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Kate Allan

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Everything posted by Kate Allan

  1. I'm an author, not a librarian or publisher, but my definition of a romance would be a book where the central plot revolves around a love story and where there is a happy ending. Lots of books I would describe as romantic - because they involve love stories, but the love story is not the dominant plot. I'd put Wuthering Heights into a broad genre of 'romantic fiction' but I wouldn't say it's a 'romance'.
  2. I wondered if anyone else who received The Lady Soldier had read it by now, and what you thought? I've got a provisionallaunch date on my first solus-written novel, Perfidy and Perfection, in March next year so that's really exciting! It's a romantic comedy set at the time of Jane Austen and will be published by Hale who published The Lady Soldier. And Michelle Style's first historical romance with Mills and Boon, The Gladiator's Honour, set in Ancient Rome, is out next May.
  3. just FYI Chris (and others) The Lady Soldier does have a strong romantic plot-line - I'd call it historical romantic fiction to be fair - but in genre terms it's historical fiction because - the historical background is basically accurate - the story of the heroine 'Jem - the lady soldier' overcoming her troubles is the primary plot line (the romance is strongly interwoven but it's not the absolute core of the story) Feel free to disagree... NB My novel out next year is a romance for sure. A romantic comedy basically, set in the Regecny period.
  4. The La's... sorry, going back to my teenage years. Can't help it.
  5. I'm back! If you'd like to see pictures of me in my Regency day dress at the Jane Austen Fayre - http://kateallan.blogspot.com
  6. I'm back from my hols! Glad to see some Tony fans. Not that I fell in love with him myself or anything. (One of the bonuses of writing romantic stories is that you get to invent your own heros!) Interesting to mention Charles. I guess he's a tragic figure, having had his life cut short with a great career ahead of him, great love for his younger sister (Jem) and and being a great friend, inspiration and hero to Tony. I think we can fill in so many blanks about him because he was Jem's brother (he must have been brave like her, yet kind because we see some of thier brother-sister relationship. He teaches her to shoot, yet teases her with presents of domestic housewifery books) and Tony's friend (this lets us imagine Charles the man, the hero whom Tony admires and becomes a better person himself when he tries to emulate him). I'm also really pleased at the prospect of recommendations. When I checked in my local library and their copy of The Lady Soldier was out on loan and it really made me feel happy that someone was reading it - and hopefully enjoying it! I was lucky to work with Michelle on The Lady Soldier so there were two and us and two computers, but usually it's just you and your computer screen trying to create something which others will enjoy. So glad it's worked.
  7. I curious to get some reader feedback, and I'd love to know more about what you thought about The Lady Soldier, and whether you have any good ideas for the future endevours of 'Jennifer Lindsay'! So here's some questions: 1. Who was your favourite character? (And why?) 2. What other books have you read which are similar? 3. Would you be interested in a sequel? (Would you buy it?) 4. Would you read another book by Jennifer Lindsay? 5. Would you read a book by Kate Allan (me!) or Michelle Styles? 6. Would you recommend The Lady Soldier to friends? If so, which friends?
  8. Hi Michelle, Great to see you here and well done on finishing the proofs! One thing about writing novels is that it's not just about writing - stories have to be revised, copy-edited, proofed... all takes ages! I'm also really pleased to see The Lady Soldier entertained. I also think it's done a little bit to raise the awareness of the subject of women serving in the historic military. I was asked a lot of questions about this when I did a radio interview recently. btw I'm reading excerpts from The Lady Soldier at the Jane Austen Fayre in Basingstoke this weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 11.30am and 2.30pm both days, so if anyone is in the area and are looking for an historic day out - do come along and say hello! (Bring your copy if you'd like it signed.)
  9. Le Loup: Hazel, I'm pleased you enjoyed Le Loup. Michelle and I met when she was visiting London one weekend with her family and I remember, as we strolled up Piccadilly after visiting Wellington's old home (Apsley House), we had a great discussion all about poor Le Loup's miserable and disperate childhood and influences which shaped his character. We needed him to be a proper match for Jem and Tony to make it convincing, not a cardboard cut-out.
