History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

11 August 2007

The Return of Janet Mullany!

Long before designer shoes, apple martinis and speed-dating, Miss Philomena Wellesley-Clegg tackles the challenge of finding the perfect accessory and the perfect husband ... and finds some rules are made to be broken.

Janet is going to be giving away a copy to one lucky poster, so don’t forget to include your email address in your posts!

“Deftly written in the first person, Mullany's book - with her fashionable and virtous characters and a bit of emotional intensity and sensuality - takes the reader on a funny romp in this delightful Regency farce.”
-Romantic Times Book Reviews 4 stars

“The saga of an Austen-era bachelorette puts the lie to Regency delicacy in this fun romantic spoof ... Mullany's saucy narrator and bubbly tone ... should entice romance readers who'd otherwise sidestep the flurry of petticoats.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Laugh-out-loud funny in spots, this wonderful romance kept me giggling and sighing, all at once! ... The style of writing is clean and clear, and every scene is so well written that it jumps off the pages.”
-Kay James, Romance Reader at Heart (top pick)

"For a rollicking good time in Regency London, step into the pages of The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullany. You are not likely to meet a more likable character than outspoken Miss Philomena Wellesley-Clegg.”
-Lettitia, Historical Romance Writers

“This book is a great romp - a pleasure to read - articulate, thoughtful, fun and charming.”
-Amy Lignor, Once Upon A Romance

“A most enjoyable and laugh-out-loud fun romp featuring memorable characters that don't follow typical conventions, with it packing a pretty solid emotional punch towards the end.”
-Mrs. Giggles

“The Rules of Gentility is absolutely delightful. Billed as a Regency Historical, this book is sure to reach a much-wider reading audience with its chick-lit tone and contemporary style. It’s funny, it’s sassy, and it’s intelligently written.”
-Brooke Wills, Romance Junkies

The Rules of Gentility is set in Regency England. How did you become interested in this time period? What do you love about it?

I had a couple of aunts who loved the Georgian period and lived in an amazing house in Bath (on Lansdowne Place West) and who gave me a copy of Regency Buck by Heyer when I was a teenager. I was hooked. The clothes are great, and I love the sense of conflict and changing times in the period--radicalism and romanticism--and also the relative freedom (some) women had at the time.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

I think I dislike the fact that the children of our heroes/heroines become Victorians! And it was a time of terrible inequities when people could starve to death or be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head? This is not your standard romance novel (esp as it’s in first person from both the protagonist’s POVs!). I’d love for you to talk a bit about the genesis of this book.

I’d just finished a book (as yet unsold) that was full of gloom and doom and awful weather and I needed some light entertainment. So I started writing this as a sort of Bridget Jones’s Diary in Regency garb for my own entertainment, although I found maintaining a diary format almost impossible. Since I found one character’s voice limiting, I introduced a second character. It began as a spoof, but it began to flesh itself out and I became very fond of the characters and realized I’d better take it seriously. My editor at Avon swears this is not a romance; I found that rather annoying since I thought with this one I’d finally cracked the romance code.

Did you have to do any major research for his book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

Uh, no. I’d done some research on servants and on the theater that came in useful, and I remember looking up the day that Almack’s was held (Tuesday, fyi). I rely on a lot of trivia from reading Austen and Fanny Burney and having a head stuffed full of knowledge about England (from growing up there). This was a remarkably unresearched book.

What/Who do you like to read?

I’m a very eclectic reader although I’m a very badly read romance reader. My favorite books in the whole world are Daniel Deronda by George Eliot, Villette by Charlotte Bronte, Wives and Daughters by Mrs. Gaskell, and Emma by Jane Austen. I also like our very own Pam Rosenthal, Nick Hornby, Anna Maxted, Eloisa James, Jennifer Weiner, Ian McEwan, Sarah Waters, Angela Carter, and Kate Ross (in no particular order). I also like biographies and autobiographies.

Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I write fairly clean first drafts but usually I have to go in later and add great chunks of extra material. The original beginning of this book, for instance, was the scene at the ball--that’s on my site at (and there’s a contest too, to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate so get on over there!). Usually a first scene comes very clearly into my head and I let things unfold and learn about the characters as I write. I find plotting very difficult.

What are you planning to work on next?

Something about servants/masters, currently in a very embryonic stage, and I’ll be blogging about servants tomorrow, because I think they’re so interesting, and such a gift to writers. I’m also working on some ideas for erotic historicals, which I write under the name of Jane Lockwood. Forbidden Shores, by Jane, comes out in October 2007. If you join my mailing list , your name will be entered into a drawing to win a copy.

Thanks for having me here, History Hoydens!


Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

I've heard SO MUCH about this book. You've finally convinced me to stop dilly-dallying and pick it up today.

(While making one last attempt to see my own book in an ACTUAL BOOKSTORE. *sigh* I just want a picture. Is that so wrong?)

Thanks for coming by the Hoydens, Janet!!!!

8:12 AM  
Blogger Lois said...

