Welcome to the blog, Valerie. It’s always a pleasure to talk to another Regency author. So, here goes…
Wow! I have just read the prologue to Betrayal and now I can’t wait to read more, but I wanted to come to this interview in ignorance, if you like. To find out more about Valerie Holmes. Your writing career has spanned some twenty years and more than 45 books, most of which are historical and all of which as far as I can tell seem to be filled with romance and adventure. So what is the most important to you…Genre? Setting? Characters? What is it that leads your writing?
Thank you for the lovely compliment. My first publication was in 2002 when I won the Annual Ghost Story Competition in Writing Magazine. This was shortly followed by my first novella – I have not stopped writing since.
I think every writer loves the characters they create; the challenge is to convey this passion to the readers. I also love the region of North Yorkshire and its dramatic history over the centuries. I created my own typical market towns of Gorebeck and Beckton and the seaside fishing/smuggling village of Ebton that features in my To Have and To Hold, published by Sapere Books.
You will know that in Sapere Books we share a publisher and that I too write Regency romance. I know what drew me to the genre, but what about you?
Most of my books are set in the early nineteenth century. It is a fascinating period of turbulence and conflict. So much was changing: wars, inventions, religion, smuggling, class divides, and population shifts that it is ripe for conflict – the essence of drama.
I feel that Regency is so often limited to The Ton and a very limited and somewhat glorified view of the period, when it was a time of great change and often suffering. I find the North Yorkshire setting beautiful and dramatic, but romance and love are always at the core of the adventure.
Romance is at the heart of life, if you pardon the pun. The world needs more romance and happy endings. Genres are separated but are interdependent – love is very often at the centre of many plots, or the lack of it.
I admit to having had a peep at some of your books on Amazon and I see you frequently have a prologue. Is it a device you employ deliberately or does it just fall that way for you?…
Some people do not like prologues, which is fine, but if they do what they were intended to do – set up a situation, a past event or scene that directly impacts on everything that happens from Chapter One moving forwards, then I am happy to use them.
Often though it depends upon the plot and if one is needed to avoid clumsy flashbacks.
…Which begs the question, plotter or pantser?
I used to be a pantser when I just wrote novellas. Now I have developed into a plotter and ‘tweaker’. I still write from the heart, but I redraft and edit, refine, tweak and tighten the writing.
I have learnt to slow down and revisit. I used to be too eager to move on to the next story. Like anything you do over a number of years, the more you do it the more proficient you become.
I’ve just ordered Betrayal and can’t wait to begin. Are your books sequential or can I just dip in at will?
The next Regency Friends and Foes, Silent Revenge, will have Lord Farrington, an important sub-character from Betrayal reappearing, but most of my titles are stand-alone books that are linked by region.
The North Riding Novellas can be read in any order.
After more than 45 books, what is it that inspires you, and what’s coming next?
I have always been drawn to history – locations, historical fiction, non-fiction, folklore, customs and atmospheres. Ideas trigger from anywhere. It is amazing how learning and research on any period in history is a never-ending process. I have always enjoyed conjuring up characters, situations and adventures.
I have two more titles in Regency Friends and Foes being released this year and hope to see a prequel to the Sapere Books in print beyond that.
I have two other projects in draft for 2022 – but more on them later! J
Thanks so much for inviting me!
It’s been my pleasure. I hope you’ll come and join me again soon
1814 North Yorkshire, England
Lydia Fletcher is party to a secret. The lives of her father, a young woman and an unborn child depend on her keeping it. Lord and Lady Bagby are using her ailing father’s situation to ensure her compliance with their plans.
Lord Samuel Speers, a consulting physician, arrives in the village to purportedly complete a study on the health of the local people. He is really there in search of his cousin, a young woman who had been the Bagbys’ governess, and has disappeared since leaving their employ. He quickly recognises that Lydia may well be the key to solving the mystery and is drawn to her. Realising she is working beneath her natural station in life he presses for information. Lydia is desperate to trust someone, but is that person the handsome doctor?
Lydia needs a solution to her problems and time is becoming desperate. Who can she turn to? Dare she disclose what she knows about Samuel’s cousin? Will she be the next victim of the Bagbys’ plans?
About Valerie Holmes
Valerie has had forty-six large-print novellas published by F A Thorpe and four novels by Sapere Books.
She has independently published the eBook versions of some of the novellas and most recently launched a new Regency series.
Valerie is also a creative writing tutor for the London School of Journalism and Writing Magazine as well as independently and can be contacted via her website.
She is a member of the: RNA, CWA, HNS, Society of Authors and Alliance of Independent Authors.