Amanda Grange has written eleven historical romances for Hale and Severn House since they first picked her manuscript out of the slush pile six years ago.
Q: What made you first choose regencies?
A: I had always loved regencies, and I had always loved writing, so it seemed natural to combine the two.
Q: How much research do you do for each book?
A: To begin with, I had to research everything - clothes, furniture, architecture, political issues, the monarchy etc etc, but I made notes on everything I read and now I can usually find out what I need by consulting my notes. If I need an unusual background for my book, for example Manchester cotton mills for Rebecca's Refusal, or the history of Brighton for a forthcoming novel, I research it until I know everything I need to know.
Q: Describe a normal writing day?
A: If a book's going well, I write all day, sometimes until one or two o'clock in the morning. I tend to write first drafts at the computer and then edit on print outs. If a book's going badly, I work sporadically and in between I drink coffee and eat (too many!) biscuits. If a book comes to a complete halt, I usually work on a second book until I can see what to do with the first.
Q: Who are your favourite authors?
A: Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, the Brontes, Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien.
Q: What advice do you have for new writers aiming at the historical market?
A: Find out who publishes the historicals you most like to read, then consult their website or a writers' handbook to find out their requirements. If a publisher needs 100,000 words, for example, they won't publish your book - even if it's a work of genius - unless it's about 100,000 words long. Then look through their books for basic things such as whether they contain sex scenes, whether they contain a lot of history and whether they revolve around adventures or social scenes such as balls. Write the best book you can, bearing in mind the kind of thing the publisher wants / likes, and then put it away for a few weeks. Take it out and polish it. Then polish it again and again until it's as near flawless as you can make it. Send it off to the publisher - look up their submission guidelines first - then start another book. If the first one is rejected, make any suggested alterations and try sending it to another publisher (assuming they need the same length etc). Never throw anything away, as you might want to rewrite it in a year or so, and keep persevering. It took me four or five years to have a book accepted.