Award-winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she found her true interest in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave. For more information about Alina and her novels please visit her website – http://alinakfield.com/
Jann: Today I’m talking with the delightful Regency Romance Author, Alina K. Field. Welcome Alina to A Slice of Orange.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?
Mary: I’m working on promo for The Viscount’s Seduction, book two in my Sons of the Spy Lord series, which is available on pre-order and releases September 12, 2017. Meanwhile, I’m getting Book 3, The Rogue’s Last Scandal, ready for an editing deadline a few very short weeks away. These are Regency-set romances, high on adventure, and I’m having a lot of fun with them. Which doesn’t mean I’m not biting my fingernails a lot trying to get everything right!
Jann: How do you stay motivated? What drives you to keep writing?
Mary: Writing is fun! Yes, getting the words on the page can be agonizing, the promo requirements annoying, the rejection demoralizing, but there are downsides to any business. And I do see this as a business, with a goal to entertain readers who like the same sort of story I like.
When I left my last career, I knew I wanted to do something with what I always felt was my true calling—writing. What a blessing to land in this business during the middle of an industry revolution and the blossoming of indie publishing. Long-term, my goal is to keep writing the best stories I can, and to build up a body of work—income-producing intellectual property I can leave to my heirs.
Jann: What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?
And, an Amazon reviewer said this about that same book: “Now this is what I like in a romance book! There’s mystery, anticipation, surprises, a little humor, a little sex, an evil villain, no cheating, no cliffhanger, and a happily ever after.”
That’s what I like in a story also!
Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Mary: “Do it your way.” Of course, you must learn craft, but how you go about that can be as unique as you are. How many words you write and when are all up to you, as is how you get input, and from whom. The genre or subgenre you write, the themes, tone, and level of sexual content you choose—they’re all up to you.
Readers are unique and have different tastes. (Oh boy, is that true–ask any author looking over contest judging results!) If you have the basics of craft down, somewhere in this world full of many billions of literate people, there are readers who will enjoy your stories.
When my muse starts to choke, I remind her she’s free to write whatever she wants. The only absolute rule is to do my best to tell a story that resonates with my readers.
Jann: What’s your favorite movie?
Mary: I gravitate toward action/adventure films. I love the Bourne movies and The Accountant. Those are pure escapism. Among the more thoughtful contemporary movies, favorites are Michael Clayton, A Good Year, and The Good Shepherd.
I’m a huge history nerd and I loved Master and Commander, but my very favorite historical (so far) is Zulu, a 1964 movie starring a very young Michael Caine as Gonville Bromhead (gotta love that name), as well as Stanley Baker, who also produced the film. Nigel Green is amazing as the Colour Sergeant. I’m going to go look for my DVD and watch it again this weekend!
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
Mary: Yes! And I blog at least once a week about topics that interest me, like historical research, projects I’m working on, or my friends’ new books. This year I’m participating in a fun weekly blog hop with authors from Marketing For Romance Authors, including fellow historical romance author and OCCRWA member, Linda McLaughlin.
I also have a Facebook page, and inspiration boards on Pinterest for each of my books.
Here are my links:
Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/4nU5T
Thank you Alina K. Field for taking time to be with us today to answer our questions. If you have comments or questions for Alina, please use the comment form below. Also, Alina’s books are available here on A Slice of Orange.
Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.
Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.
Recently I listened to a perfectly delightful Regency romance on audio, but some obvious errors nagged at me and got me to pondering which is worse, too much research or too little?
Those of us who write books that require extensive research are always advised to not let the research show. Weave it as seamlessly as possible into the narrative. That makes perfect sense, though it isn’t easy to do. But what about too little research? That’s when errors become glaring enough that some readers, esp. the ones who also write, are pulled out of the story, saying “Wait a minute, that’s not right.”
Sometimes it’s a matter of historical characters acting or speaking in modern fashion. This can be one of the most glaring problems. Then there is the matter of social mores of the time, which vary from one period to the next.
One of the biggest traps novelists can fall into is writing historical characters with 21st century mores. And nothing can make the reader want to throw a book across the room quicker. This especially applies to women. The double standard still exists, but it was much greater in previous centuries. A young woman’s reputation was golden.
War and social unrest have always upset the normal patterns of life, and social mores tend to fall by the wayside during such periods. Still, a historical female character who shows no regard for her reputation isn’t believable unless she’s already a fallen woman and has no reputation to lose.
Personally, I don’t necessarily mind a heroine who flaunts society’s rules; I just need to believe that she knows what she is doing and is well motivated in her choices. The woman who doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions strains credibility. Women had a lot more to lose in the not-so-good old days.
In the book in question, the problem seemed to be more one of the author not understanding how the social season worked. Societal rules were much more stringent, esp. among the upper classes. It was one way the maintained their air of privilege. It all seems ridiculous to us now, but the aristocracy took these things very seriously.
In general, a young lady could not be out in society unless she had been presented at court and made her bow to the Queen. In my Regency romance, Lady Elinor’s Escape, Lady Elinor is hiding out in a dress shop, pretending to be a seamstress, which means she could not also be out in society. But we writers find ways around details like that. The one ball scene in the book is a masquerade ball she attends only because the shop owner retrieved a discarded invitation from the trash. As long as Elinor leaves before the unmasking at midnight, she feels the risk is worth it.
In writing, like Regency society, it’s best to know the rules before you (or your characters) break them.
So too much research or too little? I’m enough of a history freak to prefer too much research showing to wondering if the author did any at all. What do you think?
aka Lyndi Lamont