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Interview with Mary Moore

Regency author Mary Moore shares about her inspiration for Accidental Fiancée, writing challenges, favorite authors, New Year’s plans, and much more. Use this interview to gain inspiration from Mary and her love of writing historical fiction as well as who has inspired her.

I’d love it if you’d share with us the inspiration for Accidental Fiancée.
The inspiration for Accidental Fiancée is God’s grace. I wanted that theme to run throughout the story. I write Regencies, and I’ve always loved a Regency story written around a rake. For those who don’t know, a rake would be a ladies man, a wealthy man who had the means to do what he wanted when he wanted. Not a bad guy, but not the squeaky clean hero you want the heroine to end up with! I’ve wanted to write a story around a rake for a while, but it is a little difficult to do in the inspirational market. So, I looked to Georgette Heyer, arguably the greatest Regency author. She did not write Christian fiction, but it was squeaky clean, so I knew it could be done. And I thought it would be a great way to show how God’s grace can work in our lives no matter what our past looks like.

Writing historical fiction requires a lot of research! What does that process look like for you? What’s your favorite part? Least favorite?

I’ve been reading Regencies for more than 40 years and writing them for more than 20, so I have been a student of the Regency era for a long time. What I do now (and should have been doing forever) is to create files for topics as I study them. The internet, of course, is a great resource, as well as online classes and training sessions at conferences. Since being published, I have joined several Regency and historical loops and chapters with authors who have such extensive knowledge and a willingness to share it, that they are always a huge research source.

My favorite part is making new discoveries. In the Regency period when it snowed, women wore “pattens” outside to protect their shoes. I had to come up with an article for a Regency blog and where I lived, we were in the midst of a huge snowstorm, so I thought about writing on pattens. I discovered that I knew nothing about pattens! It was so interesting, that I kept on researching and ended up with information back to the 14th century! I would have to say that finding information by reading historical books and working at the library is my least favorite way of researching a topic, but only because it is a much slower process.

What was one challenge you faced while writing Accidental Fiancée?

As I mentioned in the first question, this book starts out with a less than pristine hero. My challenge was to make him realistic, the handsome bad boy, in the beginning of the story while being published by a “Christian” house. For instance, the issue of alcohol was the first obstacle that had to be overcome. Even the prosiest of men drank liquor during the Regency period. In fact, it was almost all that they drank. Whether it was an ale while changing horses at a posting inn or drinking brandy all night while playing cards, it was a mainstay for any Regency gentleman. The exception, of course, was tea. Should a man attend an afternoon tea in the presence of ladies, he would possibly have a cup, but even then, he’d be more likely to have sherry instead. My publisher would not allow the hero to have alcohol. After going to several of my peers, the only other option(s) did not fit in with the story. In the end, I made my hero’s father a drunkard, so though he was still a rake, he promised himself he would never become a drunkard like his father; so he did not imbibe himself.

What is your favorite part about writing historical romance?

I want others to find an interest in and grow to love the Regency era of England. It is a very small amount of time in years (circa 1790-1811), but historically, you can find almost anything of interest. The King of England was incompetent because of illness and his son was named the Prince Regent; he was basically handling the reins while his father still lived. England was the nation of power. So the rich were especially rich and in reading the history or novels, you can find so much beauty. But England was also involved in two wars during that time period creating what was to become a huge shift in world power. There was also a dark and poor side to London that the glittering rich ignored and/or propagated. Technology took a huge step forward in the making of machines that could do the work of men. And the tenants of rich landowners throughout England began to revolt.

There are so many Regency authors now writing about all of the aspects of this time in history, creating an opportunity for more and more readers as they discover wonderfully woven novels written around this rich historical background. I want to create love stories so compelling, set in this amazing period of time, that readers begin to branch out to other Regency authors as they find a new genre to love.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I began writing years ago for my own pleasure, never expecting to be published. But now, my writing is a ministry for me. I want to write stories that touch someone right where they are in their relationship with God and others. I want to share some of the struggles and successes I’ve known in my life through my books. Writing is hard work, much harder than I ever imagined it could be when I was writing stories for myself. But when I get letters and responses that a particular story touched a chord in someone and they were uplifted; that spurs me on to the next one.

As I mentioned, some of the stories are written around a personal experience in my life, but some are built around a story I would want to read. I seriously leave my cell phone on the bedside table at night because I’ll wake up and think of an idea that sparks a new story or belongs in the one I am writing at the time. I just say a short note to myself into the recorder app and I’ll know what I was thinking of when I hear it again in the morning. Some stories are built around an item I see on the web that has nothing to do with writing. In Accidental Fiancée, a knight in armor plays a secondary role in the story. I saw a picture of him online and knew he would be perfect for this book!

What has been the biggest influence to your writing career?
The “what” has been a “who” in my career. When I began writing years ago, my sister-in-law was really the only person who I let read my stories. Carol decided they should be published! For years she would implore me to send a story to a publisher she heard about. I admit to giving them half-hearted attempts, but as I knew nothing about presenting a manuscript to a publisher, there was never any response-and I really didn’t expect one! But at a women’s retreat in 2010 my sister-in-law discovered that she was sitting next to a published author at breakfast and immediately made me change seats with her. As embarrassed as I was, the woman was wonderfully gracious about where I should start and gave me what turned out to be very valuable web sites that helped me determine a path. From there, God took the reins from my hands (and Carol’s!) and He has moved my career, through many wonderful people, to right where He wants it.

What author(s) do you look up to? And why?
As I mentioned above, my favorite author is Georgette Heyer. I began reading her books when I was 15 years old and through them, I fell in love with Regencies. A Regency group of authors I belong to is celebrating the 80th anniversary of her writing career all through 2015. I would recommend her to anyone who loves to read great romances by a mastermind of Regency history. I still have all of her books from when I first bought them and they are now being held together by rubber bands or a thread of the cover.

But I also look up to authors like Francine Rivers, whose Mark of the Lion series changed my life. Wonderful, contemporary women who weave their love for God so deftly throughout their stories that they can’t help but make you read in awe.

What is in your to be read pile?
Let’s see, I have 250 books on my kindle and 400 books on my Amazon wish list! I admit the bulk of them are Regencies, but also all of my peers and friends with Love Inspired Historical, many Christian love stories people recommend to me, and classics that I’ve read over and over again. My one beef with being a writer-I have no time to read for pleasure!

The New Year often brings to mind new goals and starting fresh. What is one personal goal you’d like to accomplish and one writing one?
My personal goal is that my quiet time with the Lord and Bible study get done EVERY day. That catapults me to my writing goal-I need to be more disciplined in time management so that a writing deadline doesn’t prompt me to cut out the most important goal of spending time every day with God.

Any parting words?
Thank you so much for your time and your questions, they were great!

Thanks for sharing with us, Mary!

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