Today I'm interviewing Regency romance author Miguelina Perez. Miguelina combines the traditional style of a Regency romance with a mystery that two crime-fighting women must solve. So unladylike! But I love it. Please welcome Miguelina Perez!
Where did you get the idea for your new novel?
A friend of mine and I love Jane Austen. We worked together but sat in separate locations. So one day I started a dialogue with her pretending to be the heroine in a coastal town, early eve with a fog hanging around. So the dialogue began. She would then respond back to me in her character, and from there the novel began to take form. Later we both left our employment and moved to different areas, but I kept a close eye on what was forming on the pages.
Why did you choose this genre?
There are several reasons. The first one of course being the Regency period. While it is called that because of the Prince, it was really a romantic period. And also because of Jane Austen. I added elements of suspense because of my love for Victoria Holt. She was the first author I discovered in high school.
Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book you’d like to share?
It was my first book, but what really stands out is in several scenes my fingers just kept on typing as I wrote some of them. Almost as if the book was becoming alive and taking me with it. I love those moments. Those are the moments that tell me I am meant for this.
We writers live for those moments, Miguelina. What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?
I think for me it was finding a professional to edit it before I felt comfortable releasing it. For new authors budget is nearly at zero.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Bad more than unusual. I am a lazy writer. I tend to write in my bedroom which is not good because I tend to get sleepy fast. So I have to come up with ways to write…like as soon as I get up from a nap…That way I can’t blame being tired.
Try standing as you write; I find I don't feel as tired. What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?
I would like them to walk away with an appreciation of the world I created. I want them to fall in love with the characters.
What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?
The Vicar’s Deadly Sin is a three part series. So when I am done with that I have an idea for a contemporary romance thriller.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No…I wanted to be a lawyer, but my father said no, that I was going to be a teacher. His sisters were teachers. So I prolonged that and just worked odd jobs, till one day I wrote a passage in less than 15 minutes with no errors. And that is when I knew that the voices I was hearing in my head were the stories that were dying to be born.
Do you work on more than one book at a time?
Yes, I do. As a matter of fact almost finishing the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, I began with number 2, Angel’s Lust, because the ideas at this point start pouring out. For example I am finishing book 2 and already I have 26 pages for book 3, called the Wrath of the Illuminati. All three books will be based on Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard. These are my Nancy Drew of 1815.
Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?
Don’t give up. It is hard, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Read, read, read…That is how Stephen King became a great writer. Don’t let people tell you that the industry wants this or that…That is unless you hope to publish with a big house. I met with a wonderful editor from Random House. When I was telling her what my stories were about her eyes got big and her mouth started drooling. Then she asked the dreaded question. “Where’s the sex?” I said no sex…my stories are about two young ladies from 1815, they fancy themselves detectives. Her response: Her eyes closed up and the drooling stop. She said…”Sorry, readers want sex.” She asked if I would add the sex…I said no. I know I took a risk, a big risk, but I felt my novel was written as it should have been written. There are a lot of young girls out there that are not having sex at such a young age and hope that they would enjoy these stories more for the message about following your dreams and the importance of family and friends.
I write what I want to write. As long as the grammar is up to par, and my story has some conflict and it develops well along with the characters, I write. I also try to write something that I think readers will enjoy. I remember reading Victoria Holt in the seventies. Her stories were about mystery and eventual finding true love. No sex. At least that I can remember.
When were you first published and how did that happen? Was it a long or short journey?
The journey to publishing can be long or short. Depending on which method you use. For VDS it took me years to finish. Publishing through Createspace took days. My second book has taken several months, but I will finish it a lot faster than VDS.
What is the hardest part of being a writer for you?
I think marketing your book, especially if you are self-published. I have a friend who sold her book to a small press and she still has to do her own marketing. Even though she was under the impression of going with a publisher, she wouldn’t have to, but as it turns out a lot of those small presses are having their authors do a lot of their own marketing. The other hard part is having either no budget or a little one to get the book edited professionally, have a great book cover, etc. So you are left with becoming highly creative to get these things done.
What comes first for you – plot or character?
I think plot. And why? Characters are placed in the story to carry out your plot. Picture taking some people and throwing them in an empty and bland room. Most likely the characters will walk around and perhaps strike a conversation. This can be an endless humdrum of conversation. No purpose, no action, nothing. But if you put them in a haunted house where one by one they are being killed and only one remains. The one that remains, let say, was the killer or one of the ones that were killed earlier is the killer—as in Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am definitely a pantser. I literally sit at the computer and let my fingers do the walking.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
I hope readers learn a little of what it was like for women during the Regency period. How women's suffrage has been around for years before it became a widely known issue in the late 1800s. My stories are about women following up on their dreams and not letting society dictate their lives and learning the importance of friendships. Also while they may be social albatrosses they find love with men that are the very social snobs they are running away from. Of course the men in my stories find that society is not always correct.