  10. Historical detail / research: I'm pleased the historical detail wasn't intrusive. I think fiction should be for entertainment, not instruction and not get in the way of the story. In terms of the research, I'd already written two novels set in early 19th century England before I started on The Lady Soldier and so I was pretty confident that I already had the zeitgeist of the period at my fingertips. I have been collecting books from the period - especially of letters which I think are the closest we can really get now to having a flavour for how people spoke to one another, and words and phrases used. We had to present Robert Hale, the publishers, with proof of our research into real life women who got away with being soldiers in historical times or they would not have been prepared to publish the book. I think most publishers of historical fiction take historical accuracy pretty seriously. The research into the real 'lady soldiers' was necessary so that we could understand the physical and emotional issues Jem might face. We used this research in the story in terms of giving Jem feelings other women soldiers had described, as well as it helping us put together her character and a realistic plot about her adventures. Thus it was only a case of researching the specific historical details required - in relation to Spain and the military - of which co-author Michelle Styles did a lot of the work on. I really enjoyed reading some of the first hand account of, for example for the scene in chapter one, the storming of Rodrigo. We were not able to go to Spain but I had an e-mail from someone who has been to Rodrigo saying how we had got the flavour right. A great thing about the Internet is that you can find all kinds of pictures and photos to help with this kind of thing. Then for the scenes in England - for example the Talbot inn in Ripley on the road from Portsmouth which is a real place - still there! - and in London - e.g. at the theatre I needed to check what was playing at the time and which theatres were open, what they were like inside etc Mills and Boon: Mills and Boon are probably the main publishers of historical romances in the UK but they would not have considered The Lady Soldier because the high proportion of other action and plot going on besides the romance. I think The Lady Soldier is 'historical romantic fiction' rather than 'historical romance' as such. Co-author Michelle Styles has a contract with Mills and Boon and her first historical romance out with them will be out next May. Called The Gladiator's Honour. It's a first for Mills and Boon as it's set in ancient Rome and they've not published any ancient set historical romances. Ancient Rome is Michelle's historical period of choice and I don't think she is shy of saying how much she was influenced to write it by Russell Crowe in the film Gladiator.
  11. I've been kind of on holiday this month as I haven't been setting myself any writing deadlines so I've managed to get a bit of reading done. The best novels of the last few weeks have been: Passion by Jude Morgan Brilliant and emotional, it tells the stories of the women who impacted the lives of the romantic poets Byron, Shelley and Keats. 500+ pages but I was completely entralled the whole way through! Pond Lane and Paris by Susie Vereker The heroine, Laura, has endured the illness and death of her husband - a man she married young - and also one, as it becomes clear as the story unfolds - who was rather selfish and feckless, leaving Laura to do the work of supporting them. The story opens as Laura discovers that she can no longer afford to upkeep her home - Pond Cottage - and takes the opportunity to try out a job in upscale Paris... Her new surroundings provide the catalyst for her to begin to rediscover herself. The beauty of this story is not only in it's romance - and the romance that is in there is very real and touching - but in the cast of differing characters, all with their own problems, and how they interact and move towards solving them. What I liked about Pond Lane and Paris is that we all know people like the people in this story. Ring of Clay by Margaret Kaine This is a romantic saga set in post-WW2 Staffordshire. Not my usual type of reading but this year one of my new year's resolutions was to make myself read in genres in don't usually, and I got really involved in the main character of this story - Beth - who is utterly realistic and sympathetic, and how she works through her traumatic experiences to build a life for herself and achieve her happy ending.
  12. The section is up under Book Groups now, so look forward to discussing what you thought of The Lady Soldier and answering your questions there.
  13. Heyer and Wodehouse are probably two of my favourite authors of all time and you are so right that the humour is similar - I think it's because it's character based humour.
  14. Hi Opal! I'm really glad you enjoyed The Lady Soldier. We didn't plan everything which happened which mean that the story took some unexpected turns which added to the suspense of writing it! As for your question under the spoiler alert, I'm not sure how to reply using hidden text, but yes we had to cut some scenes from the book because of length, including some scenes from between where you refer which took place on the journey.
  15. I'm very glad that the copies of The Lady Soldier got out in the end and that we've got this exciting opportunity to discuss it coming up shortly. The delay with the copies was because the first edition had literally sold out and we were waiting for the reprint. There is some info about the historical inspiration for the story on the website if anyone is interested. And here's some photos from the book launch party: here - scroll down - including some of the lovely redcoat re-enactors who came along to bring the evening to life! Kate (co-author, aka half of 'Jennifer Lindsay')
  16. I read Pompeii by Robert Harris last week and really enjoyed it. I had a long plane journey and had saved it because I hoped it would be a page-turner like his other books. It was less a thriller than an adventure story though, so different from Fatherland and Archangel. And I can see why the comment 'plot by numbers' has been made. It was like reading a disaster movie and I enjoyed the suspense. I found the setting very vivid and convincing and learned a lot about Volcanoes and Roman banquets. 4 stars out of 5 and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes reading pacey historicals.
  17. So the truth about launching new authors in hardback is economic. Basically, the publisher can do smaller print runs and it's much less risk than launching into paperback. Bill - yes, tried that, didn't work. I think hardbacks are simply too expensive unless it's specialist non-fiction and then readers are prepared to pay because they know they are buying a specialist book with a low print run and therefore the per unit cost will be high.
  18. I always wondered whether Wickham knew that Darcy had interfered in Bingly and Jane and somehow wanted some small measure of revenge on Darcy and therefore the prospect of eloping with Jane's sister seemed a good idea at the time.
  19. This is all bad news. What happens if you are a new author and your first commercial fiction book is out in hardback, and it won't even make it into paperback unless the sales are reasonable?
  20. I took part in the Radio 4 discussion... and got edited out so I'm only in there for one sentence! http://kateallan.blogspot.com/2005/04/georgette-heyer-for-radio-4.html We actually had a great chat about Heyer, which went on for an hour. And I thought the feature overall was well put together. Huzzah for a new generation of Heyer fans, indeed!
  21. I'm dipping my toe in the water and appearing at Lincoln Book Festival on 'History Day' which is 18th May, as Jennifer Lindsay, reading excerpts from The Lady Soldier. Not been to a book festival before, let alone appeared at one. But I'm really looking forward to it and I'll be staying up there for a couple of days and hope to have a look around and go to lots of the events.
  22. Not exactly counted but on a quick how many on a shelf times shelves estimate, maybe 2,000. At least a third of this is a non-fiction library, and a lot of old books which I want to keep because they are out of print, especially 19th century and reprints e.g. letters, autobiographies, diaries.
  23. lol Top Cat. And add to that a third persona which is 'get-my-50-hours-a-week-day-job-done' and you're closer to what I need. Ah... I've just had a blissful holiday weekend because I've read one and a half whole books, and written 3,000 words of the wip. Deinonychus - I don't even have writer's block I'm afraid. Just a lack of time and natural writing talent - dyslexic, scatterbrained etc.
  24. I'm glad you agree with me Top Cat, because I've so far only read about 10 books this year, half fiction, half non-fiction. And 3 of those I had to read because I was reviewing them for a magazine. Ain't that rather pathetic? Before I wrote so much, I would read 3-4 novels a week. Deinonychus - my writing does not feel 'essential'. It's very hard to do, and I constantly feel as if I am pushing a very large vat of water up a steep hill. I get annoyed that the words on my pages do not reflect the story in my head, and so I struggle trying to get the words to show what I want them to. All in all, hard work. Reading is easy, and unless the book is very bad, pure pleasure indeed!
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