Tell Us Your Backstory with Kelly Lyonns
People ask that question. You know the one “What do you do?” If they’ve known you a while they append a “now”. When I answer I’m writing they raise their eyebrows in interest and ask something like “Oh, what have you written?” At this point in the conversation I used to defect the question by pointing across the room and saying “Oh look, I think the curtains are on fire.” Now I calmly say I’ve written a romance novel.
Evolution of freelance ecological scientist to creative writer has not been easy.
Nothing in my life would have suggested an interest in Regency England. My migrant parents carried me to Australia from Finland in a plastic carry cot; I’ve never asked why. Until school intervened, I scarpered barefoot in North Queensland caravan parks or cane fields as we followed wherever the menfolk’s building sites took us. Anyway, fast forward a degree, a doctorate, family, self-employment and I realised there was something missing from my life. Yes, writing my own romance book! One romance author talk later and before you could say ‘writers group’ or ‘white-knuckled terror’ I was reading out my writing to complete strangers.
I’ve always watched historical dramas and actually own an early BBC video release of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a latecomer to actually reading romance books. I read lots of things, fiction and non-fiction, but I love Regency romances. Maybe it’s the elegant society, the English weather, the dresses. Maybe it’s the horses, I love horses. Maybe I just loved Colin Firth as Mr Darcy (sigh) or Sean Bean’s Sharpe (from the Bernard Cornwall books). Then I read Amanda Quick’s novels featuring the paranormal Arcane Society and I was in heaven. So it’s no surprise that my debut novel ‘The Soldier’s Woman’ is a Regency romance with paranormal elements. I submitted it to a couple of major publishing houses without success. Then in a random act of serendipity, after seeing a blog I wrote, Atlas Productions signed me up. It’s being released on 9th February 2017. Surreal.
‘The Soldier’s Woman’ is the first in the Bladewood Legacy series. Set in war-torn Napoleonic Portugal, Colonel Maximillian Bladewood is trapped behind enemy lines with Miss Charlotte Everslea, who has accidently saved his life. She is a paranormal artefact hunter and recovering an arcane book from a dangerous foe is her priority; getting them out of there is his. Their cross-purposed flight across bandit-infested occupied Portugal is complicated by their mutual attraction and her vows of secrecy. Neither has ever questioned their obedience to duty or challenged its cost, until now.
When I’m not wrangling my family and cats, thinking about environmental sustainability, researching Regency Europe, posting or tweeting, I’m writing. ‘The Sailor’s Lass’ is the second book in the series, and features handsome easy-going Royal Naval officer Arthur Bladewood. He’s in northern France, about to run into trouble and love with the practical but psychically talented Susanna Greyson. Love a man in uniform, sigh. Blue, this time.