Don’t tell my mom, but I started reading romance at the age of ten. I’d worked my way through all of the children’s books available in the local bookmobile, so I turned to the adult section, where I spied a book with a woman in a flowing green dress on the cover. The back said something about a pirate. I was hooked from that moment on (and still wish I could remember the name of that fateful book!).
As a teenager addicted to historical romance novels, I often had to defend my reading material of choice, even writing an essay for my tenth grade English class explaining my love for the genre: I read romance, because no matter what happens (and some pretty crazy things happen), you know those two people are going to end up together.
For this anxiety-prone child of divorce, that was the ultimate comfort, the idea that two flawed people could encounter all sorts of obstacles and still stay together, still find everlasting love.
As to why I write it? Because as an adult, I continue to seek that comfort, that security, that promise every day. Also, I’m a bit of a control freak. Plus, I really love witty repartee between characters. So an encouraging, reassuring story (with funny/witty parts, or so I hope) dictated entirely by me? Sign me up!
Romance provides escape, yes, but it also provides hope, and reminders that no matter what obstacles may come, Happy Ever After might be just around the corner. I hope my books entertain, amuse, and give that sense of hope, that sense of promise we all need, that second chances are possible, and that when life seems its bleakest, a new chapter might be waiting to be written. Gosh, that’s super-corny, but it’s true.
Writing, I’ve learned, also allows me to explore my own thoughts and beliefs through watching/learning what my characters do.
In A Man of Character, I examined the ideas of fantasy versus reality, perhaps in part because people have long challenged romance as presenting impossible ideals.
In A Matter of Time, I delved into whether feminism is compatible with wanting to prioritize love and marriage. (For the record, I am an ardent feminist who happens to be madly in love with my husband and who finds my identity in that relationship, and I’m good with that. So my answer to that question is a resounding yes.)
In A Scandalous Matter, I switched up the feminist theme by asking if romantic relationships negate individual independence, through the eyes of a heroine and hero who believe the two ideas are incompatible. (Spoiler alert: I disagree.)
And in my forthcoming The Demon Duke, admittedly a bit of a Beauty and the Beast story (my favorite Disney tale!) I looked at how we judge others and how we judge ourselves, and how we must make peace with who we are before we can be truly happy.
In each of my books, a main theme is finding one’s place in the world. How ironic that in becoming a writer, I’ve finally done just that. I know where I belong now, where my heart feels happiest, and it’s in writing romance.
I’ve come full circle, and I’m incredibly blessed.
Now, to you: What makes YOU read (or write) romance? I’d love to know!
An earlier version of this blog post appeared on Tina Glasneck’s Celebrate With A Booksite. I’m grateful to her for being fine with me posting it here, as well.
I’d always intended on writing Regency romance. In fact, it’s the only thing I thought I’d ever write, but darn if my muse didn’t have other plans, since the first big story idea she brought was not set in the Regency at all! A Man of Character takes place in 2012 in Charlottesville, Virginia – with nary a duke or grand ball in sight.
Until the end. Because if my heroine Catherine Schreiber wasn’t going to be a Regency gal, at least her Jane Austen-loving sidekick Eliza James could, right? And what better way to tie my modern magical romantic comedy in with a Regency novel than by sending the sidekick from book one back in time in book two? That’s how the idea began.
Brainstorming what kind of duke Eliza might meet was a blast. Slick and debonair? A frilly, froofy dandy? Or a Darcy in disguise? Of course I chose the Pride and Prejudice–inspired latter for Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, and melded him with a Beauty and the Beast sort of touch, in part because bubbly Eliza needed a more Eeyorish counterpart, and in part because those are two of my favorite romances ever!
But the most fun part, however, came when I gave Deveric two sidekicks – Morgan Collinswood, Marquess of Emerlin, and James Bradley, Duke of Arthington. Because, well, I’m totally obsessed with the BBC show Merlin and the two lead actors who played Merlin and Arthur – namely Colin Morgan and Bradley James. Turn them around, dress them up a little bit, throw in some Merlin references here and there, and voila! I had my counterparts to Deveric Mattersley. And I love them so much that they each shall eventually get their own books.
What was the hardest thing about writing A Matter of Time?
First and foremost, aiming for historical accuracy in details. And I’m sure I still made mistakes, but I tried to do diligent research and ask questions in the Romance Writers of America‘s wonderful Regency group, The Beau Monde.
