Regency Chick Lit! An Interview with Janet Mullany

 Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

Janet Mullany created buzz two years ago with the publication of her “Regency chick lit” romance, The Rules of Gentility.  Now she’s back with a second of that ilk, A Most Lamentable Comedy

A native of England, Janet lives in the Washington area and I know her from the Washington and Maryland RWA chapters. 
 
Often when putting together an interview, I start with an author’s website, and Janet’s ( www.janetmullany.com ) is so much fun that I could have Janet Mullany taken the whole interview right off what she has posted there.  But having her here in person is so much better!  
 
MJP:  Janet, could you tell us a bit of your background and how you became a writer?  In particular, a romance writer?
 
JM:
Becoming a writer. Hmm. I attribute it to menopause. I'd always written a lot of stuff, promotional material, for work, and one day I thought I'd try fiction. I'm not one of those people who've always wanted to be a writer but I've always read a lot and very widely, which I think was my initial training.

Rules of Gentility After I started writing I thought I'd better check out what other writers were doing, and I discovered Maryland Romance Writers. I was so impressed by the attitude of the members–that they were career-driven and wanted to sell–that I decided I'd like to hang out with them although I wasn't absolutely sure I was writing romance. My characters always seemed to want to have sex and complicate their lives by falling in love, though, so I considered I was halfway there.
 
MJP:
You more or less invented Regency chick lit, I think.  Tell us about A Most Lamentable Comedy. 
 
JM:
It's a sort-of sequel to Rules. I realized I might have to prove that Rules wasn't a one-off book, so I found a minor character to be my heroine for the next book. She's first caught in a compromising situation with Inigo in Rules and her name Lamentable cover originally was Mary. But after Philomena's breathless twittering on about Inigo's trousers and fashion, I wanted to clear my literary palate and write about a worldly, bad girl, so I renamed her Caroline, and she immediately started behaving badly, which was very gratifying.

Six years after Rules, she's a woman who's on the slippery slope to ruin, widowed, seriously in debt and with an absolute talent for getting into trouble, on the lookout for a husband or protector. You can read the beginning here: http://www.janetmullany.com/a-most-lamentable-comedy-excerpt.

She's after money, and she thinks she's found it when she meets a handsome, mysterious stranger, Nicholas Congrevance; but he's a con man who's looking for a rich, gullible woman as his next mark. He's been abroad and so doesn't know about her predicament. They both take refuge at a country house party which revolves around an amateur production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with some of the characters from Rules.

Now, I should warn you that Caroline and Nick don't reform and become exemplary characters. I really don't write that sort of book. What they find is what they need–love, friendships, community–as well as solutions to their financial woes.
 
MJP:
What was the biggest mistake you made when you first began writing?
 
JM:
I think the biggest mistake I didn't make was listen to people who said "You can't do that in a romance." Other than that, it was fairly typical, boring, craft stuff like run-on sentences and inappropriate jokes, although I think I'm still doing both of those. And I'm still a fairly lousy plotter.
 
MJP:
  What do you consider key elements of a great story?
 
Dedication cover JM: I want to laugh and cry, possibly on the same page, and I want to read a book with complex characters, some ambiguity (I don't want all the ends to be tied up; I like to ponder about what-ifs), and great, clear cliché-free writing.
 
MJP:  Are there any trends you hope to see in romance in the next few years?
 
JM: I'd love to see the genre stretched and the rules bent a little more. Personally I feel a bit Duked-out at the moment. Since I'm English from a lower upper middle class family that voted Labour I'm not particularly thrilled about aristocrats.
 
MJP: What are you working on now?
 
JM:
I'm fixing to get ready to start thinking about writing lots of things. I have a two-book contract, Immortal Jane Austen with HarperCollins–speculative-historical paranormal fiction starring Jane Austen, the first of which is set in Bath, where Jane Austen joins up with vampires in defeating a French invasion. My brother, with whom I brainstormed the idea, thought I should call it Austen Powers and I wanted to call it Blood Bath.

