Interview: Eileen Putman, Author of Lord Shallow @eileen_put #Interview

Eileen Putman is the author of a dozen British historical and Regency romances. Her love of England’s Regency period (1811-1820) has inspired her research trips to England, Ireland, Wales, France and other countries — there being no substitute for stepping on the soil that Beau Brummell and his champagne-polished Hessians once trod.


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She glared at him. “His spirit lives. I’ll have what I’m due by rights, Englishman. And while I am certain every woman in England finds you a catch, I have no use for puffed-up peacocks."



When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Setting came first. Anglesey, a picturesque island off North Wales, is dotted with ancient Neolithic tombs and mysterious stone circles, their meanings lost to unrecorded history. On a visit a few years ago I stood on a cliff jutting out into the sea, mesmerized by the fluffy white clouds reflecting off sun-dappled waves as far as I could see. It was like staring out into infinity—past, present and future. I wanted to write a book set in England’s Regency era that captured the sense that love transcends even time.

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I had agents and was traditionally published for years, but when you go that route you give up a measure of control over content, covers, release schedules and more. I wrote 11 books while I was at home with my kids. When they grew older, I returned to my [PE1] journalism day job. Then indie publishing and digital sales became a thing, so I started writing again. Now I’m self-published with help from a strong network of professional editors, formatters and cover artists.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

That someone bought it! When the Berkley editor called with her offer, I was coloring with my toddler in the basement. I managed to scrawl her name and contact information on a page in thick red crayon. I probably still have that scrap of paper.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

An essential role—it draws the reader in. But if the book isn’t worthy, the cover won’t save you. An aside: The photo I took that day on Anglesey became the background of the Lord Shallow cover.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Lord Shallow was challenging because I got carried away. The themes grew bigger and the chapters longer. It’s also a story where nothing is as it seems. To all of London, Sebastian Traherne is a pretentious fop who prizes his tailor over his dukedom. In reality, he’s an obsessively rational fellow protecting a secret marriage—his. And yes, that may be a dealbreaker for some romance fans, because it makes a romance between him and my heroine seemingly impossible.

The book’s set during the Regency, but the heroine is descended from Wales’ most legendary war hero and grew up on Anglesey surrounded by those ancient relics. I wanted readers to see her struggle to reclaim her legacy, which meant including a flavor of Welsh history and legends.

With historicals, you must put the reader into the time period without weighing the story down with research. I struggled with that and ended up cutting 12,000 words from my original draft. As for tips, only this: the plot of a romance novel is the development of the love relationship. Anything that doesn’t further that needs to go.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

Lord Shallow is Book 2 in my Maitland’s Rogues series about a group of daring English lords who worked clandestinely for England during the Napoleonic Wars. The first book, King of Hearts, was a bit of a wild ride, like nothing I’ve done before. The next, set in England and Scotland, will be out next year.

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

A sizzling older couple romance is integral to the story. He’s an ascetic Scot, and she’s an austere spinster resolved not to give in to girlish fantasies. The surprise, which emerges in their story, is that Robert Burns wrote a wonderfully bawdy poem no one gets at first because it’s in heavy Scots dialect. I heard it sung in Edinburgh by a woman with a lovely soprano. Lord Shallow has the gist. I’ll leave it at that.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

Love abides, even though the ages. It connects all of us.
Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Talking about writing is hard! I’m not sure any writer understands where our stories come from. We just hope they stay with us.

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