Interview with Anne Gracie – Author of Regency Historical Romances

Posted July 8, 2016 by Lucy D in Spotlight / 22 Comments

featured author - anne gracie

Thank you for stopping by to talk with us today.  I have greatly enjoyed your Chance Sisters series and absolutely love Lady Beatrice.

Thanks so much for inviting me to do this interview. I’m glad you loved Lady Beatrice — I did too.

Your Chance Sisters series was an interesting premise of two sisters and two friends, who were barely surviving on their own in London but decided to stick together no matter what.   Things looked bleak for them until they came upon an old Dowager, who was bedridden and being abused and neglected by her staff.   The girls stepped in under the pretense of being nieces.  Their liveliness breathed new life into Lady Bea and Lady Bea provided them with a home and a chance to meet eligible husbands.

Lady Bea loves to make up stories on the spot and the more embellished, the happier she is.  Is she based off someone you know, or is this something you like to do yourself?autumn bride

Lady Beatrice is outrageous, I know, and she positively delights in her flights of fancy. She’s not malicious though, and her initial “big lie” is as much to tease her very straight-laced nephew as anything else. But she’s not based on me or anyone I know. For me, when I’m lucky, some characters just “arrive” on the page and try to take over, and she was one of them. But I do think some old ladies can become a law unto themselves — and Lady Bea certainly does. J

As much as I have enjoyed the other Chance sisters, I have excitedly awaited the story of Daisy.  Daisy was not raised in a genteel home but rather on the streets of London.  Daisy has no interest in finding a husband, and her dream is to become a dressmaker to the rich and fabulous.  Daisy reminds me of Eliza in My Fair Lady but surprisingly she doesn’t try to be more polished for her future clients.  What made you choose the feisty Daisy, rather than just making Daisy another properly raised lady?

Summer BrideWhen I was writing that first scene in the first book (Autumn Bride) Daisy was just meant to be a minor character. But from the moment she stepped onto the page she came alive, and she was risking herself and her position to help the other two girls, and I just couldn’t let her fade off into the night, alone.

I loved that she had her own plan for her life, and was ambitious for her dressmaking business. And she hates lies and fakery, so she’s not going to pretend to be French or try to make herself over as a “lady”. She’s good at what she does and she won’t curry favor. As it says in the book:

Daisy had no illusions about herself. She was a little Cockney guttersnipe with a gimpy leg and a foul mouth—though she was working on the swearing, and her grammar. But she loved beautiful clothes and—praise be!— she was good at making them.

She was going to be somebody, and she was going to do it all herself; Daisy Chance, Dressmaker to the Toffs, with a shop and a business all her own. That was her dream, and she was so hungry for it she could almost taste it.

I’ve always liked characters from a variety of backgrounds. Editors in the past have discouraged me from making non-aristocratic girls into heroines, so I’ve usually given them a secondary romance, but I loved Daisy from the first, and I wanted her to have her very own happy ending—up front and center stage. And with a gorgeous man.

As you wrap up the story of the Chance sisters, is there any chance we will see a short story where the girls turn the tables and help Lady Bea finds her own suitor from the next book reading club?

I hadn’t planned it, but it’s a fun idea. Readers have really bonded with Lady Beatrice and I’ve had quite a few emails from readers asking for a romance for her. She does deserve it, doesn’t she?

I’ve also had a lot of requests for Ash’s story — he appeared briefly in the first book, and while I had planned him for Jane, I decided she needed someone a little wilder.

And then there is Marcus, a hero-in-waiting from a previous series. I have hundreds of requests for The perfect rakehis story. But as always, time is the thing in short supply, and I’m not a fast writer, so I won’t promise, but I’ll try.

Each of your series are Regency-era historicals.  What drew you to historicals?

Anne: I read all kinds of books growing up, and “historical” was just another exciting and different story world, like Narnia, or Darkover or HarryPotterWorld. Georgette Heyer was a huge favorite of mine and I’ve been reading and rereading her books since I was eleven. Her storytelling is wonderful and her characters leap off the page. As well, I adore the humor in her books. So when I started seriously writing romance, and found that publishers were looking for regency-era novels, it was a natural fit for me.

What do you like to do when you are not writing stories of romance and ball gowns?

I read – it’s my main unwinding method. I read much more than I watch TV. I hang out on the phone and on the computer with my writing friends, who live all over the world. I make jewelry —I have a passion for pearls and crystals and natural stones and sea glass, but I also make paper jewelry and fimo beads. I also walk my dog – she gets me out every day, otherwise I might turn into a mad hermit lady. I also write fun little illustrated books for adults learning to read. (Google PRACE PageTurners) I love music and often go to hear live bands with my friends. I love to travel when I get the chance. I ought to work in my garden more, and then there’s that thing called housework.