I have two more Regency chicklits for Little Black Dress, Improper Relations, which I've just finished and which will be coming out next year, and another tentatively titled Mr. Bishop and the Actress because I think it's a great title. And I'll be writing for Harlequin Spice as Liz Diamond, with the first of two books coming out in 2011. So I'll be very busy. I'm very lucky.

Thanks for having me here at the Word Wenches, Mary Jo!

Rules cover 2 MJP: Thanks so much for joining us, Janet!  The book sounds like a hoot.

Janet will be giving away a signed copy of A Most Lamentable Comedy to someone who comments on this blog by midnight Saturday, so chat away!

Mary Jo

90 thoughts on “Regency Chick Lit! An Interview with Janet Mullany”

  1. I had no idea you were the same person. By that I mean I read Dedication and Rules and I recall all the positive buzz about Forbidden Shores (but I’m a skimmer, not an erotica fan). I never put those three together. (Should I say that after mention Forbidden Shores? Hm.)
    Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by so I could put AMLC on my list. I can’t wait to see what kind of splash it makes after the last two!

    Reply
  2. I had no idea you were the same person. By that I mean I read Dedication and Rules and I recall all the positive buzz about Forbidden Shores (but I’m a skimmer, not an erotica fan). I never put those three together. (Should I say that after mention Forbidden Shores? Hm.)
    Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by so I could put AMLC on my list. I can’t wait to see what kind of splash it makes after the last two!

    Reply
  3. I had no idea you were the same person. By that I mean I read Dedication and Rules and I recall all the positive buzz about Forbidden Shores (but I’m a skimmer, not an erotica fan). I never put those three together. (Should I say that after mention Forbidden Shores? Hm.)
    Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by so I could put AMLC on my list. I can’t wait to see what kind of splash it makes after the last two!

    Reply
  4. I had no idea you were the same person. By that I mean I read Dedication and Rules and I recall all the positive buzz about Forbidden Shores (but I’m a skimmer, not an erotica fan). I never put those three together. (Should I say that after mention Forbidden Shores? Hm.)
    Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by so I could put AMLC on my list. I can’t wait to see what kind of splash it makes after the last two!

    Reply
  5. I had no idea you were the same person. By that I mean I read Dedication and Rules and I recall all the positive buzz about Forbidden Shores (but I’m a skimmer, not an erotica fan). I never put those three together. (Should I say that after mention Forbidden Shores? Hm.)
    Anyway, I’m glad you stopped by so I could put AMLC on my list. I can’t wait to see what kind of splash it makes after the last two!

    Reply
  6. I’ve been hearing about this book,’A Most Lamentable’, everywhere! Everyone seems to love it, and I can’t wait to read it!
    Great interview, Janet! I’ll definitely be checking out your books! 🙂

    Reply
  7. I’ve been hearing about this book,’A Most Lamentable’, everywhere! Everyone seems to love it, and I can’t wait to read it!
    Great interview, Janet! I’ll definitely be checking out your books! 🙂

    Reply
  8. I’ve been hearing about this book,’A Most Lamentable’, everywhere! Everyone seems to love it, and I can’t wait to read it!
    Great interview, Janet! I’ll definitely be checking out your books! 🙂

    Reply
  9. I’ve been hearing about this book,’A Most Lamentable’, everywhere! Everyone seems to love it, and I can’t wait to read it!
    Great interview, Janet! I’ll definitely be checking out your books! 🙂

    Reply
  10. I’ve been hearing about this book,’A Most Lamentable’, everywhere! Everyone seems to love it, and I can’t wait to read it!
    Great interview, Janet! I’ll definitely be checking out your books! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Wow, Janet, I’m going to have to pick up one of your books, they all sound great! I love the idea of regency chick lit – something different then the mainstream. And the fact that the cover of your latest book is chocolate brown and blue (my favorite colors) just makes me want to buy it more:)
    I write in the chick lit genre myself (two chapters to go before I finish the first draft of my novel!) so I always find it inspiring to hear from others who persevered and made it!

