Our latest Flash! Friday winner (for her 3rd time) is Margaret Locke. Read her winning story here, then take one minute to get to know her better. (Read her first interview here and second interview here.)
In which genre does your heart lie? Tell us all about it. Every little detail.
I am a romance novelist. It’s getting easier to write that, even if saying it out loud still brings a blush to my cheeks. People give me knowing, uncomfortable looks when I tell them what I write, as if to say, “Oh, THOSE kind of books.” That’s O.K. I’m still a bit uncomfortable, too. I shouldn’t be, though. I’ve loved – LOVED – romance novels since I was 10 years old (sorry, mom). I love the back and forth dance, the clever repartee, the will-they-won’t-they, the thrust and parry (so to speak) between the main characters. I love how the most gifted/skilled writers of romance make it seem as if there is NO WAY these two people are going to fall in love forever and ever…and yet they do. As a child of divorce and a hopeless romantic in a largely unromantic world, that satisfies me in a way that no other genre does – that magical fairy-tale ideal that two people are destined for each other, and in spite of whatever goofy, horrific, funny, tragic, or improbable roadblocks are thrown their way, they are going to get their Happily Ever After.
So I’ll say it again: I am a writer of romance. Although trained academically as a medieval historian, of late I’ve fallen in love with the Regency period in England (roughly 1800-1830); with its dukes and earls, debutantes and seasons, it lends itself quite easily to the Cinderella fantasy. My love of history fuels my desire to read about the period – but I’m still at the beginning. I’m definitely learning it’s one thing to read historical romance; it’s quite another to write it accurately (and I’m not talking about the steamy stuff here, people). I’m well aware of how much I don’t know, and how much research I still need to do.
Luckily for me, my husband whisked me away to London last fall so that I could walk the streets of Mayfair, stroll in Hyde Park, stare at the front of White’s Club, meander through Grosvenor Square, and take in many other Regency sites I’d heretofore only read about. It was marvelous. It was luxurious. It was so darn short that I want to go back. I’ve got to go back. But my experiences there have already aided me immensely as I dream and imagine and spin tales, for now I have a stronger sense of the sights, the sounds, the smells, and even some of the tastes of England. It was glorious to stand in famous places and picture men and women strolling along in Regency fashion. For me, at least. My husband teasingly gripes that I dragged him to every old building in London and then some, and they all basically looked the same. Whatever, dear man. He took me to the place I most wanted to go and let me dictate the entire itinerary according to my Regency whims (and my obsession with Irish actor Colin Morgan, whom we saw in play in SoHo). I can hardly think of anything more romantic.