Jen: Today we welcome Jane Ashford to Romancing the Book. Jane, please share a short bio and links to where you can be found online.
Jane: I’m a story junkie. According to my parents, I started telling stories almost as soon as I could talk. When they took me out in the car as a toddler, I’d provide a running narrative, incorporating whatever we passed – cow, gas station. Fortunately, this amused them! I’ve always loved to read stories, too. I studied literature and creative writing. Though I’ve worked as a teacher, editor and communications professional, I’m delighted to now be a full-time writer.
Jen: Please tell us about Once Again a Bride and where the idea came from.
Jane: The book originated with a phrase that came to me one day – “the widow Wylde.” For some reason those few words gradually unpacked into a story. The widow turned out to be a young woman, Charlotte, who’d been pressured into a miserable marriage to the heartless Henry Wylde. When she’s freed through his shocking murder, she’s left with only her maid Lucy as companion and supporter.
Henry’s nephew Alec is astonished to discover that his uncle was married, and even more surprised that his widow is a lovely twenty-year-old. At first, Charlotte seems just another responsibility in his overburdened life, but soon she becomes much more. Meanwhile, Lucy is finding herself way too attracted to sassy footman Ethan. All four of them have to go through some changes before love can triumph.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Jane: I looked into the British people’s response to the hard economic times that followed the Napoleonic Wars. There were a number of protests, which reminded me a bit of things that have happened very recently. I also did some research on Roman antiquities, the obsession of Charlotte’s elderly husband, and on period legal issues. When a woman married in the Regency era, everything she owned became the property of her husband. Legally, she was pretty much a nonperson.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Jane: I think one of the biggest challenges is just sitting down every day and facing the blank page. It’s easy to procrastinate, particularly when the rhythm is broken, as it often can be during the holidays. I find the editing phase easier. The words are there, just need to make them better! The most rewarding is hearing that readers have connected with the characters and the story and enjoyed it.
Jen: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Jane: I’m very interested in Neolithic Europe, so I think I’d go there. Archeological remains suggest that there were quite sophisticated, egalitarian societies. I’d love to see how places like Çatal Huyuk really worked. I think I’d take some practical stuff for exploring, rain gear and comfortable shoes. And I’d put in some antibiotics!
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Jane: One reader said that Once Again a Bride reminded them of Downton Abbey (which I love). I wasn’t thinking about the show when writing, but I’m so flattered by the comparison.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Jane: My next historical is called A Compliant Husband. You can read a little about it on my website. http://www.janeashford.com/
Thanks for having me. I’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in May. Hope to see you there!