    Reply
  12. Wow, Janet, I’m going to have to pick up one of your books, they all sound great! I love the idea of regency chick lit – something different then the mainstream. And the fact that the cover of your latest book is chocolate brown and blue (my favorite colors) just makes me want to buy it more:)
    I write in the chick lit genre myself (two chapters to go before I finish the first draft of my novel!) so I always find it inspiring to hear from others who persevered and made it!

    Reply
  13. Wow, Janet, I’m going to have to pick up one of your books, they all sound great! I love the idea of regency chick lit – something different then the mainstream. And the fact that the cover of your latest book is chocolate brown and blue (my favorite colors) just makes me want to buy it more:)
    I write in the chick lit genre myself (two chapters to go before I finish the first draft of my novel!) so I always find it inspiring to hear from others who persevered and made it!

    Reply
  14. Wow, Janet, I’m going to have to pick up one of your books, they all sound great! I love the idea of regency chick lit – something different then the mainstream. And the fact that the cover of your latest book is chocolate brown and blue (my favorite colors) just makes me want to buy it more:)
    I write in the chick lit genre myself (two chapters to go before I finish the first draft of my novel!) so I always find it inspiring to hear from others who persevered and made it!

    Reply
  15. Wow, Janet, I’m going to have to pick up one of your books, they all sound great! I love the idea of regency chick lit – something different then the mainstream. And the fact that the cover of your latest book is chocolate brown and blue (my favorite colors) just makes me want to buy it more:)
    I write in the chick lit genre myself (two chapters to go before I finish the first draft of my novel!) so I always find it inspiring to hear from others who persevered and made it!

    Reply
  16. Pam Rosenthal has some good things to say about your book. I’m always on the lookout for someone who may stretch the envelope. I’d like to see the romance genre welcome all kinds of writing, from the tried and true, to the ones that bend the rules. I think there is room for both.

    Reply
  17. Pam Rosenthal has some good things to say about your book. I’m always on the lookout for someone who may stretch the envelope. I’d like to see the romance genre welcome all kinds of writing, from the tried and true, to the ones that bend the rules. I think there is room for both.

    Reply
  18. Pam Rosenthal has some good things to say about your book. I’m always on the lookout for someone who may stretch the envelope. I’d like to see the romance genre welcome all kinds of writing, from the tried and true, to the ones that bend the rules. I think there is room for both.

    Reply
  19. Pam Rosenthal has some good things to say about your book. I’m always on the lookout for someone who may stretch the envelope. I’d like to see the romance genre welcome all kinds of writing, from the tried and true, to the ones that bend the rules. I think there is room for both.

    Reply
  20. Pam Rosenthal has some good things to say about your book. I’m always on the lookout for someone who may stretch the envelope. I’d like to see the romance genre welcome all kinds of writing, from the tried and true, to the ones that bend the rules. I think there is room for both.

    Reply
  21. Yes, Liz, I am now three people!
    Chelsea, I’m so happy that people are talking about the book–it’s the best thing a writer can hear.
    Kristina, the cover of the book is so gorgeous, I agree–I love the branding LBD has done on it. All their covers are lovely. And very fashionable colors, too!
    Kay, I agree. Romance is such a huge genre and there’s room for everyone and everything.

    Reply
  22. Yes, Liz, I am now three people!
    Chelsea, I’m so happy that people are talking about the book–it’s the best thing a writer can hear.
    Kristina, the cover of the book is so gorgeous, I agree–I love the branding LBD has done on it. All their covers are lovely. And very fashionable colors, too!
    Kay, I agree. Romance is such a huge genre and there’s room for everyone and everything.

    Reply
  23. Yes, Liz, I am now three people!
    Chelsea, I’m so happy that people are talking about the book–it’s the best thing a writer can hear.
    Kristina, the cover of the book is so gorgeous, I agree–I love the branding LBD has done on it. All their covers are lovely. And very fashionable colors, too!
    Kay, I agree. Romance is such a huge genre and there’s room for everyone and everything.

