Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
A warm welcome to Pamela Mingle who has very kindly agreed to be interviewed. I read and published my review of her Regency romance novel, A False Proposal, in June this year . . . read on to discover her answers to my questions about her work, an excerpt from the novel and information about this enthralling author . . . .
Where did you get the inspiration for A False Proposal?
My first muse was Georgette Heyer. Although her books sound dated to the modern ear, the banter between the hero and heroine in her stories was a fertile training ground and is not very different from a modern Regency. And I love the humor in her books. After I read Heyer, I began reading all the Regencies I could lay my hands on, starting with Mary Balogh. I love the challenge of writing a “modern” Regency heroine. She’s not just someone’s daughter, sister, or wife. She’s a person in her own right, with her very individual dreams, desires, challenges, interests, and all the rest.
What is your writing process?
Usually I begin with the kernel of a story already in my head, and then I read and research the time period, using a variety of resources. If I’m lucky, this involves a trip to England! For A False Proposal, I visited Haslemere and London for background. Here’s a link to a piece I wrote for the Entangled blog, “Behind the Book.” It gives more detail about my trip.
When I feel ready, I begin pre-writing. That usually involves setting a premise for the book, writing character sketches, a short synopsis, sometimes a vocabulary list. I write the first few chapters, and after that I start outlining. The story evolves as I write. Many writers take months creating an outline, but I’ve never been able to do that. I think we do whatever works for us.
Do you write using pen and paper, or do you write on a computer?
I write either on my desktop or laptop. Sometimes, if I’m stuck on something, I’ll go out to a café with a spiral and pen and write by hand. To do that all the time would slow me down too much. I know writers who compose their entire first draft manually, but I don’t think that would work for me.
Who is your favorite character and why?
That’s a really tough question to answer! Usually it’s my most recent character. I love Cass Linford because there are many nuances to her. She’s bookish, and somewhat reserved because of the tragedy that occurred, yet she’s ready to come back to the world. She’s risking all to find love again, and I admire her for it. I like Adam because he’s strong enough to face his demons and conquer them, and of course, because he sees Cass’s strength and loves her for it.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
I’d like to be each of my heroines, for different reasons. Miranda, in Kissing Shakespeare, gets to travel back to Elizabethan England. How cool would that be? If I were Mary Bennet, I’d get to be dropped into the world of Pride and Prejudice, my favorite novel of all time. I’d meet Mr. Darcy! And it would be exciting to be Cass, because as A False Proposal begins, she’s finding romance and along with it, new reasons to return to society. I adore her brother and little sister, too.
How did you choose the names for your main characters?
There are various internet sites that help with that by listing names popular to the time period. For Kissing Shakespeare, I wanted the heroine to have Shakespearean names (she has two names in the book because she’s pretending to be someone else in the past). She’s Miranda (The Tempest) in the present, Olivia (Twelfth Night) in her Elizabethan world. In The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, the heroine already had a name, given to her by Jane Austen. For A False Proposal, I wanted classical names. Since Cass’s father was a classics scholar, I named both her and her brother, Jack, for mythological characters.
From Chapter One of A False Proposal:
After Willis departed, Cass heard the front door burst open, accompanied by voices. She identified one as belonging to her brother, Jack. But there was a second voice, one she didn’t immediately recognize. Botheration! She was tired and not in the mood for company.
Philippa was still in motion when Jack stepped over the threshold, another gentleman in his wake. Taking no notice of where her whirling carried her, and still singing, she spun right into her older brother, who leaned down and hoisted her up into the air.
“Mind where you’re going, scamp!” he said fondly, kissing her cheek before setting her down. She swayed, and the other man grabbed hold of her in time to prevent her from falling. At that moment, Cass had a clear view of him. With a sharp intake of breath, she recognized Adam Grey, a longtime friend of her brother. Of her. An older and more mature looking Adam, to be sure, but it was unmistakably he. Suddenly, everything seemed out of balance.
She had not seen Adam in four years. Not since the evening of the Sheffield ball, during her first season. She would never forget it. Cass could, without any difficulty at all, conjure up a memory of how he’d looked that night, so handsome in black and white evening clothes. His slow, appreciative grin when he’d seen her in her finery, as if she’d made his heart beat a little faster. It was the first time he had looked at her in quite that way. She had idolized him since their childhood, when they’d spent summers together on their neighboring estates.
But in the middle of the ball, she had wandered down a darkened hallway by mistake and come upon him in the act of seducing a young lady. Fondling her breasts, to be precise. Mortified, Cass had been rooted to the spot. Adam had harshly ordered her to go back from wherever she’d come and never speak of this to anyone. Sadly, she had concluded that he must be a rake. Not a man to admire. Her girlish dreams had died that night.
Pamela Mingle has spent much of her professional life in libraries and classrooms. With a lot of persistence and a little luck, she’s found a new career as a writer. Pam is the author of A False Proposal, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, and Kissing Shakespeare, a young adult time travel romance. A self-proclaimed Janeite, Pam is Regional Coordinator for the Denver/Boulder region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA).
Pam lives and works in Lakewood, Colorado. On trips to England, she and her husband enjoy walking from one town to the next. While those long treks have often been challenging, they’ve proved to be a wonderful way to discover new settings for her books.
A FALSE PROPOSAL, published June 2016
THE PURSUIT OF MARY BENNET, available now
KISSING SHAKESPEARE, winner of the Colorado Book Award, available now
Facebook: Pamela Mingle Author
Many thanks to Pam for answering my questions! Check out more about ‘A False Proposal’ here.