Author Interview | Conversing with #HistRom novelist Michelle Pennington about the Somerstone #RegencyHouseParty series and her novel which begins our journey into Somerstone itself: “The Unwanted Suitor”!

Posted Sunday, 11 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts, I am taking part in a special series of interviews!

I recently had the joy of sharing with you a conversation about my fascination and appreciation for #HistoricalRomances when I shared my interview with Rebecca Connolly! She wrote the Spinster Chronicles – of which I am reading the first two installments of her series this November! However, anchoured to the joyfulness of discovering her stories, this Autumn I had the pleasure of finding out about *Somerstone!* and the Regency House Party series!

This is one of those uniquely styled *round robin!* stories wherein each new author who steps into the story-line is picking up the threads of the previous author’s installment! Similar in the vein of why I am enjoying reading the Return of the Blackwell Brothers? Herein as we get a lovely introduction to Somerstone through a series of interviews and conversations I crafted together with the authors who make up this new series set in the Regency – one of my eras of preference for #HistRoms – we get to sort out what inspired the authors as they wrote their individual installments but also, get the chance to learn more about how the series was assembled!

Publishers (or in this case, the writers themselves!) create these nifty ‘mini-series’ and serial round robins not just to create a more unique environment for the reader to explore but also for their authors! There are several of these within my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense I am slowly making my way through and finding out there is one for the Regency was truly a lift of joy to find! Especially as like most Regencies – when there is a ball or a formal party afoot, there is generally a heap more going on than what is generally taken on appearance alone! Where tucked away secrets can percolate to the surface and where everyone either knows someone directly or indirectly through their peerage, family or friends!

The beauty of course is going story by story, seeing how the arc of the series will continue to increase in climax and how each new writer who steps into an installment will put their own spin on the established narrative. The points of view could change or the mannerisms of the character(s) themselves could feel altered a bit – but if the whole of the mini-series maintains its rhythm and internal heart of centre, what you will discover dear hearts is a smashingly lovely respite to curl inside as the hours melt off the clock!

As this is a promotional tour focusing on the Digital First status of the novellas, I opted to host the series of interviews in lieu of reviews as I am eager for each of the novellas to become released into print. Although in theory, they might have already released – I haven’t checked on all the statuses as of yet when I was ready to share this first interview! It will take me a bit to gather them but I might also, lean on my local library to see if they might want to add this series to their card catalogue ahead of when I can bring a set home! Then, I shall have the same pleasure of joy of disappearing inside this series start to finish, finding what the readers on this blog tour have discovered and beyond! For the Regency holds a dear spot in my bookish heart!

May your #AutumnReads be as excitingly awesome as mine are becoming!

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The Unwanted Suitor by Michelle Pennington

When Cornelia Greystock received a proposal from Sir James Hawkston, she couldn’t bear it. It had been inspired, she knew, from pity and remorse—not love. Unable to face him afterward, she leaped at an offer of employment from the Countess, Lady Du’Breven. Serving as her companion, Cornelia struggles to adjust to the change in her social status, but the hard work distracts her from her broken heart. That is, until the Countess decides to hold a summer house party at her family estate and invites Sir James.

Sir James has never recovered from his disappointment when Miss Greystock refused his proposal and then fled, according to her family, to live with an unheard-of aunt in Ireland. When he grudgingly accepts an invitation to Lady Du’Breven’s house party, however, he is astounded to find Miss Greystock there. One thing is certain—this time he’ll court her the way he always should have. He is almost certain she returns his feelings, but he must tread carefully. If she refuses his proposal a second time, it would not be gentlemanly to ask a third. As time grows short and she continues to hold him at arms-length, will he find a way to at last win her hand?

These novels and stories set in Somerstone within the Regency House Party series were first serialised via RegencyHouseParty.com and were thus independently published afterwards.

Regency House Party: @RegencyParty | Instagram | Facebook Group

Add to Riffle | Add to LibraryThing

Published on: 27th August, 2018 | ISBN: 9781719915731

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #Somerstone + #RegencyHouseParty OR #Regency and #HistRom

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How was the series brought together and how were the authors selected to participate in this Regency series of Romances? Were there guidelines about the type of stories to write for the limited series or were the writers given free rein to choose the kinds of stories they felt motivated to write?

Pennington responds: Awhile back, Jen Johnson and I had a discussion about starting a critique group for a few Regency authors. As much as I love Regency, I’ve been writing contemporary romance so most of my connections were in that genre. Jen basically hand-picked the other members of our critique group because she believed in their talent. I have to say, she knew what she was doing. Some time later, she came up with this crazy idea. She didn’t know how it was going to work, but we were all intrigued by the potential. So, Heidi, Sara, Mindy, and I all signed on. We built the foundation of the house party together, but each of us were able to write the story we wanted to tell.

I love how this formed out of a mutual passion for the Regency but also, how you approached this serial in a uniquely spun round robin styling of story-telling! The fact it was serialised first on a website for the Regency House Party and then, taken to publication via the Indie routes available is a testament to your foresight and ability to see how in the long term this series could shift offline into reader’s hands. I, for one am looking forward to collecting the print copies to read the series in full as it simply sounds like the kind of series I’d happily tuck inside to wick off the hours from the clock! It is also what inspired me to host a series of round robin style interviews where I ask each of you a similar question which parlays back into the series itself.

What personally gave you a lot of joy to focus on writing a story set in the Regency and for exploring this particular era of time? What fused you to the heart of the era and what did you love most about writing the ‘background’ of where your story was set?