    Reply
  24. Yes, Liz, I am now three people!
    Chelsea, I’m so happy that people are talking about the book–it’s the best thing a writer can hear.
    Kristina, the cover of the book is so gorgeous, I agree–I love the branding LBD has done on it. All their covers are lovely. And very fashionable colors, too!
    Kay, I agree. Romance is such a huge genre and there’s room for everyone and everything.

    Reply
  25. Yes, Liz, I am now three people!
    Chelsea, I’m so happy that people are talking about the book–it’s the best thing a writer can hear.
    Kristina, the cover of the book is so gorgeous, I agree–I love the branding LBD has done on it. All their covers are lovely. And very fashionable colors, too!
    Kay, I agree. Romance is such a huge genre and there’s room for everyone and everything.

    Reply
  26. Amazing, Janet! I knew you had been busy but hadn’t quite realized how busy. I adored RULES and must now go buy LAMENTABLE. Your titles are incredible. I really think you need to do both Austen Powers and Blood Bath. “G”
    Thanks for stopping to talk with the wenches!

    Reply
  27. Amazing, Janet! I knew you had been busy but hadn’t quite realized how busy. I adored RULES and must now go buy LAMENTABLE. Your titles are incredible. I really think you need to do both Austen Powers and Blood Bath. “G”
    Thanks for stopping to talk with the wenches!

    Reply
  28. Amazing, Janet! I knew you had been busy but hadn’t quite realized how busy. I adored RULES and must now go buy LAMENTABLE. Your titles are incredible. I really think you need to do both Austen Powers and Blood Bath. “G”
    Thanks for stopping to talk with the wenches!

    Reply
  29. Amazing, Janet! I knew you had been busy but hadn’t quite realized how busy. I adored RULES and must now go buy LAMENTABLE. Your titles are incredible. I really think you need to do both Austen Powers and Blood Bath. “G”
    Thanks for stopping to talk with the wenches!

    Reply
  30. Amazing, Janet! I knew you had been busy but hadn’t quite realized how busy. I adored RULES and must now go buy LAMENTABLE. Your titles are incredible. I really think you need to do both Austen Powers and Blood Bath. “G”
    Thanks for stopping to talk with the wenches!

    Reply
  31. What a fun interview, Janet! I have your latest on the top of my TBR pile and can’t wait to get at it. (And can’t wait for the Jane Austen vampire bokk, which, BTW, I think should definitely be named Blood Bth. Have your editors no sense of humor )
    And thank you for always pushing the envelope on the Regency world. For me, that’s what keep the genre fresh and interesting.

    Reply
  32. What a fun interview, Janet! I have your latest on the top of my TBR pile and can’t wait to get at it. (And can’t wait for the Jane Austen vampire bokk, which, BTW, I think should definitely be named Blood Bth. Have your editors no sense of humor )
    And thank you for always pushing the envelope on the Regency world. For me, that’s what keep the genre fresh and interesting.

    Reply
  33. What a fun interview, Janet! I have your latest on the top of my TBR pile and can’t wait to get at it. (And can’t wait for the Jane Austen vampire bokk, which, BTW, I think should definitely be named Blood Bth. Have your editors no sense of humor )
    And thank you for always pushing the envelope on the Regency world. For me, that’s what keep the genre fresh and interesting.

    Reply
  34. What a fun interview, Janet! I have your latest on the top of my TBR pile and can’t wait to get at it. (And can’t wait for the Jane Austen vampire bokk, which, BTW, I think should definitely be named Blood Bth. Have your editors no sense of humor )
    And thank you for always pushing the envelope on the Regency world. For me, that’s what keep the genre fresh and interesting.