What book for you has been the easiest to write?
I have an anthology out on all of the poems, prose, and essays I have written from when I was a teenager all the way through college. The hardest and most fun has been The Vicar’s Deadly Sin.
How many books do you have under the proverbial bed?
Oh, boy. I am so glad you asked this. The Vicar’s Deadly Sin was the book I was to have put under the proverbial bed. I was told by many, both newbies and established authors, to put it under the bed. But I had worked so hard on this story and felt it was my calling to get it published that I refused to give. So I worked on it, worked on it…Got a friend to hand out 15 copies of it to her book club. Met with them after they read it. I had beta readers, after beta readers look at it. I even had a woman from Germany look at it. She claimed to have been an editor in her past job. These ladies all did an amazing job, but I was still scared to put it out there. Finally a friend recommended an editor, also an author, who would read it for a reasonable price, I bit the bullet saved some money and sent it off to her. She did three editorial passes of the manuscript. I fixed all of the mistakes and viola. I finally released the final version last month.
Do you write in the same place every day or do you like to change it up?
I write anywhere and anytime I get the chance. The important thing is to write.
What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
Maybe that I don’t like to stick to one genre. I am toying with a science fiction romance.
What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?
The power of creation.
What’s your least favorite thing about being a writer?
Not being able to write fast enough, but I am working on it.
If writing is your first passion, what is your second?
I like knitting, but I think reading would be a second passion.
If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?
That is easy…my full-time job.
Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person?
I love all animals. And mostly because of allergies with cats, I am a dog person. Love yorkies. Though I have a rescue and she is a beagle mix. And quite the handful.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
Knitting, reading and watching movies.
Name two authors we might find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Right now I just finished Loni Lynne’s Unsettled Graves. This is the third in her Crossroads at Kings Mill series. I am trying to finish Mary Behre’s Spirited.
What are two (or more) of your all-time favorite books in any genre?
Pride and Prejudice; and Sense and Sensibility.
What do you like best about your hero in The Vicar's Deadly Sin?
That is hard, because I have two heroes and two heroines. Though one of the heroes, I have moulded after Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. The other hero I think of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
What do you like best about your heroine in The Vicar's Deadly Sin?
There is one that is very high strung and doesn’t care much for societal rules. Though she is rich and can do whatever she wants, she knows that it is only because she is rich that that can happen. Had she been poor she would have been at the mercy of society. So she considers herself fortunate.
How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?
I don’t base their names on real people though I have been known to take the last name of my brother’s best friend and give it to the hero in the contemporary romance thriller. As for characteristics, I make it up as soon as I learn who they are going to be.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
They can find me via my website at: www.miguelinaperezauthor.com
Tell us a little about your current work in progress.
It is called Angel’s Lust and it is based on the second deadly sin of Lust. This one will have a touch of paranormal in it. It will continue and hopefully end with the romance of Margaret and Latham. I am hoping to have AL finished by December; including edits.
Thanks Miguelina. Best of luck with your writing!
A Touch of Romance…A Touch of Regency…A Touch of Murder…
Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard have been friends since the age of twelve. Together they share their dreams, hopes and a love for reading. However, it is their wild imagination and a penchant for solving mysteries that will test their abilities when the Vicar of Dover is found murdered.
The young ladies are joined by two gentlemen, also eager to find the murderer in order to prove to the ladies that detecting is a man's job, though the gentlemen find their beauty, wit, and pride more troublesome than solving a murder.
Coast of Dover, England
At half past midnight, the moonless sky hid him as he crossed the cemetery toward the small church. Vane knew the entire town was fast asleep, except those who use the night for illicit activities were out and about. Vane smiled.
Once inside the church, he crept between the pews, closing in on the vicar. Tonight the church, with its protective comfort and arched stained-glass windows, couldn’t protect its sole occupant. That Vane’s prey was a man of God made no difference to him. Vane believed no mercy would have been shown to him had he been the one stalked. The town’s vicar had allowed greed to get the best of him. Vane had become weary of those who stood in his way.
The vicar murmured words from the book he was reading. Vane wanted to laugh at the irony of the vicar’s mission of bringing people closer to God, and now it was up to him to send the vicar to meet his Maker.
Everything he had ever wanted, he had worked hard for. He would be damned if he had to hand his dreams over on a silver platter. The vicar was a fool to think he could blackmail him and get away with it―an unfortunate and fatal error, in fact. Vane quietly crept almost upon the vicar when he noticed a small marble statue of the cross.
Sensing him, the vicar lifted his head from the Bible, and turned, relaxing a little when he realized Vane had come to discuss his terms.
“Oh, hullo. You gave me a fright. You are early, but nonetheless, I’m glad,” the vicar said. “Must be getting back to the house, and the sooner we get this over with, the sooner I can leave.”