The Twelfth Night Wager
by Regan Walker
On a dull day at White’s, the Redheaded Rake agreed to a wager: seduce and abandon the lovely Lady Leisterfield by Twelfth Night. After one taste of her virtue, he will stop at nothing less than complete possession.
“Speak of the devil,” said Lady Claremont.
The five women looked toward the doorway that led to the smaller book room. There on the threshold stood Eustace, in a dark blue coat over a white shirt and buff-colored breeches. Grace thought him very dashing. When his eyes focused on her, followed by a warm smile, her heart skipped.
She thought she heard Priscilla Wentworth let out a sigh. Apparently Eustace had made another conquest. How tiring it must be for him, she thought to herself, all those ladies falling at his feet. But even to herself, that sounded like jealousy.
He strode to their table, stopping along the way to greet other guests playing cards. When finally he reached them, he wished the group of five women good-day.
“How’s the card game going, ladies?”
“It’s not whist,” said the countess, “but ’twill do as it’s loo.” She chuckled at her own rhyme, and the ivory feather above her silver locks flicked in jaunty fashion. Emily rolled her eyes.
Eustace chuckled, too. “You look well settled into the game.”
“Have you just come from the fox-hunt?” Grace asked.
“I have. But you can be thankful I first cleaned off the mud. It’s positively soggy out there. Still, it was worth it; Ormond, Alvanley and I had a good run through the woods.”
“It sounds delightful,” said Emily. “I love the sounds of the bugle and the hounds eager to give chase to the wily fox. Did you catch him?”
“Sadly, yes. The end of the chase is always so…final, and somehow disappointing.”
Eustace’s words drew her attention and she noticed his serious expression. She had the feeling he wasn’t talking only about fox-hunts.
It has been my pleasure to speak with Regan Walker, author of The Twelfth Night Wager. During our conversation, I noted her interesting answers to some of my questions.
1. Tell me a little about your book and what inspired you to write it?
I love to read and write Christmas stories. They put me in the mood for the holiday. Last year I wrote a Lunchbox Romance, The Holly & The Thistle, which readers seemed to enjoy. This year, at the urging of my publisher, I decided to do another story but make it a bit longer, and The Twelfth Night Wager, a novella, was complete at half the length of one of my novels. As for inspiration, I was doing some research and discovered that men in the Regency loved to wager—about everything! And they wrote their wagers down in “the book” at their clubs. Some of their wagers were quite outlandish, so I came up with one of my own, a scandalous one involving a rake and a virtuous widow.
2. When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
I never liked outlines in school, so no outlines. Usually I have the title, a few characters and the beginning in my head. Then the characters come to life and “live” in the world I’ve created and the story takes off. I allow my characters to tell me what happens next but sometimes I lay historical events, Regency activities or disasters in their path and they must deal with them.
3. Do you ever have arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
No arguments. I like them and love seeing what they will do next.
4. What is something about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I was a serious lawyer with serious jobs for a long time. My left brain was overdeveloped, my right brain atrophied. The thing my clients would have found surprising, but my readers would not, is that I am a romantic; deeply romantic.
5. If you could write with any other author who would it be any why?
That’s a hard question. On my blog I have a list of my favorite Historical Romance authors (http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com) and it’s not a short list. Perhaps my top favorites might be Penelope Williamson, Elizabeth Stuart and Jan Cox Speas, none of whom are writing Historical Romance today. But there are some 5-star authors on my list that I would love to collaborate with, among them Elizabeth Chadwick (for her deep understanding of history) and Virginia Henley (for how she weaves history into the story). Virginia has also given me a wonderful quote that appears on the covers of the novels in my Agents of the Crown trilogy. However, the one with whom I love to share ideas and story approach is Kaki Warner, award winning author of Western historicals, so perhaps Kaki. See… it’s a difficult choice.
6. When you were little what did you dream of becoming when you grew up and why?
I dreamed of a job outdoors, being in nature every day. I think the first job I thought of was a naturalist. I loved to be barefoot in the woods or with my toes in the sand at the beach. My undergraduate degree is in science—ecology. But as I grew older that didn’t translate into a serious career (unless I wanted to teach, which I did not, or be a forest ranger, the latter, I must say, had considerable appeal). Alas, I became a lawyer before becoming a Romance novelist.
7. When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I’ve been writing all my life, but not Historical Romance, or even fiction. About 2010, I discovered my love of Historical Romance (I know, a late bloomer). I am a voracious reader and began to read a book every couple of days. It was the deep ones, the keepers that led to my first novel, Racing With The Wind.
Well, that and my best friend, who told me I should write one.
She said that I thought like a writer. I like real history in my novels. I want to believe my characters could have lived and loved in the past. And I think it was a fascination with all that was going on in France and England during the time of the Regency (1811-1820) that drew me to that period. In addition to England’s war with Napoleon, there was the War of 1812 that made the relationship with young America so interesting. There was just so much to work with. But I love history of all periods, so I won’t confine myself forever to the Regency period. I’m writing a medieval now, and then I plan to write the prequel to my trilogy. It will be set in the late 18th century.
8. What music inspires your writing?
A great question as I am influenced by music. Typically I have a score or a song that influences a particular book. It is often, but not always, the music of French composer Alexandre Desplat. For my first novel, Racing With The Wind, it was his scores for Coco Before Channel and Girl With a Pearl Earring. Then a song by Ricky Martin (Nobody Wants to be Lonely) led to the critical bordello scene in my second novel, Against the Wind. I wrote the pirate scenes for my third novel, Wind Raven, to the score of Skyfall. For my Christmas stories like The Twelfth Night Wager and The Holly & The Thistle, it’s the Carols of the Clare College Choir in England. Their music is ethereal… simply beautiful.
Also, I read to music and have a three-hour playlist, mostly Alexandre Desplat’s scores.
What is your favorite breakfast? Something elaborate I don’t have to make myself, like an unusual omelet with wonderful pastries, and best enjoyed with friends.
What is your favorite color? Red (since I was a little girl and my great aunt sent me a red velvet dress, which I loved).
What is your favorite movie? Pride & Prejudice (the version with Kiera Knightley)
What is your dream car (details please)? Range Rover Sport, probably red but maybe black. I love that it goes off road and fast. And since I’ve been inside one, I know it’s the luxury version of a car you would take into the outback, the perfect combination.
Author website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
Regan’s Romance Reviews blog: http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/
Boroughs Publishing’s website: http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/authors/regan-walker
Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors thought her suited to the profession of law, and Regan realized it would be better to be a hammer than a nail. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.
Regan will be awarding a copy of three (3) of her books, Racing with the Wind, The Holly and the Thistle and The Shamrock and the Rose to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking on the banner below: