Hi, Jo here. A few days ago I heard that English Heritage will be giving Georgette Heyer a blue plaque. These are put outside houses in London which are connected with notable people, so it's a great moment for Heyer and the historical romance genre. It will be placed on the house where she was born at 103 Woodside in Wimbledon.
This got writers talking about the influence Georgette Heyer had on them, and it was such a range of writers that I thought it would make a good blog, and I asked some of them to say a little about her influence and choose a favourite Heyer. As expected, many write Regency romance, but there's suspense, time travel, YA fantasy, and humorous contemporary here, too.
For those who don't know, Georgette Heyer wrote romance novels from 1921 to 1972. Her early novels were Georgian, but in 1935 she began to write in the Regency period, which up till then had been mostly overlooked, so she can be called the creator of the Regency romance genre. You can read more about her here.
On to the writers.
I reckon I learnt to write from Georgette Heyer - something that was picked up at my first book signing. It's a bit odd considering I write contemporary fiction - and alas, not nearly as well as GH!I think it has to be The Grand Sophy. Although I still love Friday's Child which was the first I read. (Someone left a copy of it at our house and couldn't read quite a lot of the words but I still got swept along.) The Talisman Ring is also a favourite.
The first Georgette Heyer novel I read was 'The Grand Sophy' I read it in snatches when my mother was out as she thought I was too young for such stories. I was a bossy little girl and Sophy appealed to me immensely as she managed to manipulate everyone, but she did it nicely. I've loved her ever since. It says a lot that all my heroines are a mix of Cinderella and Sophy.That shows up in my first Regency tale, 'The Wild Card'.
I read Heyer as a young teenager, and she was the first author to give me the heart-stopping sensation that, for me, is the marker of a really good romance scene. That, as well as her wonderfully endearing characters, is something I've wanted to recreate ever since. My favourite Heyer book is Cotillion, for her creation of a surprise-attack hero. I didn't even know he was the hero until near the end, even though I desperately wanted him to be! My latest release is LINKED (working title: Telepathic Twins in Space!), a YA.
I've loved all of Heyer's Georgian/Regency novels since I was a teenager.She inspired my writing because through her I discovered that historical novels could be witty, romantic and historically accurate. I'm a member of the London Library which she used and browsing in the history stacks I can almost feel her presence. I have two absolute favourites - The Grand Sophy and The Spanish Bride. She also gave me a love of London history: my most recent release is Walks Through Regency London - ten self-guided, illustrated, walks through Heyer's London.
Rosemary A Smith
My favourite has to be 'The Talisman Ring'. Mainly because I love secrets! History has always been one of my great passions, especially Regency, Tudor and Victorian times, and Miss Heyer had a wonderful way of describing things in the Regency period. Hopefully my readers will get as much pleasure from the way I write, as I did when reading books like 'The Talisman Ring'. My most recent book is The Butterfly Dance.
My sister was a Heyer fan first. But now I have my own collection of her books. I love her Regency romances so much that I re-read them all in turn, picking one from the right hand end of the shelf, and putting it back at the far left. Last weekend I read April Lady and Pistols for Two, an anthology. Now I write Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. My next Regency Romance, Portrait of a Scandal, comes out in September 2014. I like to think my hero is a bit like Lord Sheringham from Friday's Child...
My secretary gave me my first Heyer novel the day I returned to work after my first RWA conference, where I'd won the Golden Heart with my first book. Her words: "If you're going to write romance, you need to read Georgette Heyer." It was FREDERICA. It remains my favorite. What I love about her books is also what influences me as a writer: gripping plots, action, strong heroines, clever dialogue, and humor. My debut novel, COOPER'S FOLLY, was just released by Bell Bridge Books in January
I read Heyer from age 11 and was hooked from the off. When I started writing novels, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to plump for historical romance. It took some time to find my own voice, and even now I find Heyerisms creeping into my prose! She was the doyenne of the genre. The Reluctant Widow is my favourite - mainly because she's the only witty heroine. My most recent book is The Viscount Besieged.
Dad and I used to fight over who would read the Georgette Heyer first when he brought them back from the library. They were my first introduction to the world of romance. Good old Dad. The characters became like old friends and the laughs and the tears were a bonus for an army brat teen always on the move. As an adult, I collected three complete sets, though the first one is now yellow and falling apart. When I started writing, she was my inspiration. My favourite is These Old Shades. My up coming release is The Return of the Prodigal Gilvry out in May 2014.
I discovered Heyer when I was eleven and devoured all of her early books and borrowed new titles from the library as they appeared - even my father approved. I developed my abiding love of Regency and Historical romance from her. The first two books I sold were both Regency romantic adventures, hopefully in what might be called 'the Georgette Heyer' tradition. The Grand Sophy is still my favourite. My latest book is A Gallant Defender - a Regency adventure of course!
Heyer made me love history, witty words and romantic stories. My first novel published was very much in her style, though I doubt I write as wittily. It won me a $10,000 prize and publication. Thank you, Georgette. Her books also made me aware that minor characters could be strongly tched, and I love doing these cameos. I love 'Friday's Child' and 'A Civil Contract' equally. They're very different but both have superb characterisation, which is what I enjoy most. In April 'The Trader's Reward' is coming out, set in Australia in 1871-2.
As a young teenager my older sister was a fan of Georgette Heyer and began writing her own Regency romance. I was ten and I had only been reading fluently for a few years. The notion that you could WRITE the book you wanted to read hit me like a sledgehammer. My sister finished her novel but then wrote no more. Bitten by the bug I wrote copiously through my own teenage years, never finishing anything. It was only when I was married and home with my son that I resumed writing, and actually completed a book. My favourite Heyer is Cotillion. My latest novel is FLY OR FALL
*I first discovered Georgette Heyer in my high school library and quickly realised her books were much more fun than my homework! She taught me more about grammar and vocabulary than any of my teachers, not to mention history of course, as she made the Regency world come alive. Later, when I came to write historicals myself, it was her superb story-telling I aspired to - she was amazing! My favourite book of hers is Cotillion, it makes me laugh every time. Her comic timing is just perfect in that book.* *My latest release is The Secret Kiss of Darkness, a time slip.
Georgette Heyer's historical romances influenced me because of their dramatic content. I love the dialogue - I know she probably made up the slang - and the love the 'battle of wits' between hero and heroine. I also enjoy the way she gives scope to the heroes in romance. I can't choose a favourite. They're wonderful. My most recent release is is Bella's Betrothal, Edinburgh 1826.
Georgette Heyer influenced me enormously. The originator of the Regency romance genre, nobody has surpassed her for wit and romance. I wrote my first stories as Georgette Heyer fan fiction. Of course it wasn't called "Fanfic" back then. Many of her books end abruptly and I wanted to know what happened afterwards! They're long gone, but I enjoyed writing them and they started me on my life's path. My newest historical release will be "Lightning Unbound" about the gods of ancient
Greece and Rome in Georgian Britain.
When I first started writing I wanted to be a cross between Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. I still do. Georgette is my ultimate comfort read, my solace in times of despair. With an omniscient viewpoint and no description of emotion at all she manages to convey the most powerful of feelings, all with elegance and wit. My favorite is VENETIA and always has been, though DEVIL'S CUB and THE MASQUERADERS come in as close seconds. My next book is Never Marry A Viscount in September 2014.
I devoured GH as a teenager. I worked my way through all her books at Harrow library in the 70s. She howed me that heroines have guts. Friday's Child stands out in my mind. I was drawn to the title because, even then, I've been interested in the day that someone was born on. Guilty by Jane Bidder. Published by Accent Press.
Like a number of others, I was introduced to Heyer by one of my sisters at about eleven. The book was Powder and Patch, one of her early works, and it entranced me. I read her voraciously through my teens and have re-read my favourites now and then ever since. I enjoy much about her books, but above all her humour. Amongst Heyer fans, one has only to say "Nemesis" or "the Baluchistan Hound" to get smiles and even chuckles. Like others here I find it hard to pick a favourite Heyer, but I'll go for Frederica, for the family, the beleaguered hero, and the Baluchistan Hound. My next book, coming shortly, is A Shocking Delight.
So, are you a Heyer fan? Which book did you read first? Which is your favourite? Don't wimp out -- choose!
Inspired to try your first Heyer? You could choose one of the favourites listed. Thus far we have The Grand Sophy (x4), Friday's Child (x3), Cotillion (x2), Frederica (x2),The Talisman Ring, The Reluctant Widow, These Old Shades, and Venetia
For fans, do you have a favourite funny moment? Or a most touching moment?
Has she inspired you to write, even if your fiction hasn't been completed yet?