Pennington responds: For me, I loved the challenge of showing the way the household ran and give a peek into the servants quarters with my character Cornelia. It’s not something you see often in Regency romances, but I thought it added some depth and humor to the overall house party. I think all of us fell in love with the setting, which we based on a real house, Wentworth Woodhouse. It is such a unique and interesting piece of gigantic architecture with an incredible history, that we all loved sharing things we’d learned about it. We all wove in as much as we could.

This is why I love reading Historical Romances – how the romance is set against the backdrop of a historical era. I love reading traditional Historical Fiction but with the Romances we get to see a different side of History in motion which I also love as the juxtapositions might differ but the allure of time travelling through this unique window in time is just as wicked awesome for me personally! I would think each of you would have a wealth of research to knit into the background inasmuch as how it must have led to inspiring conversations – as each of you moved into your own installment and were thus, building off the one which had just come ahead of your own.

(*) I encourage my readers and visitors to click over to visit the Wentworth Woodhouse estate! You will be pleasantly surprised by what you find on that website!

What did you feel was the most challenging aspect of writing a Historical Romance and what did you feel was the most uplifting as well?

Pennington responds: In Historical Romance, it’s always difficult to find the right balance between history and romance. Sure, it’s always difficult to get the details right, but for me, it is so hard not to just dump all of the splendid things you’ve learned in the research phases into your story. Learning how to add just the right amount and focus on the story is of utmost importance. And that is important because it’s always the story that matters. Sharing the triumphs of the characters and growing with them is definitely the most uplifting aspect.

I couldn’t agree more!! These are the kinds of #HistRom I feel spellbound to read, the ones which enchant me and encourage the romance out of the historical past to re-illuminate the lives which are being not only re-visited but it is almost as if through the historical composite characters writers create we get a chance to re-live those eras in time ourselves through their own unique perspectives. Plus, who doesn’t love just simply feeling ‘caught inside’ a romance set against a unique era in time we cannot readily envision for ourselves?

Which secondary character was your favourite and which scene did you feel was the one which left you the happiest in seeing them shine?

Pennington responds: The Countess is my favorite secondary character. She actually originated in my full-length novel that will be releasing in early 2019. She’s just amazing. In this story, I especially loved the scene where she is giving Cornelia advise on how to find happiness. And if you loved her in this story, you’ll adore her in To Love a Gentleman, so watch for it!

Ooh now this is intriguing! When I get a print copy of this story, I’ll be sure to look for the Countess and how wicked lovely she is making another appearance in the forthcoming year! I love how characters take on their own timeline – how they sometimes encourage us to lengthen their story and/or to give them more breadth to tell a part of their story we have not yet visited!!

As your story in this series is about redemptive love and second chances, how difficult was it to show the arc of trust and distrust between your two lead characters? How did you approach the disconnections between them and move them towards a resolution a reader would find believable?

Pennington responds: There were two difficult challenges with this. The first was the limited word count since we were writing novellas. So much had to be revealed in backstory, but there were not a lot of words to do it in. The other tricky part was making Sir James a character you could love and root for even though he so badly butchered his original chance with Cornelia. This involved showing what they had both suffered in their separation and show through their interactions that they were both blind in ways when it came to the other. The rest came down to the choices they made in the present.

Ooh I had forgotten they were novellas! They felt so much larger than the regular scope of a novella to me – a credit to how you capitalised on the collaboration side of the series!! I give incredible credit to those who can write and carve out such a lovely depth of place and centre for a series within the shorter lengths of both novella and short stories! I am an avid reader of both lengths and although I am charmed by them, my personal writing style is more set for fuller lengths than the shorter ones. I can’t wait to read and see what your referring too and seeing how the larger expanse of the Regency House Party evolves as it moves through the installments!

About Michelle Pennington

Michelle Pennington

Michelle Pennington writes clean, heart-pounding, sigh-inducing romance across multiple genres. Her books include Young Adult, Contemporary, Regency, and Fantasy. The genre might change, but her characters will always be falling in love.

She spends her days quoting movies with her husband and making messes faster than her four kids. She also has a cat her kids call Boots, but is really Hessian Boots, the perfect Regency gentleman, complete with a snowy white cravat. She loves to make magic by stringing words together, but she also creates designer sugar cookies, sings loud in church, and kills too many house plants. ​

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of SLB Tours:

Singing Librarian Book Tours blog tour hostess badge is provided by SLB Tours and is used with permission.

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by visiting the blog tour route:

especially as this is a tour offering a special giveaway

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For those of you who are following this lovely blog tour – there was a slight mishap in having my post revealled on the 10th as scheduled. I am thankful Ms Sydney (our tour coordinator @ SLB Tours) contacted me about the hiccup! I was on late in the early hours of Sunday eagerly excited to promote a RAL I’m hosting for #RRSciFiMonth where I immediately put that on hold to sort out the glitch with this interview! I was spending the early bits of my weekend with family after hosting @SatBookChat which is why I hadn’t realised this had been an issue myself.

Thereby, I sorted it out and made sure this was ‘sticky’ ontop of my blog as soon as possible! My next interview for this lovey Regency series will be featuring “An Unlikely Courtship” by Heidi Kimball on the 17th of November! I look forward to sharing our conversation next Saturday! Stay bookish, dear hearts and I appreciate your patience!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Book cover of “The Unwanted Suitor”, synopsis, author photograph of Michelle Pennington, author biography, the blog tour banner and SLB Tours badge were all provided by SLB Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Conversations with the Bookish and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 11 November, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era




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