Louise Allen’s passion is The Regency. With a degree in geography and archaeology she loves to try and ‘read’ the landscape and the buildings in it for clues about the past. She has penned over forty historical romances plus novellas and short stories and three books of historical non-fiction – Walking Jane Austen’s London, Stagecoach Travel and Walks Through Regency London. She lives in England in a village on the North Norfolk coast with her husband. Visit her here. Read her blog here. Twitter: @LouiseRegency
NAW- Tell us about your book, Unlacing Lady Thea. How did you get the idea for it? What is it about?
I got the idea for Unlacing Lady Thea when I took a voyage down the coast of Italy from Venice to Sicily and thought what a wonderful setting it would make for a romance. My story revolves around two old friends who have known each other from childhood. Thea persuades Rhys – much against his better judgment – to take her to Venice to stay with her godmother. Rhys, who starts off thinking of Thea as just his childhood playmate, soon becomes first alarmed and then very attracted by his travelling companion. The story revolves around their growing attraction for each other and the barriers in the way of them finding true love.
NAW- What drew you to the romance genre?
I love reading historical romance – it combines two important things for me – an interest in history and really good storytelling based on relationships. When I decided I wanted to write then it was the obvious genre for me to choose.
NAW- How long did you take to finish the book? How did you decide the title?
It took me four months to write, which is normal for me – I usually write at least three books a year and that is my full-time job. The title was arrived at in discussion with my editor. We thought it evoked the idea of the growing sensual relationship between Rhys and Thea really well.
NAW- What can a novice reader expect from Unlacing Lady Thea?
Some humour, careful historical research, some passionate love scenes and what I hope will be an enjoyable journey through France and Italy set in the early 19th century. And, of course, a hero I hope they will fall in love with!
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
I’ve written over forty historical romances plus novellas and short stories and I have also written three books of historical non-fiction – Walking Jane Austen’s London, Stagecoach Travel and Walks Through Regency London. Virtually everything I have done is set in the period 1780-1820 and my novels have been set as widely as India, Egypt, France, Italy, Malta and Spain. I had a wonderful time researching for several books set wholly or partly in India – and much to my husband’s delight that involved us in two holidays, one to Kolkata and Assam and one to Rajasthan. As a result the Danger & Desire trilogy, where book one, Ravished by the Rake begins in Kolkata and then two linked books, Forbidden Jewel of India set entirely in India in the 1780s and with an Indian heroine and Tarnished Amongst the Ton set in London with the son of the hero and heroine of Forbidden Jewel as the hero.
NAW- Tell us about your publishing journey.
I started writing in the 1980s with a friend. We did very little research about how to write and as a result we had to learn the hard way before we sold our first book in 1986! We wrote two contemporary romances together as Guilia Grey, then eight historical romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon as Francesca Shaw. Since 2003 I have written by myself as Louise Allen. As well as writing with Harlequin Mills & Boon for fiction and Shire Publications for non-fiction I also publish some ebooks myself. It is a very exciting world for authors at the moment, with lots of choices.
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
I live on the North Norfolk coast of England with my husband. He shares my interest in history and we do a lot of travelling and researching together. He is the cook in our household which is wonderful for me! We love foreign travel and this year have been, or plan to go to Rome, Morocco, the United States and the Indian Ocean.
NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?
I love Terry Pratchett, Lindsey Davies, Georgette Heyer, David Wishart and a whole host of historical romance writers including Joanna Bourne, Anna Campbell and Loretta Chase. Like many writers who cover the Regency period, I would have to name Georgette Heyer as a great inspiration.
NAW-What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Ruso and the River of Darkness by R.S.Downie – an historical crime novel set in Roman Britain. When I’ve finished that I think the next one will be Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.
NAW- What will you be working on next?
I’m about three quarters of the way through an historical romance. It the moment it doesn’t have a title but it is due to be published for Christmas 2015. It is set in London and the English countryside and has a very elegant hero who doesn’t like Christmas.