Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Interview - Lauren Gilbert

For this month's interview, I am delighted to welcome to the blog Regency author and prolific contributor to EHFA (English Historical Fiction Authors) Lauren Gilbert. Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in Art History. An avid reader, she is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She has presented several programs to JASNA chapters.

Welcome Lauren and thank you for joining me on the blog today. Can I begin by asking, why Regency? Can you put your finger on precisely what attracts you to this period?

I come from a family of readers.  My mother, grandmother and great-aunts all read voraciously, and were passionately addicted to English authors and  historical novels set in England , many in the Regency era.  My reading was never restricted and I read a lot of those books in addition to the regular fare.  I enjoyed the Regency era as portrayed in the novels.  Then I got into the history and was really hooked. The political upheaval and societal changes remind me greatly of our own time.  Somehow it seemed a natural for me.

You set your novel, Heyerwood, in England, rather than the US, where you live. Was there a particular reason for this? 

It was the novel I wanted to write, and England was only logical place for it.

"HEYERWOOD: A Novel is a romantic historical novel, set in the Georgian/Regency period in England. The story of a woman learning to cope with power and control at a time when women traditionally had little power at all, this book will appeal to readers of history, fans of historical novels, and admirers of Jane Austen alike."

How easy was it to research the novel, given that you live so far away from the setting? 

The research is the fun part.  The public library (especially inter-library loan) and the internet are wonderful things.  I have also amassed a certain number of source materials of my own.  I had already done a lot of reading just for personal pleasure.  I have also done a certain amount of research on the era for presentations for the Jane Austen Society of North America region to which I belong.  Wonderful blogs provided a great deal of information.  I was also able to locate e-mail addresses for libraries in areas for which I needed data.  It also helps that I have visited England a few times, and had the opportunity to see certain locales with my own eyes, pick up local brochures etc.  I would like the opportunity to make a serious research trip one day, for a non-fiction work for which I have some notes, but consider myself very fortunate to have access to such a wealth of information via the internet.

Where did the inspiration for the story come from?  

It’s hard to say.  I wanted to write a book that I would enjoy reading. The arranged marriage trope is always interesting. The character of Lady Russell in Jane Austen’s Persuasion also rather intrigued me - a secure widow who did not actively seek another husband and lived her life to suit herself.  I wondered what a young woman who had been compelled to make a marriage that did not turn out to be happy or even contented might have done if it ended and how she would have handled that freedom in that time.

"Due to the recent death of her husband [Catherine] could not go out into the garden without draping herself in black veils...'My house,' she thought fiercely, 'Mine!' Curled in a chair by the window, she brooded about the chain of events leading to her present circumstances, events in which she herself had had little or no input."

Would you ever write a book set in another period, and if so which one and why?  

I have notes for a mystery set in late 19th century Tampa.  I lived in Tampa for many years, and loved it there.  Many influences combine to give it a fascinating history.

Franklin St, Tampa, c. 1920-20 (image public domain via Wikipedia)

So, what is in the pipeline - are you working on anything at the moment?  

I am currently working on another Regency-era novel which I hope to have ready for release in 2017.

Thanks so much for joining me Lauren.

You can read some of Lauren's EHFA articles in Castles, Customs and Kings, Volume One and Volume Two
You can find her on her website
and you can buy Heyerwood HERE


  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Annie! It was a privilege to be interviewed by you.

    1. The pleasure was all mine Lauren! Thank you for telling us all about your writing processes :-)

  2. Great interview. And I think your nonfiction book will be oh so educational!