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Guest Post: Regina Jeffers’ Writing Space

With an influx of new Jane Austen inspired short stories and novels hitting the market, authors are looking for the best way to get readers’ attentions.  Regina Jeffers has written Christmas at Pemberley, in which Georgiana Darcy must embrace the challenges of her hostess duties while her brother and his wife, Elizabeth, are stranded in a small town on the way to Pemberley by a blizzard.  Jeffers uses the Christmas season to bring the Darcy, Bennet, and Bingley families under one roof, and you can imagine what kinds of rivalries and misunderstandings will occur.

Today, Regina will give us a sneak peek into her writing space and habits.  It also seems that we share a certain Mr. Darcy obsession, and my husband would definitely love her selection of NFL Quarterback since he loves the Miami Dolphins.

Finally, one lucky reader will receive a copy of her book by entering the giveaway below.  Without further ado, please welcome Regina:

For writing my novels, I prefer to have everything within my reach. Purposely, I separate where I actually compose my books from where I word process and edit my novels. I need the “disconnect” in order to separate the steps. I write my novels in spiral notebooks, usually wide ruled because I write large. I know from experience that 30 pages of my handwritten story equals ten pages of typed text (Times New Roman, 12 point font). I, personally, hate to read chapters that are longer than ten pages so I have trained myself to work toward that goal. If you read my novels, you’ll note the consistency in the length of my chapters.

Regina's Favorite Chair!

I love the reflected sunlight of this room. In the Regency period, this would have been a small sitting room used for waiting guests to be announced to the master. Note the lap desk, encyclopedic dictionary, and synonym finder beside my favorite chair. Some day, I will have to have this chair reupholstered. I fear my “inspiration” lies in the lumpy cushions. Normally, there is a cup of tea sitting on the nearby table. I brew my own – no American tea bags for me. One can also see my journal sitting at the side, along with my Bible. This is where the creative process comes about.

Once I have written the book, I retreat to my “office” space to do the hard work. My office is the smallest of the three bedrooms in my North Carolina home. From the window, I overlook the curve of the cul de sac upon which I live. Not much happens in this small incorporated village, something I appreciate. It is quiet and relatively crime free. When I first moved here in 2003, “Miss Kitty,” my neighbor, brought me over a chocolate cake. (I didn’t tell her that I prefer white cake to chocolate. It would be rude.) I love the South!!!

Matthew Macfayden Photos

The office reflects my eclectic tastes. I love oversized furniture. The walls hold my “interests.” Of course, there are multiple pictures of Matthew Macfadyen. I enjoy Colin Firth’s work (am a big fan), but I really LOVE Matthew. All the pictures are signed. Yes, I realize this is an obsession, but daily I remind myself that the word “fan” comes from “fanatic.” (BTW, I have seen “The Three Musketeers” six times to date.) I use post it notes of different colors to keep track of appearances, guest blogs, etc.

Miami Dolphins Quarterback Chad Pennington

I also am a big fan of Chad Pennington, the NFL quarterback. He attended Marshall University, where I went to school, but my respect for Pennington comes from his kindness to my son during the difficult period when my mother was dying. He showed himself to be a true gentleman. In Darcy’s Temptation, Chadwick Harrison is so called because of Pennington.

Although I do not write much outside, I often take a cup a tea and a bit of research of which I want to peruse and sit in one of the two “cozy” spaces I have created. The first is a sheltered area at the front of my house. I bricked it all in and set up the potted plants and benches. I loved my hybrid roses and the hibiscus, but mums and pansies surround the area also. In North Carolina, the vegetation lasts well into late November. Behind my house, there is another bench draped by a weeping willow. It serves the purpose well.

So, this is where I have managed to write twelve novels (Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation (a 2009 Booksellers’ Best Award finalist), Vampire Darcy’s Desire, Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, The Phantom of Pemberley (took 3rd in romantic suspense for the SOLA Awards), Christmas at Pemberley, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, Honor and Hope, A Touch of Velvet, A Touch of Cashémere, First Wives’ Club, and Second Chances), in addition to two novellas (His Irish Eve and His American Heartsong) and one short story (“The Pemberley Ball”) in a little over four years.

