Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Ava March and KJ Charles for stopping by today.
Title: Opening Up the Regency: a chat with Ava March and KJ Charles
Author: Ava March and KJ Charles
Publisher: Carina Press; LoveSwept
Genre: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Regency
A Fashionable Indulgence (A Society of Gentlemen #1)
In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
Viscount’s Wager (Gambling on Love #3)
You never forget your first love, but is a second chance worth the gamble?
Anthony, Viscount Rawling, knows exactly what he wants in life and he isn’t above having a look about London for it. When he spots recently widowed Gabriel Tilden at a ton function, he thinks he might have found love…again.
Gabriel is as gorgeous and reserved as he was when he broke Anthony’s heart seven years ago. But they were only adolescents then…surely Anthony won’t hold the incident against him. And especially not when the attraction between them is stronger than ever.
Gabriel came to London in search of distraction, and a teasing Anthony is impossible to resist. As Anthony introduces Gabriel to the pleasures that can be found in the city—and in his bedchamber—their bond deepens into something more. Yet both men are hiding secrets that could pull them apart forever…
Opening Up the Regency: a chat with Ava March and KJ Charles
KJC: The ‘classic’ Regency romance is basically dukes, balls, fans and scandal. Aristocracy and arranged marriages. I think it’s really interesting to see how authors are now moving to tackling other, darker aspects of the period. For example, your Gambling on Love trilogy has servant-class heroes who are struggling to survive in a very unequal society with no safety net, and disastrous life-ruining gambling of the kind that destroyed Beau Brummell. Is this a deliberate move away from the glamorous dukes?
AM: I like to take ‘classic’ themes and turn them on their head, and I also like to explore uncommon themes and characters. I’ve read so many het romances, and while reading them, I’d think ‘what if…’ As an author, I get to explore those ‘what ifs’.
KJC: I also feel that we can get trapped into a single view of history very easily. Famously, you could read Jane Austen without learning that Britain was a slave-owning society. You can certainly read a lot of romance and not really get a sense of the huge working population as important. And of course Regency Britain was basically in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, a massive long-lasting war and huge political upheaval.
AM: In your A Fashionable Indulgence, I found it so interesting to see glimpses of the world Harry came from – those from the lower classes who devoted their lives to trying to change the government and the laws. The political rebels. It’s a view most people outside of Britain might not even be much aware of. The glamorous dukes and lords portrayed in a lot of romances had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
KJC: Which they have done, really. A lot of Brits now couldn’t tell you what the Peterloo massacre was, but it was Regency England’s Tiananmen Square. The government killing its own people to silence protest. It was a huge thing, in the 1819-20 period we came damn close to a revolution, and protest was only quashed by the government’s brutal repression. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to write about this period. For me, the Regency romance’s future depends on opening up: to queer stories, stories from non-upper-class characters, POC – there were maybe 10,000 black people in Regency London, but how many black people do you get as Regency heroes and heroines? I’m really glad things are changing and people are working to tell more stories.
AM: Exactly. And the way the romance market has changed so much in the last few years, the rise in e-books, the shift to hybrid publishing and indie publishing and e-publishing, has opened up avenues for authors to publish those stories that weren’t necessarily there 10 years ago.
KJC: I think the more and wider we open the history up, the more interesting it gets. I mean, nothing against dukes, but there is so much more, and all those stories with their own inherent conflicts and challenges and delicious difficulties.
AM: Ah, the delicious difficulties. I’m a sucker for conflict, for sticking heroes with a giant bucket of it to deal with. While I love a good duke, it’s interesting to give a character a different set of difficulties that don’t revolve around titles or only being loved for your money.
KJC: I loved that Viscount’s Wager really took on gambling, for example. We read about so-and-so wagering £3000 in an evening like it’s cool, but people were destroyed by gambling. Brummell, to give an obvious example. Drinking, gambling and sex were non-trivial dangers in those days. Cirrhosis, penury and syphilis happened.
AM: Indeed. Sexually transmitted diseases were rampant, and they didn’t have the medicines we have today. It sounds glamorous to be able to wager thousands of pounds at the tables, but in actuality, it ruined many people. There were those who literally gambled to their deaths. Unscrupulous creditors were rampant, and didn’t blink an eye over killing someone over an unpaid debt. There wasn’t an organized police force during the Regency to run to for help. It was more constables, some of which weren’t the most upstanding citizens.
KJC: It was a dark time in a lot of ways. It’s fun to sprinkle glitter over the past, and nobody wants to dwell on dentistry or head lice, but I think if you know that gambling was a scourge, and writing against the government could see you transported for 14 years, and so on, it raises the stakes. And we’re all about raising the stakes, right?
AM: Most assuredly!
About the Author
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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