    Reply
  35. What a fun interview, Janet! I have your latest on the top of my TBR pile and can’t wait to get at it. (And can’t wait for the Jane Austen vampire bokk, which, BTW, I think should definitely be named Blood Bth. Have your editors no sense of humor )
    And thank you for always pushing the envelope on the Regency world. For me, that’s what keep the genre fresh and interesting.

    Reply
  36. Mary Jo, thanks!
    Mary Jo told me, btw, that because her name is Mary she is very well behaved…
    Thanks Pat! The best place to buy the book is at bookdepository.co.uk which has free shipping worldwide.
    Hi Andrea, hope you like the book!

    Reply
  37. Mary Jo, thanks!
    Mary Jo told me, btw, that because her name is Mary she is very well behaved…
    Thanks Pat! The best place to buy the book is at bookdepository.co.uk which has free shipping worldwide.
    Hi Andrea, hope you like the book!

    Reply
  38. Mary Jo, thanks!
    Mary Jo told me, btw, that because her name is Mary she is very well behaved…
    Thanks Pat! The best place to buy the book is at bookdepository.co.uk which has free shipping worldwide.
    Hi Andrea, hope you like the book!

    Reply
  39. Mary Jo, thanks!
    Mary Jo told me, btw, that because her name is Mary she is very well behaved…
    Thanks Pat! The best place to buy the book is at bookdepository.co.uk which has free shipping worldwide.
    Hi Andrea, hope you like the book!

    Reply
  40. Mary Jo, thanks!
    Mary Jo told me, btw, that because her name is Mary she is very well behaved…
    Thanks Pat! The best place to buy the book is at bookdepository.co.uk which has free shipping worldwide.
    Hi Andrea, hope you like the book!

    Reply
  41. Why do you have to go by different names? Is that a requirement of the publisher? I would understand if you were writing outside of your field (my husband knows of a man who writes Harlequins so of course he goes by a different name).
    Thank you for being part of WordWenches blog. I always look forward to new writers, no matter what their name.

    Reply
  42. Why do you have to go by different names? Is that a requirement of the publisher? I would understand if you were writing outside of your field (my husband knows of a man who writes Harlequins so of course he goes by a different name).
    Thank you for being part of WordWenches blog. I always look forward to new writers, no matter what their name.

    Reply
  43. Why do you have to go by different names? Is that a requirement of the publisher? I would understand if you were writing outside of your field (my husband knows of a man who writes Harlequins so of course he goes by a different name).
    Thank you for being part of WordWenches blog. I always look forward to new writers, no matter what their name.

    Reply
  44. Why do you have to go by different names? Is that a requirement of the publisher? I would understand if you were writing outside of your field (my husband knows of a man who writes Harlequins so of course he goes by a different name).
    Thank you for being part of WordWenches blog. I always look forward to new writers, no matter what their name.

    Reply
  45. Why do you have to go by different names? Is that a requirement of the publisher? I would understand if you were writing outside of your field (my husband knows of a man who writes Harlequins so of course he goes by a different name).
    Thank you for being part of WordWenches blog. I always look forward to new writers, no matter what their name.

    Reply
  46. Lo! I think if I do not win this competition I’m going to have to suck it up and go buy it.
    I’m really looking forward to the Jane Austen vampire book. With you behind the helm its bound to be loads of fun!

    Reply
  47. Lo! I think if I do not win this competition I’m going to have to suck it up and go buy it.
    I’m really looking forward to the Jane Austen vampire book. With you behind the helm its bound to be loads of fun!

    Reply
  48. Lo! I think if I do not win this competition I’m going to have to suck it up and go buy it.
    I’m really looking forward to the Jane Austen vampire book. With you behind the helm its bound to be loads of fun!

    Reply
  49. Lo! I think if I do not win this competition I’m going to have to suck it up and go buy it.
    I’m really looking forward to the Jane Austen vampire book. With you behind the helm its bound to be loads of fun!

    Reply
  50. Lo! I think if I do not win this competition I’m going to have to suck it up and go buy it.
    I’m really looking forward to the Jane Austen vampire book. With you behind the helm its bound to be loads of fun!

