Greetings all! Please welcome author, blogger and romance advoacte, Regan Walker to Book Obsessed Chicks!
Please tell us a bit about yourself…
I am a lawyer turned writer and I love it. I write Regencies, Georgian and Medieval romances. Having long been engaged in digging for the truth and the hidden facts, I now dig for historical details to include in my historical romances (real historic figures, their words, the emotions and mood of the time period and what really happened). And I enjoy crafting love stories that end well. I live in San Diego where the weather is almost perfect and get to walk my Golden Retriever along a ridge that looks down upon the Pacific Ocean. I am very blessed.
When did you fall in love with the romance genre?
With 900 reviews on Amazon and my own Historical Romance Review blog, you might be surprised to learn it was recent, in 2009. I was in between jobs and had a lot of time on my hands when I stumbled across some wonderful stories by authors Kathleen Givens, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Penelope Williams. I was hooked. I began to write historical romance in 2011 when my best friend told me I should. She was right.
What made you decide to help spread the word about romance?
When I first began to read historical romances, I went on a search for the good ones and could not find any reviewer who had read a lot and listed the ones she rated the highest. So was born my blog, Historical Romance Review, in 2010. Even after I became an author, I have kept it up as a labor of love. I want to help other readers find the good ones. I have 13 “best lists” by subgenre which I update each year and this September I will have a new Georgian & Regency best list. I also feature articles from my research and have my favorite authors on as guests. No book appears on my blog unless I have given it at least 4 stars.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a list on my blog that numbers near 100 but the short list would include some names from the past and some for only one book. You can see my Top 20 romances here: http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-top-20-historical-romances.html. I like the authors who write the deep ones that are well-researched and include real history and deep emotions. The light ones are not as interesting to me. And if I see another book with “duke “ or “seduced” in the title, I think I will despair. I suppose it’s the publishers doing it, but really.
Do you have any advice for others who want to be romance cheerleaders?
First I recommend you learn to write worthy reviews. (I actually taught a class on this for my local writers’ chapter of RWA). It really helps an author when you can give just a bit of the story (with no spoilers) and be specific about what you like in their books. And then, of course, if you are active on social media, you have a platform for spreading the word. I am ever so grateful for my readers who love my work enough to recommend it to others and to praise it in their reviews.
What new books have you been shouting out about lately?
The word “new” has taken on a different meaning with so many of the classic authors bringing their backlists to ebooks with new covers. Are they “new”? They look new but they might have been published in the 80s. And I love classics so I’m happy about this. There are several authors I love who fall into that camp, including Virginia Henley (my unofficial mentor), Shirl Henke, Kimberly Cates, Jennifer Blake and Penelope Williamson. Brit Darby is the new writing team of Patricia McAllister and Fela Dawson Scott and I loved their Emerald Prince. I liked Odin’s Shadow, the first book in Erin Riley’s Viking trilogy. For Westerns, in addition to Shirl Henke, it would be Ellen O’Connell and Kaki Warner (any of theirs, actually). And my friend Amanda Hughes writes unusual stories I love, especially her first, Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry and her next, Pride of the King.
What do you do when you’re not shouting out about great books?
Writing. And researching. While I do hundreds of hours of research for each of my romances, even as I begin to write, I have to be willing to dive down a rabbit trail if something requires it. For example, my latest novel, Rebel Warrior, set in 11th century Scotland, took me on a detour when I set the first scene in the Vale of Leven. My heroine is looking at what today is called Loch Lomond, but I began to wonder, “What was it called then?” So, I contacted the folks who are the keepers of all things having to do with the Vale of Leven and they told me “Loch Lomond.” Instinctively, I knew they were wrong. In digging, I found several historic references to that loch and it was once called Loch Leven. But since there was also a Loch Leven in Fife and that loch was going to be in my story, I settled for Loch Lomond for the one in the opening scene. At least I know it’s “real” name at the time of my story.
Are you a conference attendee? Which ones?
Yes, but not every year. This year I’m going to a slew of them. I like Romantic Times best since the readers are there, which brings lots of excitement with it. Then I would say the new InD’Scribe Conference held in the fall in Southern California is a good one since it features Indie authors, which I joined with my 7th novel. I have been to the Emerald City conference once and enjoyed it. I’ll go to any conference where there are readers who want to meet the authors.
What does your family think about your love of romance?
My son thanked me when he saw my covers. He wanted to be sure the couples were wearing clothes. Ha!
Where can readers and authors find you?
My website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
And I am very active on Facebook every day: https://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104
Your Top 10 in Romances….
You have the link to my Top 20 list. Here are the current Top 10 (they do change somewhat as I discover new ones whether classics or those written yesterday):
Bride of the MacHugh by Jan Cox Speas
The Silver Devil by Teresa Denys
Lady of the Glen by Jennifer Roberson
The Windflower by Laura London (aka Sharon & Tom Curtis)
The Dragon and the Jewel by Virginia Henley
Heartstorm by Elizabeth Stuart
Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson
On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens
Black Falcon’s Lady (first released as Nightwylde) by Kimberly Cates