Interviews / Novelists

Interview with Regina Scott: “Be willing to work to make them better.”

Regina Scott is a novelist who began writing in third grade. After honing her skills in vocabulary, sentence structure, and plot, she published her first Regency romance novel, The Unflappable Miss Fairchild, in 1998. She later expanded into Christian romance with The Irresistible Earl in 2011, and debuted with publisher Revell in 2019.

Scott’s novels have been translated into multiple languages and released in various formats. Her work has received praise and awards, including two RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice awards for The Heiress’s Homecoming (2013) and Would-Be Wilderness Wife (2015).

A Distance Too Grand was recognized as a top romance in 2019 by Booklist, and Never Doubt a Duke was selected as a best read of 2018 by Hope by the Book staff. In 2022, a reprint of Would-Be Wilderness Wife made the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller List in the Religious category.

Hi Regina, welcome to Famous Writing Routines, great to have you here with us today! How did you first discover your passion for writing and what led you to pursue a career as a novelist?

I’ve always loved to read. About third grade, I realized that *someone* wrote these marvelous books I so enjoyed, and that person could be me! Thus, a lifelong obsession was born.

Your writing career spans across multiple genres including Regency romance and Christian romance. How do you approach writing for different audiences and genres?

My core story is the same regardless of genre—finding your place in the world and how you can best contribute. That works well for romances and historical novels and even steampunk! I do my best to understand and adapt to genre conventions, and I hope I meet reader expectations with every book.

Can you share a little about your writing process and how you develop your characters and plotlines?

Either a character or a snippet of a plot will come to me, sometimes from something I heard about from history, sometimes even in a dream. From there, I start asking “What if” and “Why.” I look at characters that would spark well off each other and develop their goals, motivation, and conflict, as well as backstory. Then I brainstorm all the things that could happen along the way and lay out the plot from there.

You’ve mentioned that you’ve learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and dressed as a Regency dandy for research. How important is research to your writing process and how do you balance historical accuracy with creative liberties in your novels?

Research is very important! Whatever a writer writes, it has to be believable to the reader. I work very hard to be as historically accurate as possible, realizing that sometimes it’s just impossible to know. For example, in one story set in Scarborough, England, I wanted to know the name of the master of ceremonies at the local spa in a certain year. Not even the staff at the British Library could find it for me! So, I felt fairly comfortable making up a character to fill that void.

In your book, A Distance Too Grand, you explore the story of a female photographer in 1871. What inspired you to choose this time period and profession as the backdrop for your story?

I had read about early female photographers and wanted to write a story about one. I also wanted to give her a very big canvas. Nothing much bigger than the Grand Canyon! Research proved that government surveys employed photographers, so I had her talk her way onto the first survey of the North Rim, taking the place of her father, who had recently passed.

Your novels have won multiple awards and received praise from both industry professionals and readers. How does it feel to receive recognition for your work and how does this affect your writing process going forward?

It’s always an honor and a joy when readers, reviewers, librarians, and bookstore owners praise my work! It makes me want to work even harder to write books that entertain, inspire, and uplift.

Can you tell us about your writing routine? What does a typical day look like for you?

I set aside two hours in mid-morning and right after lunch to do nothing but write. Before and afterward, I fit in all the other aspects a writer must deal with these days—proofing, reviewing editorial comments, marketing, interacting on social media, blogging, etc. I can generally fill eight or nine hours easily!

If you could have a conversation with any author throughout history about their writing routine and creative process, who would that person be?

Jane Austen! I would love to know how she thought up such enduring characters and stories. She’s a bestseller in book and film, even after 200 years!

I’d love to know about the books you’re reading at the moment. What have been some of your favorite recent reads?

Here’s where I admit to a secret passion. I *love* historical mysteries! A friend suggested the Lady Hardcastle mysteries by T.E. Kinsey, set in England in the early 1900s, and I am devouring them. I also adored Claudia Gray’s The Murder of Mr. Wickham and can’t wait for the sequel. Most recently, I had the pleasure of reading Amanda Cabot’s historical Christian novel, After the Shadows. Well-drawn characters, and yes, it even had a background mystery to solve.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are just starting out, and what do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when pursuing a career in writing?

For aspiring authors, believe in your stories. Be willing to work to make them better, but remember, they are yours. They don’t have to sound like, feel like, anyone else’s. Evaluate all advice through that lens. As far as pursuing a career in writing, you have to love the writing part so much that all the other things which sometimes get in the way will mean nothing. There are still roadblocks aplenty in this business, but if you love the writing, you can find a way to get it into reader hands.

What does your current writing workspace look like?

Cozy, a bit cluttered, and Wedgwood blue, much like a Regency withdrawing room!

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