Christmas at Pemberley is my newest release and is currently available. I have a December 1 deadline for The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy, which will take up where Christmas at Pemberley leaves off, but it will be a cozy mystery, rather than an inspirational romance. I am working on two others (one Austen, one non-Austen) at the same time. This is my Writing World. Quite simple. Quite plain. All me.

Thanks, Regina for sharing your writing space with us.Please also check out the slide show of the remaining photos from her writing space.

For those readers interested in reading about the Darcys, Bennets, and Bingleys during the holidays, enter the giveaway below.

1. Leave a comment about what you found most interesting about Regina’s writing space.

2. For up to 3 more entries, share the giveaway on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter, and leave a link for each in the comments.

3. Follow Savvy Verse & Wit for another entry.

Deadline is Nov. 18, 2011, at 11:59PM EST (US/Canada only)

  • Megan

    That chair looks so comfortable! I would love to win a copy of ‘Christmas at Pemberley’. Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Megan,
      I, also, love my time outside. That is one of the great things about living in the South. Warm weather continues late into the season. Besides the lovely Vitamin D, I enjoy my roses. The fragrance is mesmerizing.

  • Pingback: A Memorable Week in the Jeffers’ Household | ReginaJeffers's Blog()

  • charlotte

    I can imagine sitting in that chair with a hot choccolate and a good book. I find that there is something really satisfying about writing things out long hand. Pen and paper is not as well used as it should be these days due to computers.

    • When I taught middle school, my sixth grade teachers in the English department complained because students did not know how to use cursive. At the time, we tried to reason that it was acceptable if they could print. Now, all forms of “written” expression are in jeopardy.

  • Cynthia Wong

    how comforting to see that you have a wall of MatthewMacFayden, as i have a wall of ViggoMortensen/RobertPattinson/JonasArmstrong……..
    my alltime favorite athlete is DerekJeter; i like to refer to him as MyLittleBuddy!!! LOL!!!

    i have have issues with completing a chapter before falling asleep & also dislike long chapters!!!

    congrats on Christmas at Pemberley & i can’t wait to read it!!!!

    i’ve shared this giveaway on my FB wall: http://www.facebook.com/cyn209 & i’m a GFC follower of this blog……..

    • Cynthia,
      As always, it is great to make contact with you once more. I figured you were a Jeter fan.
      Did you expect me not have a Macfadyen wall? You should know my obsessions by now. LOL!

  • No need to enter me, as I have a copy already. I added the giveaway to my sidebar, though.

    I can’t wait to read this book, as I absolutely loved Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion. And I loved getting a peek of her writing space. That chair looks so comfy!

    • Anna, send me your mailing address to my website’s email ([email protected]), and I will mail you out a book plate to go along with your copy of Christmas at Pemberley.

  • Margaret

    I hate to leave a book not at the end of a chapter also. Interesting that you write out long hand first. When I was in Bath at a home that was once Jane’s she wrote her books out on long thin sheets of paper so maybe her spirit is influencing your hand as a guide. It’s a nice thought. Thank you for the giveaway!.

    • Margaret, I like the idea of Jane approving of my methods.

  • Jen Corkill

    I love your space – very comfortable 🙂 Something so familiar about overstuffed armchairs. I am tweeting, facebook and blogging this today during nap time!

    I LOVED Darcy’s Passion and added your Persuasion novel to my Christmas list. So wonderful to find your blog – thanks Regina! *fangirl squeal*

    • Jen, your kind words honor me. You can check out all my books at my website (www.rjeffers.com). There are sample excerpts, etc. As you mentioned, Darcy’s Passions, permit me to put in a shameless plug. Darcy’s Temptation is the sequel to Darcy’s Passions. It begins the day after DP ends. DT was a Booksellers’ Best Award Finalist in 2009.

