Give us a little bit about your background and when you first started publishing.
I’m a lawyer by day and writer in all the free time I can spare. I arrived late to writing, in fact I never expected to be a writer until I happened to be in my 30s and read a string of very bad books. I complained about them to my husband claiming I could do a better job of writing, to which he answered, “so why don’t you?” I still wasn’t convinced until I happened to be at a business function at the Marriott Hotel in New York City about a week later when I rode down the elevator with a very pleasant woman who was wearing the identical dress as mine. We laughed about it, and when I got off the elevator, I saw a big sign with a picture of her. Turns out the woman was Nora Roberts. If that wasn’t a sign from above clobbering me over the head about writing, I don’t know what was! But it took me years before I felt comfortable enough to send my books out. The time was not wasted. I wrote and wrote and studied and learned, and in the meantime raised my kids and ran my law practice. When I finally sold, it was a nine-book deal, two full series to my first publisher.
Historical Setting Related:
Have you visited the places you’ve written about or just read about them?
- Yes, I’ve traveled extensively and have been to England and Scotland, fell in love with the Lake District, London, Oxford, everything! Same for Scotland, it’s more rugged and quite beautiful.
What interesting settings have you used (homes, battlefields, events in history, etc)?
- I’ve used London, of course, because my books are all set during the Regency period, so my heroines will be attending magnificent London balls during their debut season, perhaps being presented at St. James’s Court, or presenting vouchers at Almacks, or riding on Rotten Row. The Napoleonic War features prominently because it took place then and my heroes are often big, strapping military men or agents of the Crown. My dark fantasy Dark Gardens series is primarily set in England’s beautiful Lake District. The beautiful lakes and countryside serve as a counterpoint to the menace brewing within – the bluebell gardens that serve as portals into the realm of the Fae and the red mountain known as Friar’s Crag that will lead you into the demon world.
Why did you choose the particular period you write in? What is it about that era that speaks to you?
- There is an enchantment to the Regency period that cannot be matched in any other time. Everything about it is grand and elegant. The fashions of the day, the manners, the handsome dukes and other noblemen, the war raging against Napoleon, the balls, Vauxhall gardens, the palaces, the royal academies and museums, the Serpentine at Hyde Park.
What inspires you to create a certain character (give example)? Have you ever changed the character arc because it didn’t work with the storyline?
- I love these two questions because I always think of my characters first, before I plot a story, even before I come up with a conflict. The heroes and heroines bubble in a big broth in my head as I decide how to pair them. They must have characteristics that draw them together and also – very important – make them an unlikely pairing, but they’ll overcome all obstacles and fall in love because their hearts won’t allow them to do otherwise. Lily from My Fair Lily is the perfect example. She’s a Regency bluestocking, a total science nerd and proud of it. So when I began thinking about her perfect hero, I figured it would be a professorial sort, someone very academic. But no, Lily pointed me to Ewan Cameron, a big, burly Highlander who hated everything English (or so he thought). “I want him.” That’s what Lily told me and who was I to object? So this English bluestocking got her brawny Scottish hero. But Ewan disliked all Sassenachs, so how was I to get him to notice Lily? His sheepdog, Jasper. Ewan had brought his wayward sheepdog to London with him and Jasper immediately spotted Lily and fell in love with her. He kept knocking her down. He broke her glasses. He dumped her book in a puddle. He dumped her in the same puddle. Ewan kept having to fix the mischief his dog created. And in the meantime, he fell in love with Lily.
Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process? Do the stars have to be aligned or do you have to have your favorite tea? Where do you do your best writing?
- The only quirk I have in my writing is that I have to love my characters or else I just can’t start. Getting the romantic pairings right is most important. Once I do, I can write anywhere and will not get out of my chair unless someone (usually husband) forces me to eat or sleep or get showered/dressed because otherwise I’d be found dead, starved, and unwashed in my chair. I will admit, you might find a bottle of Coca-cola beside me most of the time – it’s my vice.
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
- That is a VERY tough question because I must fall deeply in love with my hero in whichever story I’m writing. If I don’t love him, how will the heroine or my readers fall in love with him? My favorite in the Farthingale series is probably Ian Markham, the Duke of Edgeware, from The Duke I’m Going To Marry. I gave Ian such a haunted childhood and detestable family that despite his wealth, title and good looks, he’s a very damaged soul. I also love Hugh Le Brecque from Pearls of Fire, and I am currently wildly in love with Thad MacLauren, my smart-mouthed, irreverent Scot from my latest story, The Taste of Love. He and Penelope are hilarious together, and Thad is sizzling hot. He’s funny, brash, and also, tender, protective and loyal.
Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre?
- I love cosy mysteries, love gothic romances – those “don’t open that door” stories where you know the heroine is going to do just that and somebody dead or deranged is going to fall out. The heroes in those stories are always smoky-eyed and brooding – tons of fun! I also love dragonshifters and Fae fantasy stories, so I couldn’t resist writing my Dark Gardens series, set in England’s Lake District where an ancient Fae prophecy is about to unfold. Within that serene backdrop, the worlds of Fae and humans are pitted against demons and the Dragon Lords who rule them.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Meara a little better. If you’re interested, check out Meara’s latest book releasing 08/30/2019 titled “The Taste of Love”, book 3 in her Best Selling series “The Book of Love”.