    Reply
  51. I am laughing so hard at the “Austen Powers” idea. This is right up my alley and I’m excited to go and buy the books. As a fellow lower middle class or upper lower class lass I welcome you to the Wenches site and hope to hear from you again. This was great fun.

    Reply
  52. I am laughing so hard at the “Austen Powers” idea. This is right up my alley and I’m excited to go and buy the books. As a fellow lower middle class or upper lower class lass I welcome you to the Wenches site and hope to hear from you again. This was great fun.

    Reply
  53. I am laughing so hard at the “Austen Powers” idea. This is right up my alley and I’m excited to go and buy the books. As a fellow lower middle class or upper lower class lass I welcome you to the Wenches site and hope to hear from you again. This was great fun.

    Reply
  54. I am laughing so hard at the “Austen Powers” idea. This is right up my alley and I’m excited to go and buy the books. As a fellow lower middle class or upper lower class lass I welcome you to the Wenches site and hope to hear from you again. This was great fun.

    Reply
  55. I am laughing so hard at the “Austen Powers” idea. This is right up my alley and I’m excited to go and buy the books. As a fellow lower middle class or upper lower class lass I welcome you to the Wenches site and hope to hear from you again. This was great fun.

    Reply
  56. Lyn, the different pen names was a contractual obligation connected with options and other legal stuff because I was writing for two publishers. I would have been quite happy to write the smut under my own name–I have no innocents (or innocence) to protect!
    Hello to Leanne, Chey, Louis and Sue! Thanks for coming by and I hope you enjoy the book.

    Reply
  57. Lyn, the different pen names was a contractual obligation connected with options and other legal stuff because I was writing for two publishers. I would have been quite happy to write the smut under my own name–I have no innocents (or innocence) to protect!
    Hello to Leanne, Chey, Louis and Sue! Thanks for coming by and I hope you enjoy the book.

    Reply
  58. Lyn, the different pen names was a contractual obligation connected with options and other legal stuff because I was writing for two publishers. I would have been quite happy to write the smut under my own name–I have no innocents (or innocence) to protect!
    Hello to Leanne, Chey, Louis and Sue! Thanks for coming by and I hope you enjoy the book.

    Reply
  59. Lyn, the different pen names was a contractual obligation connected with options and other legal stuff because I was writing for two publishers. I would have been quite happy to write the smut under my own name–I have no innocents (or innocence) to protect!
    Hello to Leanne, Chey, Louis and Sue! Thanks for coming by and I hope you enjoy the book.

    Reply
  60. Lyn, the different pen names was a contractual obligation connected with options and other legal stuff because I was writing for two publishers. I would have been quite happy to write the smut under my own name–I have no innocents (or innocence) to protect!
    Hello to Leanne, Chey, Louis and Sue! Thanks for coming by and I hope you enjoy the book.

    Reply
  61. You really do want to stretch the boundries of the genre. Jane Austen and vampires! I am trying to wrap my mind around that one. I have a co-worker that will love it. Your books sound like fun and that is a good thing.

    Reply
  62. You really do want to stretch the boundries of the genre. Jane Austen and vampires! I am trying to wrap my mind around that one. I have a co-worker that will love it. Your books sound like fun and that is a good thing.

    Reply
  63. You really do want to stretch the boundries of the genre. Jane Austen and vampires! I am trying to wrap my mind around that one. I have a co-worker that will love it. Your books sound like fun and that is a good thing.

    Reply
  64. You really do want to stretch the boundries of the genre. Jane Austen and vampires! I am trying to wrap my mind around that one. I have a co-worker that will love it. Your books sound like fun and that is a good thing.

    Reply
  65. You really do want to stretch the boundries of the genre. Jane Austen and vampires! I am trying to wrap my mind around that one. I have a co-worker that will love it. Your books sound like fun and that is a good thing.

    Reply

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