  • Angelina Barbin

    Too many interesting things to point out about Regina’s writing space.:) The Pennington montage was a surprise as well as the fact you write your stories out longhand, Regina.
    Can I ask an off-topic question? I wondered if you have ever been intimidated to write a story about the Darcy, Bennet and Bingley families? I admit I haven’t read any of the many books modern authors have written about the Darcys as I was afraid of being disappointed. Maybe I should take the plunge.

    • Angelina, I will admit that some authors take a “divergent” path from Austen’s original stories. There have been moments when I have tossed a book across the room. Yet, there are numerous authors who write retellings, sequels, adaptations, and “what ifs” that do justice to Austen’s stories. The actions speak of an understanding of the characters’ motivations, back stories, etc. A person must really understand the time period to make sense of what Austen has to offer. I, personally, try to add some of the original dialogue into each of my stories.
      Try a few of the books. Choose an author or authors you admire and stick with them. I am fortunate enough to share a website http://austenauthors.net with 20+ Austen-inspired writers. Take a look at the site. We have new author releases each month. Enjoy the companionship of others who love Austen. Then choose what works best for you.

  • The most interesting thing to me was Chad Pennington, just because of the juxtaposition of Austen-inspired stories and an American football player being in that creatives pace.

    • When my mother was in ICU and in her last days, Pennington was at the High Intensity Center in my hometown and training for another NFL season. My son spent his days there with a good friend. Pennington took my Josh under his wing when he realized the situation. Josh was in the early stages of grieving. We were in town from another state, and Pennington took the gentlemanly role.

  • Linda B

    Such fascinating post – esp. the Matthew Macfayden corner – Wow! I too appreciate chapter breaks when I’m reading and the way the author provides such consistency is amazing. Thanks for the giveaway.

    extra entry – Google follower

    • I became a Macfadyen fan LONG before Joe Wright cast him as Mr. Darcy. Actually, I first saw him in a film adaptation of Wuthering Heights. He smiled, and I was hooked. I watch him in the BBC’s “Spooks,” in In My Father’s Den, and in Warriors:Bosnia 1992.

      • You are more obsessed with him than I am. I fell for him as Mr. Darcy and can’t get enough! What film adaptation of Wuthering Heights?!

  • Melanie

    I never thought about it before, but it makes so much sense to keep the writting and the editing parts seperate. I can imagine sitting in that big comfy chair with my pen and paper.

    • Melanie, I fear all my inspiration will be lost if I ever get rid of “the chair.” LOL!

      • It’s like a quarterback not shaving after winning games because he’s afraid the mojo will be lost!

  • Kath

    I love reading about other writers and their writing space. I just wanted to say that – I do not want to be entered into the book giveaway 🙂

    • Well, hello, Cuz! I had no idea that you were reading the blog…let alone the guest posts about writing spaces. These are my favorite posts. I have another writing space post coming up as part of an interview with Beth Kephart. I won’t enter you in the giveaway, no worries.

  • I’m amazed that she writes her books out longhand – my hand is cramping just thinking about it.

    • I have to hand write as well, and then I do the first round of edits in the computer as I type up the handwritten pages.

    • The long hand serves two purposes: as I write, I say the lines aloud in my head, this helps me “hear” the story and works as an additional editing stage; secondly, I can immediately see when a scene is not working. Therefore, I can do revisions or make a notation to revisit the story line. The process may sound cumbersome, but it eliminates many major rewrites at the end of the book.

  • I love Regina’s technique for getting consistent chapter sizes. Handwriting an entire book is quite an accomplishment!

    • I like the chapter size goal as well. I have to hand write as well…

    • I am one of those readers who likes to finish a chapter before I put a book down. As I read late into the night, 25+ page chapters “bug” me. Sometimes, I am not sleepy enough to go to sleep, but I know I will be TOO sleepy to finish a long chapter. It’s just another of my quirks.