Guest Author: Sabrina Jeffries
I’ve met up with Sabrina Jeffries at a couple of RT Conventions over the years and always look forward to having my fan girl moments with her and snapping a picture with her in one of her period costumes. I’ve also managed to see her again, albeit very briefly, at the Booklovers Convention in New Orleans in May. I’m hoping in 2021 to accept the invitation to attend the Historical Retreat event which Sabrina has described as “Disneyland for historical romance fans”. It sounds like an absolute ball!
Thank you for being my guest today, Sabrina. I’d like first to ask you about your latest release and whether it posed any particular challenges to write.
My latest, Project Duchess in my new Duke Dynasty series, did prove challenging, mostly because it was the first of the series. Since it was about a blended family, I had a rough time explaining who everyone was in relation to everyone else without using gobs of narration. Fortunately, my editor came up with the idea of using a newspaper gossip column to provide the explanations naturally. That worked very well.
I’m looking forward to reading it when it’s released next week! (Release Date is June 25th!)
You’ve written under a couple of different pen names. I’m guessing that you used a different pen name (Deborah Nicholas) for your contemporary paranormal romantic suspense (eg. Night Vision, Silent Sonata and Shattered Reflections) because this was a different read from your historical romances. But I’m curious as to why you chose to write historical romances as Deborah Martin between 1992 and 1997 (titles such as Windswept, Stormswept and Silver Deceptions have now been reissued as Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah Martin). Can you let us in on your rationale for that?
I wrote as Deborah Martin (it’s my maiden name) in my “first” historical career. Basically, as you guessed, pseudonyms are meant to distinguish between different styles or genres of writing. In my case, my Sabrina Jeffries books are lighter, sexier historical romances than my Deborah Martin books were. They have more dialogue and more sensuality, but less density and history-based plots. Also, none of my Deborah Martin books were Regencies. So my Sabrina Jeffries pseudonym came into being when I finally decided to try my hand at writing the humorous Regencies I’d always preferred to read.
The Sabrina Jeffries pseudonym has been very successful and I do get that pseudonyms are meant to distinguish between different styles. Escape publishing asked me to write under a different name for my medieval romances so I write them as Alyssa James.
I love your website and I love reading the “Regency Tidbits” section that you include on your page. What’s the most unusual ‘regency tidbit’ that you’ve discovered and been able to incorporate into one of your stories?
It would have to be the stuff about the children’s peep show boxes (not at all like peep shows came to be in the modern age). While I was writing Married to the Viscount and on vacation in New York with my husband, I happened to see two of the boxes at an exhibit at the New York Public Library. They fascinated me, and I needed something to humanize Spencer a little, so I couldn’t resist incorporating them into his book. Oddly enough, I don’t have that in my Regency Tidbits. Now I’ll have to add it!
I know you love to travel and I love to live vicariously through your posts on Facebook when you’re doing so. I read that your parents were missionaries and their work took you to live in Thailand as a child. I also read that you were chased by a baby elephant in Thailand! What’s one of your most memorable travelling stories as an adult?
This really shouldn’t stymie me, but it does. As an adult, I’ve had plenty of experiences, but they’re not that memorable. There was the sheer terror of riding on horseback with my husband down a muddy trail during our honeymoon in Mexico and wondering if we were going to go sliding to our death before we got to see the waterfalls at the bottom. There was the thrill of actually seeing in the British Museum the metope that I used in a love scene in The Forbidden Lord. There was the sadness of standing on the site of a Metairie restaurant that my husband and I used to go to and realizing that the floor was all that was left of it after Hurricane Katrina.
Actually, many of my fondest travel memories center around food—like the many international versions of pizza we’ve eaten through the years (in Bangkok, Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Reykjavik). Sometimes, the only thing open late at night is a pizza restaurant . . . even in Amsterdam. Also, I always insist on eating haggis when we’re in Scotland (I happen to like haggis), so I got into a very interesting discussion with a Scottish cabbie who told me all about how everyone has their own recipe for haggis, which is why every time I’ve had it, it’s been different. My husband and I also had rijsttafel in Amsterdam, which is an Indonesian meal that is also uniquely Dutch. And we had great Asian food in Paris—we gorged on Cambodian and Laotian food there.
Sorry, I get carried away when talking about travel. And yet, I don’t seem to have many memorable stories as an adult! Go figure.
As these memories do centre around food, you’ll have to visit if you come to Australia and I’ll serve you up some Aussie dishes! I’m afraid you’re on your own with the haggis.
My husband and I travelled with our three kids for three months in the UK/Europe and we were at the Glasgow Games where we all took part in the Haggis throwing competition they had for spectators.
The kids still talk about how the lady who ran the B&B we stayed in went out early in the morning to the shops so she could treat us to Black Pudding for breakfast. Being polite, we forced it down, but I’m thinking it’s an acquired taste—a bit like when tourists try Vegemite in Australia and wonder how any of us eat it!! (I promise I won’t serve you vegemite!)
Right now I'm starting to plot Thorn's book. I am so much in early days for it that I can't even tell you what it's about, since I don't know yet. But between Grey's book and Thorn's is the book about Beatrice's brother Joshua and Thorn's twin sister Gwyn. The title is The Bachelor (all the titles of the books—and only the titles—are based on reality TV shows). Between Project Duchess and The Bachelor is a novella entitled The Perfect Match, which will come out this Christmas in a trade paperback called Seduction on a Snowy Night and which also includes novellas by Madeline Hunter and Mary Jo Putney.
I’ll look forward to all the titles. Thanks again for the interview! I hope I’ll see you next year in Nashville for Booklovers Con 2020!
You can find out more about Sabrina by visiting her website sabrinajeffries.com. and can also subscribe to her newsletter while you’re there!
Do note that June 25th is a HUGE day for releases. All of these books will be added to my To Be Read pile:
Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries
The Highland Earl by Amy Jarecki and
Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor
Janna MacGregor has been a guest on this blog previously and Amy Jarecki joins me next week to answer five quick questions.
I hope you’ll visit again next Saturday. Until then, have a wonderful week and I wish you lots of Happy Reading!
(Photo Credit: Sabrina's author photo by Jessica Blakely for Tamara Lackey Photography)
About the Blogger:
Alyssa J. Montgomery is an Australian contemporary romance author who is published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia). She also
writes medieval romance as Alyssa James,