Second, there were a few key scenes I had originally written from a third character’s perspective (Deveric’s mother, the rather dragon-like Matilda Mattersley). But my editor believed I should stick solely with Eliza’s and Deveric’s view points, so, well, having to rewrite those scenes from a different point of view while still showing Matilda’s character development proved rather rascally.
Do you always include pets in your books?
Yup! I decided from the start I’d include some sort of beloved animal in each of my novels, just because I’m a cat fanatic myself (yes, if I didn’t have husband, I’ve have more cats and be Crazy Cat Lady, indeed). So A Man of Character has a cat, Presley, A Matter of Time has a puppy named Pirate, and A Scandalous Matter has a cat named Ada Lovelace. It’s just a silly little thing for me to do, and I enjoy the feline and canine characters. Do you?
What’s coming up in 2017 for Margaret Locke?
To be honest, I had hoped to publish my next book, The Demon Duke, in December or January. But life has had a way of knocking me down this year (gallbladder surgery, tooth gone rogue, mom had major surgery, my beloved cat Scilla died), so it’s been pushed back a little, but hopefully it will debut in the late spring of 2017. It’s the first in my Put Up Your Dukes series, and a pure Regency, no magic at all. Hopefully my fans will still love it.
I also am working on a draft of A Delicate Matter, which takes a surprise character from book three in the Magic of Love series, A Scandalous Matter, and gives her her own story.
Want to join me for A Matter of Time’s birthday bash?
Pop on in to my Facebook party tonight (November 30th, 2016) from 8-11 pm EST to meet a number of other great authors and learn about their books (and we’ve got an awesome variety, with several romance authors but also a couple of YA fantasy writers and an espionage writer!), and have the chance to win great giveaways and prizes from them and from moi!
Because I want to give back to all of you who’ve given me so much in this past eighteen months of being a published authors. It’s been amazing, a roller coaster full of thrills, and it’s taken me beyond my wildest dreams!
And for those of you who aren’t familiar with A Matter of Time, here’s its blurb:
Can a man with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?
Nobody would blame widowed doctoral student Eliza James for giving up on Happily Ever After; at twenty-nine, she’s suffered more loss than most people do in a lifetime. But Eliza’s convinced her own hero is still out there, waiting for her, just like in the beloved romance novels she devours. Every Jane Austen-loving girl deserves a Darcy, right?
Only Eliza doesn’t dream of a modern-day affair: she wants the whole Regency experience. When a magical manuscript thrusts her back two hundred years into the arms and life of one Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, however, Eliza realizes some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, especially when her duke proves himself less than a Prince Charming.
Convinced he’s at fault for the death of his wife, Deveric Mattersley has no interest in women, much less marriage. Determined to atone for his sins, he decrees himself content to focus on running his family’s estates, and on raising his son–until the mysterious Mrs. James appears. Who is she? What does she want? And why does she make Dev’s blood run hot in a way no woman ever has?
A charming time-travel Regency romance full of wit and humor, A Matter of Time reminds us that, like books, you can’t judge people by their covers, and that love often comes when least expected.
And a few reviews, just because they make me giddy. I can’t believe they’re talking about my novel!:
“A love story and so much more, A Matter of Time should be on every fantasy, paranormal, contemporary and Regency romance readers “to read” list…I would definitely recommend this novel – you will be charmed, captivated, have a few good laughs and shed a few tears as you cheer Eliza and Dev on to find their happy every after ending.” – Marsha, KeeperBookshelf.com
“This was one of the best fantasy, paranormal romances I have read in a while. I loved the characters and even the secondary characters were great. I would most definitely recommend this book and I look forward to more from this series.” – Cat, NerdGirlOfficial.com
Thank you so much for hanging with me, not only today, but all the time! I love you guys. Seriously.
If you want to connect with me further, you can find me here:
To celebrate July 4th, I’ve teamed up with more than 50 fantastic authors to give away a huge selection of historical romance novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!
I’m giving away my Regency time-travel romance, A Matter of Time, in which a modern-day Austenite’s dream comes true when she lands in the arms of a Regency duke, only to discover some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when he proves less than a Prince Charming.
I’ve met amazing readers. I’ve met amazing writers. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’ve learned lots more.
And I’m so very grateful for all of it.
Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? I sent one out this morning with TONS of giveaways as a Book Birthday present to you! You can check the newsletter out here: http://eepurl.com/b3gE8L
** Please note if you email me to enter a giveaway (or two or three or seven), I take that as consent for you to be added to my newsletter list. But don’t worry – I only email when I have actual news (such as a new release or a sale), and I try to include a giveaway every time!
MUCH LOVE to all of you. I wouldn’t be here without you. THANK YOU.