Now that the Chance sisters all have their HEA, have you started your next project?

Yes indeed. I’ve started a new series about an officer who unexpectedly inherits a title, a fortune and the responsibility for three spirited young female relatives. He’s used to handling men, not young women who burst into tears, or flounce from the room, or simply ignore him and go their own sweet way. So he makes a convenient marriage to a woman he thinks will know how to handle the girls. But can he handle her? The first book is called MARRY IN HASTE.

Thank you for stopping by and we are looking forward to reading more of your exciting historicals.

Thanks so much. It’s lovely to visit.

I’ll give away a copy of either Autumn Bride (the first book in the series) or Summer Bride (the last one) to someone who leaves a comment. And here’s a question to kick off the discussion: Do you prefer aristocratic heroes and heroines, or people from more varied backgrounds?

(Giveaway ends Thursday, July 14th.)

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]Our winner is…Cecilia. Congratulations.[/box]


Anne Gracie

Anne Gracie writes fun, heartwarming regency-era romances for Berkley, USA. She’s a national bestselling author in the USA, a five time RITA finalist and her books have won a number of awards, both in the USA and Australia. Her books have been translated into 17 languages. In 2016 she was voted “Favorite Australian Romance Author”.

Anne spent her childhood and youth on the move, thanks to her dad’s job, which took them around the world. The gypsy life taught her that humor & love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are. Anne also promotes universal literacy, flings balls for her dog, keeps bees and enjoys reading, music, cooking and her tangled garden.

Visit Anne’s website at www.annegracie.com
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/AnneGracieAuthor
Twitter @AnneGracie
Newsletter: Sign up on www.annegracie.com or via Anne’s FB page.
Anne also blogs fortnightly with the Word Wenches; Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice, Susan Fraser King, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliot and Joanna Bourne. Visit them at http://wordwenches.typepad.com

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22 responses to “Interview with Anne Gracie – Author of Regency Historical Romances

  1. Mary Jo Toth

    I like to read a variety of backgrounds. I enjoy the aristocratic heroes and heronies but I like to change that up and experience someone changing their fate/lot in life for a bigger dream. I have to admit that from review and interview, I’m very interested in Daisy’s story. She sounds like an amazing heroine!

    • Thanks, Mary Jo. Daisy was a character who sprang to life on the page in the first book of the series, THE AUTUMN BRIDE — and I loved her and was determined she’d get her happy ending. Luckily readers loved her as much as I did.

  2. Cecilia Clark

    I like variety in main characters. One of the things I enjoyed most about the Chance sisters was their varied backgrounds. So many stories focus on the upper echelons of society to the detriment of all the good stories of the rest of humanity. I am so pleased you did not ‘fix’ Daisy or find her an unexpected upper echelon family. Thank you

    • Thank you, Cecilia. It was important to me, too that she find love for herself, exactly as she was, without getting a “lady makeover.” But I know a few readers were hoping for just that — the Eliza Doolittle thing. But you can’t please everyone. 🙂

  3. JenM

    Personally, I love romances where the characters aren’t from the nobility. I like reading about the ordinary folks. There are very few Regencies that feature other characters though. One reason I like romances set in Victorian times is that the class system was starting to break down so you do get more variety in the characters. I haven’t read the other books yet, but I really enjoyed The Autumn Countess and that was one of the reasons I picked it up in the first place.

    • Thanks, Jen — yes, toward the end of The Summer Bride, Flynn is talking about how the world is changing. LOL about The Autumn Countess — a bit like The Secret Countess (originally A Countess Below Stairs) by one of my favorite writers, Eva Ibbotson.

  4. Juanita Decuir

    O’ Anne, I fell in love with Daisy from the first book, hoping she’d get her own story… great interview!

  5. Laura Boon

    I like both kinds of heroines and heroes, aristocratic and working class. I think everyone deserves a happy ending. Also, looks are deceptive. Being rich doesn’t guarantee happiness just as being poor(er) doesn’t mean you are unhappy.

    • That’s true, Laura, though I think poor often means you’ll have a harder life. Thanks for visiting and contributing to the discussion.

  6. Texas Book Lover

    I like H/h from all walks of life and different backgrounds. I usually relate to those of the regulate variety best although it can be fun to read nobility too.

  7. When I first started reading historicals it felt like there was a lot more variety in the heroes and heroines (I’m thinking Lisa Kleypas) and then we went through a stage of nothing but dukes, but over the past five years I feel diversity is returning. That said, maybe I felt there was more variety because Borders has such a HUGE romance section, and it was the loss of the big retailer that limited what I saw.

    • Yes, it’s such a shame that so many bookstores have closed, isn’t it, Samara? I’ve only ever written one duke and he was part of the secondary romance couple in The Perfect Rake. There just weren’t that many dukes around. That said, I’m planning to write on in the next series. 🙂