouts!
Ahh, Paree… And Europe. ❤ I’m definitely with you on that one!
If I could assign one household task to the fairies forever, it would be…
Cleaning. With four kidlets, it seems my house never really reaches the point of really clean. Tidy we can manage (occasionally), but there are a million other things I’d rather do than clean. (Apart from stacking the dishwasher – I enjoy that 🙂 )
Cleaning is the bane of my existence! Why can’t I just be Mary Poppins? That would be a much easier way to clean!
If I was a musical instrument, I would be…
An oboe. I used to play the clarinet, so I appreciate members of the woodwind family. But there’s something hauntingly beautiful about the sound of an oboe, like the Cor Anglaise. Plus it’s slender. (This is a wish-fulfilment question, right?)
Haha! Absolutely! I love this answer! 🙂
When I was a child, I wanted to be a…
Missionary. Or an architect. Or a doctor. Or an author. Oh, wait…
My ideal place to read would be…
A super-comfy hammock on a tropical island, in the shade, with the gentle lapping of the ocean and birdsong in my ears (no noisy jet skis, thank you very much). And being waited on regularly by my private butler with mocktails / cocktails.
Or my own super comfy window seat / day bed arrangement in the library of my own grand English country estate, a la Chatsworth, or Pemberley, or anywhere fabulous, with a crackling fire and a never-ending pot of leaf tea (Irish Breakfast is good) and calorie-free scones with butter. That’d work!
Yep. I think I could work with either of those options. Although I think my preference falls slightly in favour of the latter. 😁
Now, let’s get down to business…
First of all, a little bit of geography for those who have no idea where Moss Vale is! Moss Vale is in the Southern Highlands area of New South Wales, 122 kilometers (75 miles) south west of Sydney.
How long have you been living in Moss Vale?
We’ve lived in Moss Vale for the past 16 years, when my husband began pastoring a local church.
How would you describe the Southern Highlands area of NSW to your international readers?
The Southern Highlands is about halfway between Sydney and Canberra (Australia’s capital city), and about an hour from the beach. The Highlands consists of a string of beautiful, historic towns which enjoy four seasons – sometimes we even get snow! (That makes up for the winds that seem to come straight from Antarctica – brrr!) It’s a place where New South Wales governors used to escape the heat of Sydney summers, and has long been a home for the privileged and politicians – it was once considered to have the highest percentage of Rolls Royces in the world! Needless to say, we don’t all live like that. 🙂
Hillview in 1931 with Sir Philip and Lady Game (appointed Governor of NSW in 1930), and Hillview today (photos: Southern Highlands News and Domain)
What part of your hometown would like to share with your readers?
Moss Vale is a pretty town, over 150 years old, with a main street park (Leighton Gardens) where we hold our combined churches Christmas Carols each year (I’ve helped lead the singing for the past 16 years!).
photo: Southern Highlands website
Next door is Highlands Merchant, a funky café with locally sourced produce forming the basis of their menu. Yummy, healthy, pretty food 🙂
Mmm. I can vouch for the food!
Next we’ll visit Highlands Handmade, a fabulous initiative where local crafty types rent a ‘cube’ and sell to people who might never visit a weekend market. There’s everything on offer from funky earrings, gourmet chocolate pizza, knitted baby booties, and hand crafted ‘Lavinia’ soaps (like the character in my first novel, ‘The Elusive Miss Ellison’). Love the concept, love the prices, love that it’s supporting locals in their creative endeavours.
photo: Highlands Handmade
Next up we have to visit the Anglicare bookshop. This little Christian bookshop is one of the very few to be found between Sydney and Canberra, and I’m blessed to be friends with its store manager, Brooke (we go to the same church, and she shares my love of all things Georgette Heyer). When ‘The Elusive Miss Ellison’ launched, Brooke was instrumental in getting nearly all the ladies in our church to order a copy, then garnered their support in the official book launch, which became a testament to all things Regency. Copies sold on that day helped raise hundreds of dollars for the work of Anglicare as they seek to support the needy through counselling, financial assistance and food parcels. God bless Anglicare, God bless Brooke, and God bless independent Christian bookshops everywhere!
Phew! What a lovely morning we had. 🙂
Okay, let’s talk Regency, because we’re both Regency lovers. When did you first discover your love of the Regency era?
