My Inspiration: Georgette Heyer, the Queen of Romance
A Guest Post by Susan Denney
If you met me, you might be surprised. I’m really not the romance novelist type. I don’t curl up in a window seat with a cat and a cup of herb tea and you’d be hard pressed to find anything with a ruffle on it in my wardrobe. And my former high school students remember me more for my strict classroom management than for my aura of femininity.
So why am I a romance novelist? I write romance novels because of one person named Georgette Heyer. I fell in love with her books so long ago that that I was in junior high and not middle school. Georgette Heyer invented the modern Regency romance which is based on that early nineteenth century era so beautifully described by Jane Austen. I drooled over her clothing descriptions and absorbed a culture so different from my own. But I also loved her characters and their happy endings.
When I started acquiring my own set of Georgette Heyer books, I had to scour used bookstores. Then eBay was invented just so I could complete my collection. Now her wonderful books are being reprinted and are available everywhere. As my books fall apart, I can replace them with a new edition.
What’s so wonderful about her books? They’re believable. She did so much research that I’m guessing that today some contemporary Regency romance novelists don’t bother with research but just lift details from her books. But Heyer’s romances are also witty, bright and well-plotted. Her heroines are often feisty and her heroes have flaws. But in every single one, you end up the book by believing that these two people are in love and that it will last.
My modern romance with the enormous title of Snarky and Sweet: A Romantic Comedy about Twins, Texas and a Big Red Diamond was written just for fun. I wrote a book I was looking for in libraries and not finding. I wanted to read something a bit more intellectual than most romances, but also clean. I wanted to write a book that leaves a lot to the imagination. My view is that reading what goes on in a bedroom is not half as interesting as finding out how that couple got to the bedroom in the first place. But in the deepest recesses of my heart was the hope that some element in my book might approach the writing of that queen of romance, Georgette Heyer.
She presently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband who writes very good poetry.