Mary Lancaster lives in Scotland with her husband, three mostly grown-up kids and a small, crazy dog. Her first literary love was historical fiction, a genre which she relishes mixing up with romance and adventure in her own writing. You can learn more about her and her books here.
What drew you to writing Historical Romance as opposed to a different genre?
I’ve always loved history, and the pleasure of trying to create a past world with characters who have different values and ideas was irresistible. Past times always seem so much more adventurous than our own mundane world, and I love to imagine the romance between characters of various eras.
If you could live in any historical period which one would you choose? Why?
Hmm… With my sensible head on, I wouldn’t REALLY like to live in the past with no access to proper medicine or painkillers, where if you yourself survived childhood, you were quite likely to die in childbirth! And then, if you weren’t born to wealth you were likely to poorly educated and abjectly poor!
However, waving such mundane things aside, I think I would enjoy the wit and frivolity and romance of the Regency. And the gowns, of course! 😊
Tell us something romantic from your own life.
I’ve been happily married to the same man for 27 years.
Are the heroes and heroines in your books inspired by any real people?
Partially. I suspect the heroes and heroines all contain some aspect of my husband or me! But most of my characters are a mix of different people, plus a healthy doze of sheer imagination. I can be inspired by faces, or by characters from history. In fact, my non-Regency books often contain heroes and heroine taken from actual history but with the twist of how I personally imagine them.
What kind of research do you do while writing a book to ensure historical accuracy?
I have a lot of research and reference books (and I’m always buying more!) to immerse myself in the period from different points of view – especially writings from that era where possible. If it’s a story involving actual people and events, I research those as deeply as possible from as many sources as I can. And, of course, the internet is invaluable for quick answers!
If you could have dinner with any person from the past, who would you choose and what would the two of you have to eat?
Hmmm. A lot of my heroes from history wouldn’t make very comfortable dinner guests! You don’t want them dashing off to fight or being hauled off to prison between courses 😊. I’ll say the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, because I think he’d be a fun and witty companion and he might immortalize me in poetry 😊. In which case we would have to eat haggis and neeps (turnips).
What is one book that impacted or changed your life that you think everybody should read? Why?
I don’t think there’s any book that everyone should read, because everyone’s tastes are so radically different. I could read a book that I think is filled with beauty and truth and a clever, moving story and someone else would struggle to get beyond page 10 – and vice versa 😊.
But if you like Regency romance, I would always recommend anything by Georgette Heyer, just because she captures so well the flavor of the time, and the books are so full of fun and humour. It was reading those that first made me want to write Regency romance.