Fancy catching you here! LOL :) I can't wait to start reading this one -- I've seen so many great quotes and reviews for it, I just can't wait! :)


9:35 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Well, I have read it (I've got a cherished ARC). And yes I did laugh out loud a great many times; I probably would have done so with even greater frequency if I hadn't been having some I-should-have-thought-of-that moments and other unworthy thoughts. I even got tearful once -- at a place when the plot called for it, not over my own unworthness.

And I was filled with admiration for the deftness of the present-tense narrative. I've never read Bridget Jones. Is that in present tense?

11:52 AM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

I loved Inigo. He's a perfect rakish hero (a very hard thing to pull off convincingly IMO).

Vicki, good luck finding your book! It's fun to see it on the shelf.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Laura Vivanco said...

How significant a role does Thomas Darrowby play? I tend to have a problem reading novels where the heroine or hero has to choose between two possible love interests, because I feel so sorry for the loser (unless the loser is revealed to be the secret villain, or finds someone much more suitable).

3:21 PM  
Blogger Sue A. said...

Hi Janet, I've caught a few of your blog posts and found them great because I'm learning so much about you as a writer and all that entails.

Congrats on all the great reviews!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Hi Victoria, Lois, Pam, Kalen, Laura, Sue.
Laura, I added in Tom Darrowby when my agent suggested I flesh out what was an early, even frothier version. One of the problems was that with her choice of suitors, Philomena would be crazy not to choose Inigo (they're either total idiots or more interested in each other than her).
Hence the emergence of Mr. Nice Guy. For all his niceness, though, he's smart enough to know that Philomena doesn't love him. I like to think he emerges, at the end of the book, with his heart intact, having realized Philomena is not the woman for him.

4:16 PM  
Blogger janegeorge said...

There's a romance code?


Well. here's hoping TROG breaks it!

5:35 PM  
Blogger anne said...

Your novel has me so fascinated. A great interview which has given me great insight into your book and the writing background.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Keira Soleore said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Keira Soleore said...

Janet, I ADORE this book. Thank you for a lighthearted but a true detailed, and yes, accurate, picture of what it was really like then. The ridiculous. The obstreperous. And the downright confusing.

Janet wrote, "...looking up the day that Almack’s was held (Tuesday, fyi)."

Oh my goodness. There hasn't been a book I read that didn't mention Almack's on Wednesdays. Why the anomoly?

(Read the author's insight section of RULES.)

7:29 PM  
Blogger Keira Soleore said...

Kalen, you're probably en route to NZ. I was wondering if you plan on blogging about your trip there and the conference the way you blogged about Morocco?


8:12 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks for blogging with us, Janet. Like Vicki, I've heard so much about this book...with that kinda buzz, I just gotta read it!


8:16 PM  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Oh my goodness. There hasn't been a book I read that didn't mention Almack's on Wednesdays. Why the anomoly?
Oops, Keira, I hope I didn't get it wrong in the book too! That was entirely from memory.

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Janet! I finally found you. This is Nina from the Regency Weekend.

THE RULES OF GENTILITY sounds like so much fun. I'm not much for first person, but I read the excerpt and I'm hooked. It's off to Amazon with me.

6:24 AM  
Blogger KimW said...

Good mornig, Janet. I'm sitting here with my hot cup of coffee, having just woke up, and stopped by to read your interview. I have to get this book. The more I hear about it, the more I like. I could use a laugh-out-loud funny right now.

8:19 AM  
Blogger KimW said...

mornig..what's that. I'm not awake...that should be morning. lol

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Tracy Grant said...

I'm so looking forward to reading this book! I love the idea of the meddling of the Regency era and chicklit. I was talking with a friend recently about how Jane Austen novels are really closer to modern chicklit than modern traditional romance-with the emphasis on the importance not just of finding true love but of marriage as economic stabiltiy (the Regency equivalent of a good job) and the sharp social satire. Best of luck with the book!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Aaw, Keira (and Pam, too) thanks for saying such nice things about the book.
And hi Kim, Jane, Ann, Tracy and Nina.
Nina was one of the ladies at the Riversdale Ladies Weekend a couple of months ago--how great to hear from you! I think Kristina Cook blogged about it here, and Sally MacKenzie and I both talked about it on our respective blogs. I'm not even going to attempt to put in a link because I know I'll only produce html garbage. I still can't believe how hard that floor was to sleep on! I had a signing at Riversdale yesterday and it went really well--I read an excerpt and people laughed (at the right times, thank goodness).

4:57 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Janet, wonderful book, I devoured in one sitting. I laughed, I cried, I thought Inigo was to die for. It was a breath of fresh air.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Kimberly L said...

Great post. I haven't read the book yet but plan on it soon.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Elizabeth, I'm so glad you liked it--thank you! And I'm glad Inigo worked for you (and Kalen, and I want to hear about NZ too!). I always thought Philomena too sensible to take up with anything more than a middling sort of rake, as he describes himself.

Tracy, I meant to comment before, to say that's the best analogy of Austen and chicklit I've heard. Over at the Riskies quite recently we were discussing what Jane would write now, and several of us thought she'd produce barbed contemporary comedies of manners.

Victoria, did you ever find your book in all its onshelf glory?

12:43 PM  

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