I studied Jane Austen in high school, but it wasn’t until later that I could appreciate her wit and wisdom. (And watching the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice helped!) I’m forever indebted to my sister, Roslyn Weaver, who first shared one of her Heyer novels. It was love at first read!
Same here! Well, except that it wasn’t your sister who introduced me to Heyer!
Speaking of Georgette Heyer, I’m glad you mentioned her, because you can’t really talk Regency without mentioning the Queen of Regency Romance! What was your first Heyer novel and when?
My first Georgette Heyer novel was either Cotillion or Regency Buck, probably only about ten years ago. But that’s okay. I might have been a late starter but I’ve more than made up for it now!
It’s alright. I was a late starter with Heyer too! 😉
Which is your favourite Heyer novel and why?
Such a hard question! If I truly could only pick one to take to a desert island, it might have to be The Nonesuch, which I love because Sir Waldo is just so wonderful: handsome, a sportsman, very witty, compassionate (he turns old estates into orphanages!), and romantic. Sigh!!! Oh, and I love Ancilla, the governess, who catches his eye because she is calm, clever and not seeking to catch his eye 🙂
Yes, definitely a favourite of mine!
But then I also love and couldn’t bear to be parted from Regency Buck, and Arabella (oh yes, I love that one!), and Frederica, and Venetia, and….
It’s so hard to pick a favourite isn’t it? I would add Faro’s Daughter to that list—my first Heyer read, and still a firm favourite!
What do you think it is about the Regency era that appeals to writers and readers so much?
I think many of us appreciate the manners of that time period, the way that social customs played a big part in how people behaved – it was definitely a time where consequences existed for one’s actions! But I also think the spate of 1990s-noughties Jane Austen films helped fuel a fantasy of grand estates, handsome gentlemen, a time when life seemed simpler (even if it wasn’t for the servants of that era). It was also a time of social upheaval, with the advent of industrialisation, the effects of war, and emigration and exploration that there are many points of interest for the reader – and writer – to enjoy.
I would have to agree with all of that. No doubt we have romanticized it in fiction, but there is definitely something dashing about a man dressed in Regency garb. And those houses… *sigh*
The Captivating Lady Charlotte is your second novel. Where did the inspiration come from for the story?
I wanted to write a story with a hero who was not your typical Alpha male, who wasn’t considered especially handsome, who enjoyed science more than sports, who might not necessarily appeal to the average young lady – who was, perhaps, a little more real. Some books I read seem to suggest that love is found in all the kisses and butterflies, which leads to the obvious conclusion: what happens when you don’t ‘feel’ like you’re ‘in love’ anymore? I wanted to challenge my heroine to go a little deeper in her understanding of what love is, that loving someone truly (‘true love’ 🙂 ?) isn’t something that happens to you, but is based on making choices that put that person ahead of your own interests. I hope people are encouraged to see love as something beyond the romance fuzzies, and can grow in their relationships with renewed appreciation for what love involves. Like DC Talk once sang: love is a verb 🙂
Oh, I’m looking forward to reading this even more now! As much as we love all those swoons and butterflies, there is something much more satisfying to be gained from a love that goes beyond that (in books AND real life!)
What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I really enjoyed the research, investigating places and events like Vauxhall Gardens, the various events held to honour the (presumed) end of the war with France, such as the parade of Allies, and researching such things as presentation at Court. I also enjoyed revisiting Lavinia and Nicholas and continuing their story a little more.
I couldn’t help having a sneak peek at the first chapter while you were ordering for us at Highland Merchants, and I was so excited when I saw Lady Charlotte and Lavinia (The Elusive Miss Ellison) were being presented at Court. I’ve always wanted to see that in a novel!
What’s coming up next for Carolyn Miller?
My third novel, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, releases in October, and I’ve a new Regency series (with some characters we know and many we’ll get to know) coming in 2018, so I’ll get to work on editing those books soon.
I remember Miss DeLancey from The Elusive Miss Ellison. I’m looking forward to her story, and glad to hear there will be more to follow!
Thank you so much for joining me today, Carolyn. It was lovely getting to know you better! 🙂
Readers, what draws you to romances set in the Regency period?
~ Giveaway ~
Carolyn has generously given me one paperback copy of The Captivating Lady Charlotte to give away, however due to postage costs, this giveaway is only open to Australian residents. (Sorry to all our international friends!) Click on the graphic to be taken to the Rafflecopter giveaway.